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Effects of repeated reading and listening passage preview on oral reading fluency.

This case study examined the effectiveness of three fluency interventions (i.e., repeated reading, audio listening passage preview and teacher modeled listening passage preview) with a fifth grade student struggling with fluency skills. When compared to baseline, each intervention increased oral reading fluency by the end of the 7 weeks of intervention. Teacher modeled listening passage preview resulted in the greatest fluency growth using R-CBM passages.

Keywords: fluency, oral reading, repeated reading, listening passage preview, curriculum-based measurement

According to research, effective reading instruction should include phonological awareness, decoding skills, vocabulary, fluency practice and variety of reading comprehension strategies (Armbruster, Lehr & Osborne, 2001; National Reading Panel (NRP), 2000), and if a student is struggling in one or more of those essential components, reading becomes laborious. According to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores, a significant percentage (68%) of fourth grade students are reading at the basic level or below (i.e., basic level indicating only partial mastery of fundamental skills required for proficient work on grade level content), which creates an increasing demand for efficient interventions with positive outcomes (Begney & Silber, 2006). Research states that decoding and fluency are important foundational skills for vocabulary and comprehension to build upon (Knight-McKenna, 2008; Whitaker, Harvey, Hassell, Linder, & Tutterrow, 2006), so as students learn overt decoding and syllabication strategies they eventually internalize the strategies into covert processes and take ownership of their reading skills (Archer, Gleason, & Vachon, 2003). Decoding strategies lead to automatic word recognition, therefore the greater the automaticity in word recognition, the freer the mind is to focus on meaning, making fluency the bridge from word recognition to comprehension (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006; Hook & Jones, 2002) and allowing students to make deeper, more reflective connections with the text (LaBerge & Samuels, 1974). Fluency is an important contributing factor to overall reading success and must be a component that is addressed during reading instruction.

Reading fluency is defined as the ability to read text quickly, accurately and with proper expression (NRP, 2000. p. 3-5). Simply put, it involves reading at a reasonable rate, with few miscues and with expression that sounds like language (Stahl, 2004). Fluency is an indication of automaticity--the ability to read words with little effort, resulting in an increased capacity used for comprehension process (Rasinski, 2003). There is strong evidence demonstrating the correlation between reading fluency and comprehension (Chard, Vaughn & Tyler, 2002; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Maxwell, 1988; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp & Jenkins, 2001). In fact, fluency is often viewed as a critical factor for achieving reading comprehension. Research findings indicate that various types of fluency instruction, including repeated oral readings are important contributors to growth in fluency for students with and without disabilities (Mercer, Campbell, Miller, Mercer & Lane, 2000; Therrien, 2004; Therrien & Hughes, 2008).

Fuchs et al. (2001) suggested that if oral reading fluency is a good predictor of student performance, then it should influence our teaching practices. In the past a variety of fluency interventions have been researched, but the two most common and effective interventions are repeated reading (RR) and listening passage preview (LPP; Skinner, Cooper & Cole, 1997; Therrien, 2004). Since both of these interventions have been successful with students with and without disabilities, this study investigated the effectiveness of both interventions.

Repeated oral reading, followed by feedback and effective instruction, promotes improvements in reading for students at all levels (National Reading Panel, 2000). Rashotte and Torgesen (1985) examined repeated reading using three conditions: repeated reading with low word overlap, repeated reading with high word overlap, and no repeated reading. The repeated reading conditions with high and low word overlap had the most gains (35.3 to 33 words per minute, respectively) indicating that repeated reading is an effective way to increase reading fluency.

Listening Passage Preview (LPP), sometimes referred to as modeling, is another intervention that has proven to be effective in increasing student reading fluency (Daly and Martens, 1994; Skinner et al., 1997). With listening passage preview there is less anxiety and a form of automaticity is beginning to develop due to the model from the teacher or peer. The student becomes more at ease and able to comprehend rather than using excess brainpower on laboriously decoding individual words (Van Bon, Boksebeld, Font Freide, & Vanden Hurk, 1991).

