Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background Information
According to the data from National Centre for Education Statistics (2009), almost half of the country’s 1st to 8th-grade students have a problem with reading fluency. This data also indicate sustained levels of reading difficulties in the country for the past 10 years. This has propagated increased research on reading achievement by educationalists (NCES, 2009). However, the legislation of the No Child Left Behind legislation on 2002 has forced instructors and leaders in education to revise their strategies to meet this need (NCLB, 2002). According to Calhoon (2005), academic success, independence, and employability of an individual are founded on the ability to master the reading skills. Illiteracy is known to prevent an individual from being productive in a society (Kim, 2008). Due to this challenge, researchers have in the recent past focused on developing the most appropriate approach to teaching learners how to read (Cassidy et al., 2010). Well-educated citizens that are literate are better placed to positively contribute to the advancement of a society through evaluating data, making informed decisions, effectively solving problems, and improving the quality of their lives as well as that of others of others in a society. This places emphasis on the imperativeness of reading skills in the society
1.1 Problem Statement
As much as teaching learners how to read is considered as among the main aims of education, numerous students are found to have difficulty in learning even the basic reading skills. Studies indicate that 20 percent of students suffer significant difficulties in acquiring reading skills (NCES, 2009). Furthermore, over a third of students in fourth-grade level have poor basic reading skills. The situation is further compounded for students with special learning needs, as they are found to struggle with reading difficulty in educational life as well as adult life (Calhoon, 2005). The sustained prevalence of students with reading difficulties has forced educationalists to reexamine the approaches to teaching reading skills in schools. A report from the national reading panel published in 2001 identified reading fluency, text comprehension strategies, vocabulary instructions, phonics, and phonemic awareness as essential reading skills (NICHHD, 2000). This paper presents a critical analysis the concept of repeated reading and its effectiveness in promoting comprehension and fluency reading skills among students with learning disabilities
1.2 Purpose of the Study
This paper purposed to scrutinize whether repeated reading approach had an effect on the general reading capabilities and attitudes among school going children. Recent studies on this issue have emphasized on the need of implementing research findings into the instructional process as a way of positively influencing the reading skills of learners (Brown, 2011).This paper presents an analysis the effectiveness of repeated reading strategy in enhancing reading skills among learners based on existing studies on the issue
1.3 Conceptual Framework
The importance of reading fluency in education emerged in the late 1960s (Brown, 2011). This was built on two theoretical constructs that have been greatly cited by various authors on this issue. Specifically, reading fluency problems are believed to originate from poor decoding skills by the readers (Brown, 2011; Guthrie et al., 2004). The existence of slowed down decoding skills results in formation of a bottleneck that obstructs the thought flow ultimately inhibiting comprehension (Brown, 2011; Cassidy et al., 2010) Learners with poor reading skills spend most of their cognitive capabilities on decoding limiting their comprehension capabilities (Cassidy et al., 2010). Effortless readers, on the other hand, are able to decode words speedily with accuracy allowing them to have enough capabilities for comprehension (Lo et al., 2011).
On the contrary, another theory on reading asserts that the difficulty to read fluently originates from the lack of prosodic cues in written language (Francis et al., 2005). This position is defended by the argument that some readers are incapable of conveying from oral language, where prosodic markers are precise to written language, and the learner must infer the markers (Therrien & Hughes, 2008). Learners that are unable to come up with suitable prosodic markers are not in a position to separate sentences into meaningful expressions and thus face difficulties in comprehending written text even if they are able to effectively decode individual words (Morgan & Sideridis, 2006). This position is backed by various authors who argue that text-reading process is complex and requires assimilation of all levels of processing as from the initial decoding of individual words to acquisition of the denotation of the sentence, paragraph, and the whole information in general (Morgan & Sideridis, 2006; Therrien, 2004; Neumann et al., 2008).
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study contributes to educational practice and theory on teaching learners how to read. From a theoretical perspective, the study offers various contributions to existing positions on approaches to teaching students how to read. Concerning repeated reading strategy, the study provides insight into how repeated reading is perceived by various authors in terms of its effectiveness in promoting student reading capabilities. The study indicates the existence of differentiation in students with the learning disorder in terms of their reading capability due to adherence and non-adherence to repeated reading strategy (O’ Connor et al., 2007).
