Building decoding fluency in 8- to 9-year old low progress readers : a dissertation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education in Child and Family Psychology
The aim ofthis study was to extend the emerging evidence that 8- to 9-year old struggling readers are characterised more by a deficit in decoding fluency than a low level of phonemic awareness. A group of five children who were deemed to have an adequate level of phonemic awareness but were still at least one year behind in reading progress were selected. The children participated in specially designed fluency building activities with a trained peer tutor for 21 minutes a day, five days a week. Measures ofdecoding fluency were taken almost daily and, in order to assess any generalisation effects ofthe intervention to overall reading progress, timed running records were also taken once or twice a week. The intervention was conducted in the school setting and lasted for between two and four weeks depending on each child's individual progress. Results showed that participants' level of decoding fluency improved from an average pre-test level of 35 correct responses per minute to 76 correct responses per minute at six-week follow-up. In addition, participants improved in prose reading fluency from an average pre-test level of 50 correct words per minute to 70 correct words per minute at six-week follow-up. Implications of these findings for educational practice are discussed.