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Reading Fluency: Methods of Improvement Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 2nd, 2021

Learning and knowledge acquisition depends upon the reading skills of a child or student and his ability to comprehend information from the printed sources. For many children, slow reading rates become the main problem that affected educational achievements and learning. The role and task of a teacher are to find appropriate methods to develop fluent reading skills. The research question is “What methods improve children’s ability to become a fluent reader.” The paper analyzes and evaluates three articles on the topic.

The article “A Focus on Fluency: How One Teacher Incorporated Fluency with Her Reading Curriculum” by Griffith and Rasinski investigates the efficiency of automaticity in reading and its impact on fluency among elementary school children. The authors state that reading is subject to the joint-shaping effects of a host of sociopsycholinguistic factors. Among them, the researchers identify spoken language, script, reading instruction method, and classroom implementation of language curricula as the primary variables for comparison.

The author used simple methodology: “the children read a grade-level passage and [a researcher] recorded notes on words omitted or pronounced incorrectly and counted the words read correctly” (Griffith and Rasinski 2004, p. 126).

Then, these results were evaluated and analyzed. It was found that children differ in these aspects due to various psychological reasons. Spoken language is an important factor because it provides the necessary support for reading, especially when considering young children learning to read aloud. The author investigated and demonstrated how a teacher “transformed her reading program by incorporating fluency instruction into the curriculum” (Griffith and Rasinski 2004, p. 126).

The researchers unveiled that children in primary school years devote many resources to improving their decoding skills, which include knowledge of the alphabetic principle and learning to integrate skills to improve their fluency in reading. Reading beyond the primary grades involves learning new information, taking multiple viewpoints, and construction and reconstruction. Reading acquisition models suggest that children of second grade or above tend to rely more on phonological cues in reading, whereas children from kindergarten to about first grade tend to rely more on visual cues. If the development of reading is conceived of as progressing through different stages, it is important to discover what component skills or cognitive processes are required to read at each stage and how the processes by which readers acquire higher levels of reading change with development across languages.

These ideas about the attribution of reader differences to preliminary component processes such as decoding at the beginning reading stages and to higher-order component processes at the more advanced stages of reading are supported by many studies. The researchers found that “Teachers interested in making fluency an integral part of their instructional curriculum for reading should rely on certain key principles in designing such instruction: Fluency requires opportunities for students to hear fluent, expressive, and meaningful reading from their teacher” (Griffith and Rasinsk 2004, p. 129i).

The article Effect of Text Presentation on Reading Fluency and Comprehension describes the problem of the type of text and its impact on reading fluency. Researchers suggest that learning to read progress from a visual phase to a phonological phase, similar to the developmental pattern in learning to read alphabetic scripts. Reading different texts, the initial perceptual pathways may be different, but later processing may converge on similar linguistic techniques.

Because the reading activity is grounded in general constraints of human information processing, it is possible that the development of reading skills is similar across different types of texts, from word identification to word integration, although the nature and significance of these component processes may be different in the two reading activities. The study was based on comparison techniques with independent variables and dependent variables. The students were divided into several groups (119 third-grade students). It was found that the visual complexity, the spatial structure, and the number of graphic units have an impact on reading fluency.

The results of this study suggest several directions for the future. Future research should focus on isolating precisely those visual skills that are most likely to predict subsequent character recognition. Finally, automatization of reading skills is both theoretically and practically important.

Without automatizing character recognition, text comprehension is impossible. The relative slowness of reading-disabled children has prompted a recent call in the literature on English word recognition for reading interventions that focus on promoting fluency, or speed, in reading skills. “The significant differences in fluency and comprehension between the reading skills groups supported the validity of the MLPP classification scores. However, these scores were derived from teacher-administered assessments for which no psychometric data were available.” (Lagrou et al. 2006, 100).