These results of this research study are also relevant to practical teaching practice as they show student variations in reading capacity. Consequently, teachers will have evidence required for designing and implementing differentiated programs aimed at improving reading skills among learners. Particularly, this will assist education leadership and teachers to design effective teaching programs that recognize the differences in how learners acquire reading skills with a focus on the use of repeated reading strategy in the management of reading deficiency among students with learning disabilities
This research paper is based on specific assumptions that are delineated below:
- The data collected by existing studies was adequate in terms of covering all the variables that were under investigation in this study
- The existing studies provided truthful information regarding the issues under analysis
1.7 Outline of the Paper
The introductory chapter has background information, the research problem, Conceptual framework, and the contributions of the study. The second chapter provided a comprehensive review of the literature on reading difficulties among learners with a specific focus on the role of repeated rereading strategy in the management of reading difficulties. In the third chapter, the discussion, implications, conclusions, and recommendations on the issue with a specific focus on the information in literature review was developed
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Reading Research: Historical Overview
The methodology of teaching was blamed for ineffectiveness in the development of reading skills among learners as early as 1955 (Brown, 2011). A study by Chall (1967) examined whether children are able to develop reading skills well if the teaching methodology emphasized on phonics code or an approach centered on stressing the meaning. Findings of this study indicated that emphasis on phonics code had better results that comprehension and word recognition. Goodman (1965), disproof disapproved this position by arguing that children have different approaches in the identification of words including context clues and background knowledge. A study by Brown (2011) affirmed that reading out the whole word enhanced the reading abilities among learners. However, Goodman was against the approach that focused on teaching word recognition in isolation. This resulted to the development of psycholinguistic theory of reading that resulted to increased interest in research on how learners mind behave when occupied in reading (Kim, 2008).
The position adopted by Goodman was influential on the studies on reading behaviors among students (Brown, 2011). In the 1979s and 1980s, reading research was dominated by cognivitism with the focus on the eye movement during reading as well as the effect of context on the reading process (Brown, 2011). In the 1990s, more studies on reading were develop emphasizing on the processes and practices of teaching and learning how to reading (Brown, 2011). A study by Adams (1990) came up with an integrated approach to teaching how to read that combined systematic coding and meaningful reading in the teaching process.
Currently, the national reading panel (NRP) is the main source of instructional approaches for teaching learners how to read ((NICHHD, 2000). This approach recommends the use of several teaching approaches that amalgamates into a well-balanced literacy program. Specifically these approaches target the five pillars of reading, namely vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, phonics, and phonemic awareness as being the vital aspects of reading instruction (Cassidy et al., 2010).
2.1 Fluency and Reading
The NRP has been at the center on the development of fluency as an essential reading skill. There exist innumerable studies that have analyzed the concept of fluency and its application to the learning process (Hudson et al., 2005; O’ Connor et al., 2007). However, its definition in the context of reading is varies from one researcher to another. Specifically, some studies define fluency based on speed and accuracy, while others identify prosody and comprehension as major attributes of fluency (Brown, 2011). Fluency can be defined as the capability of a learner to read with accuracy, speed, and expression (Armbruster et al., 2003). It can also be defined as an accurate approach to reading of information as a conversation with fitting prosody (Hudson et al., 2005)
The National Reading Panel identified high levels of fluency neglect in most schools in the United States (NCES, 2009). NRP went further and proposed two instructional strategies targeting promotion of reading fluency among learners. These strategies included the independent silent reading strategy and the guided repeated oral reading (Kim, 2008). The common agreement among researchers that fluency is developed through reading has resulted to increased adoption of the NRP strategies in a classroom environment. Specifically, studies have shown that guided oral reading has a positive impact on comprehension, word recognition, and fluency (Kim, 2008; Cassidy et al., 2010). However, the existence of numerous approaches for implementing the repeated reading approach demanded research into the most effective approach for promoting fluency and comprehension
2.2 Repeated Readings and its Impacts on Fluency and Comprehension Skills
Several research studies have been conducted on repeated readings dating back to as early as 1979, which iterated that repeated reading is founded on repetitive practice of the text (Samuels, 1979; Dahl, 1979). Kuhn and Stahl (2003) conducted a review of various studies on the impact of repeated reading on fluency. The findings indicated that most studies found a significant impact while others had null impact, and some showed the impact was limited to the repeated text only and not transferable to other texts. The position adopted in these studies was explained that the studies that found null impact did not meet the minimum number of times for defining repetitive reading, which were placed at five times by Dahl and Samuel.
Another study by O’Connor et al. (2007) examined the impact of complexity of the reading material and found out that using material that was relevant to the instructional level of the learner greatly influenced the fluency gains. Repeated reading among learners has been found to result to better work accuracy and comprehension (Hudson et al., 2005). Therefore, as learners repeat reading a text, they learn new sight words, which they then apply in new texts (Neumann et al., 2008). Most studies that have reported insignificant or no improvement in comprehension skills had no effective baseline for developing the measure. Therrien (2004) suggests that the students under study many not have fluency problems making it hard to detect improvement in comprehension skills.
