Reading fluency is defined as an accurate, rapid and expressive reading by the National Reading Panel (National Reading Panel, 2000). Reading fluency and comprehension is an issue that begins in first grade and continues through our lives as readers (Hanzal, 2013). As we practice our skills increase and we become more fluent in our reading moving from one word at a time to chunks of words all the way up to a sentence. As we read our ability to identify common or sight words allows us to move through a passage and truly focus on words that are strange or unknown. We use cues in the sentence to identify the unknown words make the comprehension connection. When struggling readers read one word at a time, the fluency and comprehension is lost in the reading.
Students that need to stop and sound out sight word lose the flow of the passage. Research shows that implementing the Six Minute Solution to children with disabilities, improved the reading fluency over time (Wexler, Vaughn, Roberts, Denton, 2010). Students without disabilities also benefited from the use of the program as fluency and comprehension increased. The National research Center on Learning Disabilities helps schools understand, design, and evaluate response to intervention programs for struggling students in the Tier 3 level of learning (Johnson, Mellard, Fuchs, McKnight, 2006).
Several research projects conducted using the Six Minute Solution to improve fluency and comprehension all achieved their goal of increasing fluency, and understanding of the topic read. The goal of the program is to begin reading a list of sight words at one-minute intervals. Each reading is graphed as to the correct number read. After five readings the graphs are used to show improved readings over time. From the sight words the reader moves on to a rich passage with 130 to 150 words. The same process is used, one-minute reading followed by graphing the amount of words read. After the fifth read, the student is allowed to read the entire passage and answer comprehension questions on the back. The authors found that both fluency and comprehension increased as the students increased the number of readings (O’Shea, O’Shea, Sindelar 1985). Research also found that when students read a passage for the first time after using the Six Minute Solution, the reader spent less time rereading sentences and more time focusing on the unknown words (Wexler, Vaughn, Roberts, Denton, 2010).
The ability to collect data from each student and each reading, allows a classroom teacher to properly level students in a three-tier system (Hanzel, 2013). This allows the teacher to implement other opportunities of reading practice for the tier two and three students that struggle with fluency and comprehension.
Data proves that the repeated readings practice improves words read per minute, understanding of passage read, and increased AIMSweb scores (Hanzel, 2013). All of this translates into a struggling reader becoming more fluent over time with extensive practice.
Hanzal, A. (2012-13). Closing the Reading Fluency Gap in Six Minutes. Retrieved from http://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=maed
Hasbrouck, J. (2010). Developing Fluent Readers. Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/article/developing-fluent-readers
Johnson, E., Mellard, D. F., Fuchs, D. & McKnight, M. A. (2006). Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI): How to Do It. Washington, DC. National Research Center on Learning Disabilities
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction. Reports of the subgroups. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health
O’Shea, D.J., O’Shea, L.J., & Sindelar, P.T. (1985). The Effects of Repeated readings and Attentional Cues on Reading Fluency and Comprehension. Journal of Reading Behavior, Volume XVII (No.2), 129-142.
Wexler, J., Vaughn, S., Roberts, G., Denton, C.A. (2010). The Efficacy of Repeated Reading and Wide reading Practice for High School Students with Severe Reading Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 25(1), 2-10.