Rasinski's (1990) comparison of repeated reading and listening while reading with third grade students reading fourth grade passages revealed no significant differences in the two methods. Both proved to be effective measures to increase fluency and general proficiency in reading. Boyle et al. (2002, 2003) found that students with learning disabilities using audio devices in a history class outperformed those using a regular textbook. Begeny, Krouse, Ross and Mitchell (2009) examined the impact of repeated reading, listening passage preview and listening only on the oral reading fluency of second grade students reading below grade level. Findings suggest that repeated reading was the most effective when looking at words correct per minute, but both repeated reading and listening passage preview were effective. Studies using listening passage preview (LPP) individually and with other interventions found that oral reading fluency increased with the use of interventions such as passage preview, repeated reading, and performance feedback, and was highest when passage preview was used in combination with one or two other interventions (Begney & Silber, 2006; Daly, Murdoch, Lillenstein, Webber, & Lentz, 2002; Eckert, Ardoin, Daly & Martens, 2002, and Van Bon, et al., 1991).

Oral reading fluency is an effective screening tool in identifying struggling readers, providing diagnostic information about students, and monitoring progress, as well as measuring end-of-year outcomes. Like a thermometer, it is an indicator of strength or weakness. If weakness is indicated, further tests can identify the source of the problem and provide treatment (Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006). Students differ in their learning styles and identifying areas of need is crucial to designing effective instruction because each student brings a set of strengths and weaknesses that vary and can be most effectively addressed through differing interventions used both in isolation and in combination. After all treatments have been combined and data analyzed, one cornerstone (ruth remains: The goal of reading fluency is not words correct per minute, but the development of comprehension (NPR, 2000).

This research extends previous research in the area of repeated reading and listening passage preview by implementing all interventions on each day of clinic, which provides a framework for examining the effectiveness of fluency interventions. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact or growth by implementing of three different fluency interventions: repeated reading, listening passage preview and audio listening passage preview with a fifth grade student.


Participant and Setting

The case study subject (D.K) was a fifth-grade boy enrolled in a 60-minute 12-week Midwestern university's clinic for students with academic learning needs with 45-minutes each week focused on the interventions. The other 15-minutes of clinic was used to complete any homework or work on other academic areas as needed. D.K. attended 9 of the 12 clinic sessions and two forty-five 5-month follow-up sessions. These follow-up sessions were conducted in the same location as the 12-week clinic with the same researcher. The sequence of fluency measurements also remained the same.

D.K. did not qualify for special education services; however, his classroom teacher referred him to the clinic due to difficulties with reading fluency. Results from the Gray Oral Reading Test 4th Edition (GORT-4; Wiederholt & Bryant, 2001) indicated that his fluency skills were below average (Standard Score = 7, 16th percentile), but his comprehension was above average (Standard Score = 13, 84th percentile). D.K's baseline median score from three R-CBM passages was 82 words read correct per minute (WCPM).

Materials and Procedure

This single-subject multi-element treatment study included three interventions that were implemented each week during clinic. The three interventions were 1) repeated reading (RR), 2) audio listening passage preview (Audio LPP) and 3) listening passage preview (LPP). The same order of interventions was followed in each session.

Curriculum-based measurement progress monitoring data was used to measure ongoing results of each intervention. Words correctly read per minute (WCPM) were calculated by subtracting the number of miscues from the total number of words read. Miscues included mispronunciations, omissions, words read out of sequence, substitutions, and researcher-supplied words. Words were supplied after 3 seconds without a response. Data was gathered on WCPM for the individual interventions, and the order of the interventions remained the same each session to maintain consistency. The accuracy of the scoring of the probes was

The following describes the interventions that were utilized during the study:

Repeated Reading. The repeated reading intervention consisted of D.K. reading three different fifth grade R-CBM each two times. There was no additional instruction between the two reads. AimsWeb (Pearson, 2010) fifth grade R-CBM passages were used for the repeated reading intervention, and were approximately 350 to 400 words in length. Passages were read for one minute, miscues marked and corrected, and total words recorded. Mean scores for words correctly read per minute (WCPM) were graphed using Aims Web (Pearson, 2010).

Audio Listening Passage Preview (Audio LPP). Audio LPP was implemented to increase fluency by listening to a factual, high interest expository passages on the computer. D.K. listened to the passage twice. The first read was in 150 word chunks and the second read was in its entirety. After listening to the passage twice on the computer, the subject read the passage aloud for one minute with words read correctly per minute recorded.

Listening Passage Preview (LPP). LPP involved the researcher reading one factual, high interest expository passage as D.K. listened and followed along on with his own copy. After listening to the passage, D.K then read the passage for one minute with words read correctly per minute recorded. The researcher read aloud instead of using audio because it modeled a reasonable expectation of the subject's parents.