As much as repeated reading is generally known to positively impact on fluency, its impact on comprehension skills is not always guaranteed (Morgan & Sideridis, 2006). Various studies on comprehension skills have provided varied findings. Some studies show a general trend in the increase of fluency and comprehension skills simultaneously (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003). Other studies affirm that repeated reading enhances fluency but does not always result to the development of better comprehension skills (Therrien, 2004). Another suggestion for this anomaly is the possibility of students reading a text that is inappropriate to their level. A study by Therrien & Hughes (2008) identifies shortage of higher order thinking skills such as supervision of the text as contributory to inability of repetitive reading to result to better comprehension skills.
Furthermore, the approaches adopted in measuring comprehension in repetitive reading studies are also varied. Learners that are reading a text learn facts from the information and, therefore, repeated reading is supposed to generally show improved comprehension skills when measured as learners are able to clearly identify the answer they are being comprehended on in the text. However, many studies use literal knowledge to test comprehension skills that demand a learner to integrate previous knowledge and the information in the text (Therrien & Hughes, 2008). The fact that repeated reading strategies do not emphasize on inferential comprehension, such tests are likely to present a negative outcome of repeated reading on comprehension skills. Moreover, many studies on repeated reading present data for both literal and inferential questioning as a single score. This atonality limits the ability of testing the gains in comprehension skills (Bryant et al., 2000). This position is further illustrated by Freeland et al. (2000) who pointed out that repeated reading has a positive impact on the learners’ literal comprehension skills but has null impact on inferential comprehension skills. Therefore, the use of text comprehensions strategies that combines both literal and inferential comprehension is necessary for improving the reading achievement.
2.3 Repeated Readings and Fluency among Students with Learning Difficulties
The effectiveness of repeated reading in enhancing fluency and comprehension skills among students with learning disabilities has not been fully studies to affirm the status of evidence-based justification (Chard et al., 2009). This position was adopted by Chard et al. (2009) after conducting an analysis of existing studies and concluded that the studies were not empirical in nature. However, this position was adopted devoid of studies that more than one additional instructional components such as comprehension and development of vocabulary. However, the fact that most studies have documented that repeated readings promote oral fluency, a blended approach with several instructional components is bound to enhance the effectiveness. Several studies have analyzed students with learning disabilities and identified deficits in skills such a comprehension, fluency, word recognition, and motivation (Francis et al., 2005; Guthrie et al., 2004). Since all these skills are directly attributed to the development of comprehension capabilities, the use of reading instructions that combine all these components offers better outcomes (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2005). For instance, an approach that combined readings and question generation developed by Wickstrom & Jones (2006) was effective in promoting fluency and comprehension skills among learners with learning disabilities.
A more recent look into this issue was by Lo et al. (2011), was based on a study that contained an adult-directed reading meditation. The study found out that direct involvement of an adult in the repeated reading process hastened the rate of acquisition of the reading skills. In general, repeated reading has been found to positively impact on the reading skills among learners with learning disabilities (Therrien, 2004). In his study, Therrien (2004) concluded that adult implementation, cueing, a minimum of four times of text repetition, corrective feedback and performance criterion are vital components of an effective instructional strategy targeting enhancement of reading skills among students with learning disabilities.
CHAPTER 3: DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
From the above literature review, it is evident that learners that have poor literacy skills require data based intervention to enable them improve in their reading skills. Many of the studies analyzed have indicated that repeated reading is a powerful tool that can help in the enhancement of fluency and comprehension skills among learners (Hudson et al., 2005; Cassidy et al., 2010; Lo et al., 2011). Repeated reading has been shown to positively influence reading achievement as well as attitudes among learners (Lo et al., 2011; Calhoon, 2005). However, when implementing the reading training among learners, teachers should consider motivational factors, the needs of the learners, materials that relay the content to the learners in an appropriate manner, instructional approaches that have scientific backing and engage the learner, and the specific skills needed by the learner to become a proficient reader (NCES, 2009; Brown, 2011; Kim, 2008).
Based on the literature reviewed above, repeated readings that considered content based literacy proved effective in addressing the reading problems among learners. More so, the studies conducted a measure of repeated readings based on performance assessments that clearly indicated that repeated readings positively enhance fluency and comprehension skills (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003). This is evidenced by the position taken by Therrien (2004) that validated previous studies that had asserted that repeated reading is effective for promoting development of fluency and comprehension skills among learners. The analysis drawn from various studies clearly indicated that repeated reading has a positive impact on student’s word efficiency, sight word, and reading comprehension, as well as general improvement in literacy (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; O’ Connor et al., 2007; Neumann et al., 2008). Specifically, studies on the impact of repeated reading for learners with learning disabilities showed that if well used with several approaches, repeated reading can effectively promote literacy in such students (Calhoon, 2005; Morgan & Sideridis, 2006). This is a clear indication that repeated reading has the potential of promoting development of fluency and comprehension skills among learners with learning disabilities. The fact reading is a cornerstone in the learning process, considerations of implementing repeated reading strategy in learning institution targeting students with learning difficulties is essential in the elimination of reading and comprehension gaps between the normal learners and the learners with learning difficulties.
