Developing reading fluency and comprehension using repeated reading: Evidence from longitudinal student reports

Greta Gorsuch, Etsuo Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent years, interest in reading fluency development in first language, and second and foreign language (L2/FL) settings has increased. Reading fluency, in which readers decode and comprehend at the same time, is critical to successful reading. Fluent readers are accurate and fast in their ability to recognize words, and in their use of prosodic and syntactic knowledge to better comprehend text. Reading is a significant and viable means of developing L2/FL ability, particularly in FL settings in which L2 input sources are limited, such as Vietnam or Japan (for English as a foreign language), or the USA (for Japanese or Russian as a foreign language).Yet many L2/FL learners read slowly and laboriously, likely because of poor word recognition skills. Repeated reading (RR) is one method of fluency-building long used in first language (L1) settings and more recently in L2/FL settings, and seems successful in increasing the reading fluency and comprehension of both L1 and L2/FL learners. Nonetheless, it is likely that teachers and learners in L2/FL settings may be unaware of or unconvinced of the role increased reading fluency plays in reading comprehension and, as a result, may not see the utility of devoting class or personal time to repeated reading or, indeed, any reading fluency activity. Because quantitative evidence for positive effects of RR has already been offered (see Taguchi, Sasamoto, & Gorsuch, 2006; Gorsuch & Taguchi, 2008), we offer additional evidence in the form of open-ended, post-reading student reports written over the length of an 11-week RR treatment for 30 young adult EFL learners in Vietnam. Iterative analyses of over 200 pages of student reports provided nuanced evidence of the positive effects RR has on FL learners' reading fluency and comprehension development, and general language development. Learners' comments revealed information that suggested a meaningful role for extended experience with RR to increasing use of learner metacognition in reading strategy use, and growing awarenesses on the part of learners of (1) the relationship between fluency and comprehension, (2) the utility of developing fluency as a stand-alone skill, and (3) RR as a causal agent in the development of listening, writing, and speaking skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-59
Number of pages33
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading fluency
  • Reading in foreign language programs

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