D.K.'s baseline score of 82 WCPM was at approximately the 10th percentile for a fifth grade student in winter according to aggregated norms provided by Aims Web (Pearson, 2010). All interventions were measured against this baseline.

The repeated reading condition had a rate of improvement of 1.34 with 104 words read correctly at the end of intervention. The rate of improvement for the Audio LPP condition was 2.19 words per week and LPP had a rate of improvement of 1.90. At the end of the intervention both Audio LPP and LPP interventions had a WCPM rate of 110. The rate of improvement was more than two times the expected growth rate (.67) of a student who was performing at the 10th percentile at baseline for repeated reading and LPP and over three times the expected growth rate for Audio LPP intervention. See Figure 1 for graphs of the results.

5-Month Post-Evaluation

The median scores from the 5-month post-evaluation revealed maintenance growth in RR and LPP, but not in the Audio LPP intervention. The following are the median scores for each of the conditions: RR = 105 WCPM, Audio LPP= 96 WCPM, LPP = 110 WCPM. D.K. maintained the growth from the end of the intervention period for all conditions except Audio LPP. The graph in Figure 1 shows data collected for all conditions.


The purpose of this case study was to compare the effectiveness of three research-based reading fluency interventions (RR, Audio LPP and LPP). The implementation of repeated reading and listening passage preview to produce greater fluency in words read correct per minute is supported by research (Begeny et al., 2009; Chard et. al., 2002; Sibler & Martens, 2010) and furthered by this study. The hypothesis that fluency would increase given the implementation of one or more interventions was supported, however, all three interventions were found to show increases in reading performance.

The results of this case study are consistent with the research base (Begeny et al., 2009; Chard et al., 2002; Therrien, 2004) supporting the interventions of repeated reading and listening passage preview as effective methods of increasing fluency as each measure demonstrated growth. Although Audio LPP showed the most growth during intervention, on the 5-month follow-up measures, the growth demonstrated during intervention was not maintained but was still above baseline. This result could be due to the lapse of time between the intervention and follow-up or it might suggest that without continued instruction, the fluency increases would not be maintained. Fluency interventions must be part of a reading program to see continued improvement for students.

On the other hand, both RR and LPP maintained the growth on the 5-month follow-up, however, D.K.'s WCPM did not show an additional increase at that time. This indicates that while the methods were successful during the intervention phase, once the instruction was discontinued, D.K. did not continue to make growth. As stated above, this important finding suggests that teachers need to continue the interventions if students are to make additional improvements in fluency.

Based on the current study showing growth with each of the fluency interventions, it is recommended that practitioners select a fluency intervention based student characteristics and feasibility of implementation, but that a model of fluent reading is very beneficial and will contribute to improvements in fluency skills (Chard et al., 2002). In a classroom setting with the limited amount of time available, it may be most feasible to implement Audio LPP, which still provides the model, but frees up the teacher for other types of reading instruction. After going through training procedures with students, Audio LPP with self-monitoring would be recommended for general education classroom application. For students who need one-on-one adult interactions, RR or LPP would be highly beneficial if teacher or paraeducator time was available for individual instruction.

Future Research

Future research should address the length of intervention needed to continue making growth after the intervention is discontinued. An alternate treatment multiple baseline study with eight to ten weeks of intervention followed by monthly data collection would assist with determining how long the intervention is effective after direct instruction has been discontinued.


The current research was a single case study completed in a university clinic setting and while the interventions discussed have been supported with research, the clinic setting needs to be considered. Due to the clinic setting, instruction was only provided one day a week; therefore all interventions were conducted on the same day at each weekly meeting. This could impact the growth of the different interventions because instruction was only provided one day a week. Another limitation was that D.K. missed three clinic sessions, which resulted in some weeks in which the interventions were not implemented. Additionally, interventions presented in the same order instead of being counter-balanced in this study needs to be considered. It is understood that multiple treatment interference might impact external validity of the second and third interventions, so it is suggested that future studies alternate the order of treatments. Finally, for maximum results it is suggested that the interventions be used in a school setting with one-on-one or small group instruction to provide more regular and consistent instruction and to involve more students in interventions.


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Author:Swain, Kristine D.; Leader-Janssen, Elizabeth M.; Conley, Perry
Publication:Reading Improvement
Date:Sep 22, 2017
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