Consequently, repeated reading is an effective tool for improvement of fluency and comprehension skills among disabled as well as non-disabled learners in terms of learning difficulties. The use of sources that utilized both transfer and non-transfer measures allowed this investigation to develop a deeper analysis of the concept of repeated reading and its impact on learner’s literacy (Morgan & Sideridis, 2006). The analysis of studies founded on non-transfer perspective that measured the ability of a student to fluently read a specific text after repeated reading indicated that repeated reading is effective for promoting fluency and comprehension skills for a specific text (Therrien & Hughes, 2008). Therefore, students that are exposed to reading a passage more than once generally read it more fluently and offer better comprehension of the passage. On the other hand, transfer results that examined the student’s ability to read fluently and comprehend another text after reading a different text repeatedly indicated that students that are exposed to repeated readings of a specific text are better placed in terms of fluency and comprehensions skills when reading a different text (Chard et al., 2009). As a result, repeated reading has the capability of improving learners’ comprehension and fluency abilities when exposed to new reading materials.
The review of literature also offered insights into the instructional components for promoting repeated reading among learners. The most evident approach that was considered essential in most studies is the approach that demanded learners to read the text loudly to the teacher (Chard et al., 2009; Francis et al., 2005; Guthrie et al., 2004). This position was founded adult implemented approach to repeated reading as studies demonstrated that instances where a teacher was actively involved in the repeated reading process produced better results compared to instances where the learners were exposed to repeated reading individually (Guthrie et al., 2004). Another important finding on repeated reading from the review of the literature was provision of a cue and repetition process being more than four times. Specifically, the cue to be provided was a challenging issue as studies were divided between using speed and comprehension or fluency, or comprehension (Lo et al., 2011; Cassidy et al., 2010). However, from the studies, there was negligible impact on fluency and comprehension skills when the cueing approach was changed and therefore provided cuing is part of the repeated reading instructions, then it is bound to work effectively in promoting literacy. For the learners with learning disabilities, cueing approach that considered comprehension has better results in terms of memory as compared to speed cuing. Nevertheless, since several studies suggested that an integrated approach has better results, this study proposed that the most effective approach for cuing should combine both comprehension and speed cuing (Cassidy et al., 2010; Kim, 2008; NCES, 2009).
3.2 Implications for Teachers
This research developed two major findings that have implications for the teacher-learner environments regarding reading skills. To begin with, studies have shown that repeated reading can be used as an instructional approach for improving learners’ fluency and comprehension of text. The second finding is that there are specific instructional components that are needed to ensure repeated reading strategy is beneficial as a tool for promoting literacy among learners. Specifically, the choice of instructional components is dependent on the objective of the intervention. If repeated reading targets improvement of students’ fluency and comprehension skills for a specific text, the approach should cue students with a focus on comprehension and speed, and the text should be loudly read by the learners more than three times. However, if the intention of repeated reading targets the overall literacy of the learners, then the essential components of the instruction process should include reading the passage loudly to an adult instructor, the instructor should provide corrective feedback on specific words in the text. Additionally, the student must read the text many times until the set performance standards are met.
Using the literature review, this study has been able to offer a better understanding of the current position regarding repeated reading and its impact on the improvement of fluency and comprehension skills among learners with learning disabilities. Specifically, the study has pointed out that the impacts of repeated reading in the development of reading skills is positive for students with learning difficulties as well as those without learning difficulties. Moreover, it was evident that the approach adopted in offering repeated reading instructions is controlled by the objectives of the process with a specific focus on nontransferable and transferable fluency and comprehension skills. The fact that effective literacy is founded on transferable reading skills where a student is able to apply fluency and comprehension skills read in a text to another different text, the focus on developing instructional approaches that promoted development of transferable reading skills was viewed as imperative in educational development.
3.4 Implications for Future Research
As much as this study proved that repeated reading has a positive impact on fluency and comprehension skills among learners, there are several critical queries that were not well responded to in the reviewed studies. The most burning issue relates to the approach for increasing instructional components, using a modeling component, the role of peers in promoting repeated reading effectiveness, and the most effective approach for measuring the overall impact for repeated reading on literacy achievement. This study has identified the vital instructional components of repeated reading but the lack of analysis on the impact of additional instructional components limited the ability of this investigation in pointing out how they may influence development of literacy skills. Thus, developing a better understanding of the effect of repeated reading in promoting literacy among learners with learning difficulties, long-term studies are necessary. The lack studies that have focused on this group of learners for more than 6 months makes the existing data limited in terms of affirming the importance of repeated learning and developing the most appropriate instructional approach targeting learners with learning difficulties is challenging. Specifically, developing a quasi-experiment approach may provide deeper insights into this issues and their impact on repeated reading as a reading skill development strategy.
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