Monitoring eye movements to measure reading behavior and instructional effects
Foster, Tori Ella
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Recent developments in eye movement recording have led to its increased use in research with previously “hard-to-track” individuals, including young children. In addition, in light of its unique potential for capturing concurrent behaviors and mechanisms underlying the reading process, reading researchers have demonstrated increased interest in using the technology to investigate reading skill development and instructional effects. However, due to its newness in the field of applied reading research, the use of eye-tracking methodology is certainly not without its limitations, and substantial gaps remain within the existing scientific literature. The first study in this dissertation examined the technical adequacy (i.e., test-retest reliability, alternate-form reliability, and concurrent criterion-related validity) of recently utilized eye movement measures among 175 second-grade students. The second study investigated the influences of age and word frequency on eye movement patterns exhibited by 72 unskilled readers (36 adult literacy learners and 36 students in Grades 2–5 matched on broad achievement level) during 4 consecutive rereadings of the same text. Taken together, results from both empirical studies affirm the link between students’ eye movements during reading and their level of reading skills (e.g., broad reading achievement, as measured by more traditional assessment tasks) and extend upon and clarify previous eye movement research with adults and children.