Building decoding fluency : a dissertation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
It has been recognised for many years that competent reading occurs only after a number of component skills have been mastered. Many studies propose that a lack of phonemic awareness underpins many of the difficulties children experience in learning to read. A recent study, however, has suggested that 8 to 9-year old children who are struggling with reading may be hampered more by poor decoding fluency rather than by inadequate phonemic awareness. While many component skills of reading have been the focus of research, there is scant research into interventions designed to build decoding fluency directly. The present experiment attempted to increase decoding fluency in five, eight and nine-year old low-progress readers using direct teaching techniques. In addition, the project aimed to ascertain how long it would take to build decoding fluency and, once increased, whether the improvement would generalise to faster prose reading. Analysis of the results showed that it is possible to build decoding fluency directly and that faster decoding generalises to faster prose reading. These findings have significant implications for both the diagnosis of reading difficulties in eight and nine-year old children and the teaching of children who are having difficulty in learning to read.