Repeated Reading, Wide Reading, and a Typical Instruction Comparison Group: Relative Effects on the Comprehension, Fluency, and Word Reading of Adolescents with Reading Disabilities
There is little doubt that struggling readers and particularly those struggling with reading fluency can benefit from interventions aimed at improving their rate and accuracy. Knowing what fluency interventions are associated with effective outcomes for secondary struggling readers is essential (Pressley, 2000).
A synthesis of fluency interventions conducted with older struggling readers (Wexler, Vaughn, Edmonds, & Reutebuch, 2008) revealed that repeated reading (RR) interventions, a commonly used fluency intervention with young, beginning, struggling readers may not be as effective for increasing reading speed, word recognition, and comprehension as the same amount of non-repetitive wide reading (WR). Gains from RR do not necessarily generalize to unpracticed passages or improve word recognition or comprehension while a benefit of reading a variety of text is that students are then exposed to different text structures, more content, and vocabulary.
This experimental study was conducted to examine the relative effectiveness of a repeated reading and wide reading intervention when compared to a “typical instruction” comparison group on secondary struggling readers’ comprehension, fluency, and word reading. Participants were 96 students with severe reading disabilities in grades 9-12. Students were paired within classes and pairs were randomly assigned to one of three groups: repeated reading (N=33), wide reading (N=34), or typical instruction (N=29). Intervention was provided daily for approximately 15-20 minutes for 10 weeks. Results of five separate ANCOVAs indicate no overall statistically significant differences for any condition with effects ranging from -.31 to .27. Findings do not support either repeated reading or wide reading using peer pairing for secondary readers with significant reading disabilities. Implications will be discussed.
Keywords: Reading Disabilities, Fluency Intervention, Literacy, Special Education
Senior Research Associate, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk;
Professor, Special Education, The University of Texas at Austin
in Human Development and is currently the Director of the Meadows Center for
Preventing Educational Risk. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of
Learning Disabilities and the Co-Editor of Learning Disabilities Research
and Practice. She is the recipient of the AERA Special Education SIG
distinguished researcher award. She is the author of more than 200 articles
and 10 books that address the reading outcomes of students with learning
difficulties, learning disabilities and English language learners. She is
currently the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on several
Institute for Education Science, National Institute for Child Health and
Human Development, and Office of Special Education Programs research grants
investigating effective interventions for students with learning
disabilities and behavior problems as well as students who are English
Associate Director, Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, The University of Texas at Austin