There are four key areas of research that underpin this resource. These are:
- The Repeated Readings approach to reading instruction
- The Neurological Impress Method of reading instruction
- Eye movement of the fluent reader
- Comprehension processes of the fluent reader
1. The Repeated Readings approach to reading instruction
The method of Repeated Reading was developed to help non-fluent readers improve fluency and, ultimately, reading comprehension (Samuels, 1979). This approach involves multiple readings of the same text. Typically, readers improve their fluency with each reading. The DSL resource achieves this through the learner reading along with the computer, at faster speeds, on four or five occasions.
Research has documented the impact of Repeated Reading in improving reading fluency and word recogniFon accuracy, and significantly improving reading comprehension (Rashotte & Torgesen, 1985; Roundy & Roundy, 2009). Specifically, Roundy & Roundy, (2009) report that, on average, the use of Repeated Reading increased students’ fluency, that is, words per minute reading score, reading-oriented self-esteem, and confidence.
Rashotte, C.A. & Torgesen, J.K. (1985). Repeated reading and reading fluency in learning disabled children. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 180-188.
Roundy, A.R., & Roundy, P.T. (2009). The Effect of Repeated Reading on Student Fluency: Does Practice Always Make Perfect? International Journal of Human and Social Sciences 4:1, 54-59.
Samuels, S. The method of repeated readings. The Reading Teacher, 32: 403-408. 1979.
2. The Neurological Impress Method of reading instruction
The Neurological Impress method (NIM) is a form of paired reading that involves a learner and a tutor (or computer) reading the same text, almost simultaneously. Using the faster version of each story, the tutor (or computer) reads slightly faster than the student. Reading with a more fluent reader is effectively “…an impress, an etching in of word memories on the natural process” (Heckelman, 1969). In addition, positive reinforcement from the tutor during this paired reading helps build students’ self-confidence and enjoyment.
Research indicates that students engaged in NIM significantly improved in reading fluency after a relatively short time of instruction. For example, a group of 24 struggling adolescent readers made an average gain of almost two grade levels after about 7.5 hours of instruction over an eight-week period (Heckelman, 1969). In a more recent study (Flood et al., 2005) worked with twenty students in grades 3-6 who received NIM instruction for 10 minutes per day, four days a week. These sessions included oral reading plus an added comprehension component, similar to the questions imbedded in the DSL resource. After five weeks, the students’ average oral reading rates increased from 97 to 112 words per minute, and their comprehension scores showed statistically significant gains.
Flood, J., Lapp, D., & Fisher, D. (2005). Neurological impress methods plus. Reading Psychology, 26, 147-150.
Heckelman, R. G. (1969). A neurological-impress method of remedial-reading instruction Acad Therap Quart.
3. Eye movement of the fluent reader
The hoops and line indicator built into the DSL resource are designed to train readers’ eyes to engage in three kinds of eye movement. These are:
- Eye fixations, that occurs when the eye pauses momentarily (about 300msec / a third of a second) on a line of print so that information can be sent to the brain. Only a small part of what is printed on a page is in focus on the retina of the eye during each fixation. Consequently, rapid eye motions are required to bring different parts of a text into focus;
- Forward saccades, that involves eyes jumping from left to right along a line of print and dropping from one line of print down to the next line;
- Backward saccades, or regressions, that occur when comprehension is difficult or when the focal point of the eye is in the wrong place for efficient word recognition, and re-reading of the text is needed.
Although capable of these movements, the human eye is not ideally suited to the task of reading, and eye the movement of less able readers even less so. Less skilled readers tend to use lePers-units smaller than the whole word as the unit of recognition, while 12 year and older students use the entire word as the unit. Less skilled readers tend to decode and comprehend in two separate operations, while fluent readers do both simultaneously. Thought of another way, the single major accomplishment of a non-fluent reader when they fixate is, only, word recogniFon.
Given these understandings, we have incorporated:
- Hoops to train the eyes of less able readers to move more like those of fluent readers;
- Two reading speeds to allow for slower, then faster fixations;
- Line Indicators to assist less able readers keep their place as they read.
Medland C, Walter H, Woodhouse JM. (2012). Eye movements and poor reading: does the Developmental Eye Movement test measure cause or effect? Ophthalmic Physiology Opt, 30(6):740-7.
Farstrup, A & Samuels, SJ. (Eds.). (in press). Eye movements and reading: what teachers need to know. What research has to say about reading instruction (4th Ed.). Newark, DE: IRA.
4. Comprehension processes of the fluent reader
Research by Palincsar (1986) and Yu-Fen (2010) has indicated that key reading comprehension processes used by the fluent reader include questioning, summarising, clarifying and predicting. We used these understandings to design our questions. Specifically, our questions involve readers in inferring, summarising and predicting. We welcome tutors asking other quesFons given their knowledge of the reader and the dynamics of the tutoring session.
Rationale for the selection of Key Word list
A team of six experienced adult literacy educators who independently selected lists of Key Words for each story, based on their experience and a set of guiding criteria, selected the Key Words associated with each story. The lists were compared and debate ensued until a final list was selected. The guiding criteria underpinning word selection included identifying words with irregular or less common orthography, ‘long’ or compound words likely to tax the attentional / processing resources of the learners, and less common subject specific words.
Palincsar, A.S. (1986). Reciprocal teaching. In: Teaching reading as thinking. Oak Brook, IL: North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
Tertiary Education Commission (2008). Teaching adults to read with understanding. Wellington: Tertiary Education Commission.
Yu-Fen, Yang (2010). “Developing a reciprocal teaching/learning system for college remedial reading instruction”. Computers and Education, 55: 1193–1201.
In summary, the DSL resource is based on the belief that the:
- Use of the Repeated Reading method will improve word recognition and reading fluency;
- Use of the Neurological Impress Method will improve word recognition and reading fluency;
- Slower reading speeds will assist learners to process text;
- Use of a line indicator will assist readers with directionality;
- Hoops will scaffold learners away from word-by-word reading, encourage learners to use their syntactic knowledge, train the eye to move in ways similar to that of a fluent reader and meaningfully chunk text as they read;
- Questions will scaffold learners to engaging in summarising, predicting and inferring like fluent readers;
- A beige text background and black text will reduce the likelihood of learners experiencing scotopic sensitivity (text shimmering);
- Learners are more likely to be involved and disposed to read high interest low readability text.
- Learners are more likely to be involved and disposed to read digital texts in an engaging format.