The contribution of text reading fluency to reading comprehension
Meisinger, Elizabeth Benton
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The current investigation is comprised of two studies. Study 1 examined the theoretical and empirical relationships among word reading, text fluency, and reading comprehension. Third and fourth grade students (N=190) completed a series of standardized measures of word reading accuracy, word fluency, text fluency, and reading comprehension measures. Three models regarding how word reading accuracy, word reading fluency, and text reading fluency operate together to produce good comprehension were evaluated. The results supported a text fluency model which states that word reading accuracy, word fluency, and text fluency each make important contributions to comprehension in 3 grade children. However, the influence of these basic reading skills declined in the 5 grade children, suggesting that other factors may be needed to explain reading comprehension in older students. Study 2 explored the diagnostic utility of text fluency measures in the identification of children with reading disabilities. Participants were 51 children referred to a university based clinic because of serious reading problems or a diagnosis of dyslexia, where children completed a battery of standardized intellectual, reading achievement, and processing measures. The results suggested that it is essential to assess text fluency in addition to word reading because failure to do so may result in the under-identification of children with reading disabilities. A group of children were identified within the clinical sample that exhibited specific deficits in their text fluency skills beyond those that could be accounted for by assessment of word reading skills. Together these results suggest that text fluency is an important reading skill for elementary school children and that this skill should not be overlooked when assessing children suspected of having a reading disability.