Most other current models of reading assume that words can only be identified after the prior identification of the components. The unitization hypothesis describes how individuals process visual-word information in reading as a means to enhance the efficiency of reading. “Given the interdependent nature of the various subskills in reading, oral reading fluency was often recommended as a global measure of reading skill” (Lagrou et al. 2006, 100).

Specifically, the unitization hypothesis is based on the unitization effect: individuals searching for target letters or character components in a prose passage make a greater proportion of detection errors on high-frequency than on low-frequency words. That is, individuals miss the same target letter more often in high-frequency words than they do in lower-frequency words, reflecting the fact that fluent readers process words that they are more familiar with. However, words of lower frequency may be less familiar to the reader, so they are processed at the level of their subcomponents. In other words, familiar words or even phrases are processed as one whole reading unit, whereas each subcomponent part of a word constitutes a reading unit in less familiar words.

The article Factors That Influence the Decision to Read: An Investigation of Fifth Grade Students’ Out-of-School Reading Habits unveils the problem of out-of-school reading and its methods of control. McKool underlines that goals and motivation have a great impact on fluency of reading. “Understanding this phenomenon will lead educators and parents to more successfully promote the practice of reading outside of school, thus increasing vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension, and general intellectual development” (McKool 111). The unitization effect differs dramatically from the usual effects of familiarity on pattern recognition.

Normally, familiar patterns facilitate component identification; for example, in the popular “word superiority effect,” letters occurring in familiar words are identified more accurately than those occurring in unfamiliar scrambled-letter strings. In contrast, in the letter-detection task during the reading of the normal text, letters occurring in familiar words are missed more often than those occurring in unfamiliar scrambled-letter strings. The study is based on quantitative and qualitative methods. “The purpose for using mixed methods was to reveal both statistical data pertaining to factors related to out-of-school reading and to investigate students’ perspectives on voluntary reading through individual interviews” (McKool 111).

The hypothesis explains this effect by postulating that fluent readers process high-frequency words at the syllable, word, or phrase level, whereas they process low-frequency words at the level of individual letters. That is, fluent readers often identify high-frequency words based on the familiar visual configurations of syllables, words, or phrases without prior identification of the component letters, but they must rely on the prior identification of letters in order to identify low-frequency words. “Due to the relationship between out-of-school reading habits and school achievement that have already been established, the dearth of reading done outside-of-school has become a major concern in our schools today” (McKool 111).

The no-knowledge group did not show any unitization effect because they made a slightly greater proportion of letter-detection errors on the low-frequency test words than on the high-frequency test words. The intermediate group showed a slight, nonsignificant unitization effect. Age and societal differences were found in children’s overall literacy attainment. Likewise, differences in-home and classroom literacy environments were also reflected across the varying sociolinguistic contexts.

The sources analyzed above to allow us to understand the nature of reading fluency and methods to improve it. Interesting questions exist as to whether reading comprehension processes are similar or different across languages. Some studies have shown that different processes are involved in reading different texts because of the orthographic and linguistic features. These articles will help to construct a research study and answer the question of the research.

A major theme of reading research examines the roles of type of text in reading. Reading fluency has several dimensions, including students’ knowledge and beliefs and their strategies for learning. Specifically, students have different beliefs about the nature of learning, and they need to apply strategies in reading in order to construct the meaning of text information.


  1. Griffith, L. W., Rasinski, T. V. (2004). A Focus on Fluency: How One Teacher Incorporated Fluency with Her Reading Curriculum. The Reading Teacher, 58, pp. 126-130.
  2. Lagrou, R. J., Burns, M. K., Mizerek, E. A., Mosack, J. (2006). Effect of Text Presentation on Reading Fluency and Comprehension: An Exploratory Analysis. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 33, pp. 100-110.
  3. McKool, S.S. (2007). Factors That Influence the Decision to Read: An Investigation of Fifth Grade Students’ Out-of-School Reading Habits. Reading Improvement, 44, (pp. 111-115.
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