Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
The gap in reading achievement continues to be consistent, despite No Child Left Behind goals to narrow these gaps among minority and other subgroup populations. This gap is especially profound for students with disabilities, and any evidence to support progress monitoring of oral reading fluency (ORF) and comprehension will inform educational policy and practice. The theory of automaticity explains that a reader can focus more attention on the meaning of a reading passage when less attention is needed for word and sound recognition. The literature has suggested that reading comprehension can be improved through efforts to improve ORF. The central purpose of this quantitative, correlation study was to determine the relationship between gains in ORF and gains in reading comprehension of both informational and literary texts among 46 students in Grades 3 through 6 with reading difficulties and specific learning disabilities in a rural southern U.S. school district. A second purpose was to determine whether repeated readings or cold reads is the better predictor of reading comprehension. Gains in ORF rates over a 10-week period, determined by the difference in pre- and postmeasurements on two curriculum-based measures of ORF, were regressed on reading comprehension scores on the Measures of Academic Procedures test. There was not a statistically significant relationship between ORF and reading comprehension gains, and neither repeated readings nor cold reads was statistically a better predictor of reading gains. The findings offer several suggestions for the continuation of support for students who struggle with the reading process. Implications for social change included improved reading levels for those with reading and other specific learning disabilities.