In order to answer which oral reading fluency variables predicted silent reading fluency proficiency levels and what are the predictors of the silent reading fluency test results for students with reading disablitieits versus students without reading disabilities, researchers Soonhwa Seok and Boaventurura DaCosta created a study which they reported on in Oral Reading Fluency as a Predictor of Silent Reading Fluency at Secondary and Postsecondary Levels published in the October 2014 edition of the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.
One of the important results of the study was that age, disability status and grade level significantly impacted silent contextual reading fluency but reading rate impacted silent word reading fluency. This distinction means that if we only focus on rate, we may be missing the ball on improving reading. Unfortunately age, disability and grade level are items that cannot be altered. One possible implication is that grade advancement for the sake of self-esteem may be harming possible reading success. Perhaps summer programs need to be available not just to students with disabilities at risk of significant regression, but to students with reading disabilities who need more time to grapple with reading. They can receive explicit reading instruction that focuses on enhancing fluency and comprehension.
While the authors do not propose any change to number of days/hours in school, they do propose a three pronged reading instructional program. First they suggest vocabulary strategies be taught. This includes rich exposure to words- talk to them, read to them, read with them, have them read. In order to increase the effectiveness of instruction they suggest matching students by learning goals, strategies and existing vocabularies. They suggest teaching roots to expand vocabulary and utilizing a direct instructional method wherein a limited number of words are taught well rather a large number of words are covered.
The second prong is fluency instruction. They suggest teaching fluency with feedback and scaffolding to enhance skills. They list a number of strategies suggested in many of Rasinski and Paige's works.
The third component of the recommended program is comprehension strategies. The seven suggested strategies include: graphic organizers, self-questioning, visualization and summarization, acronyms, word identification and paraphrasing. Interestingly, within the article, this list of suggestions is not supported with research. Other authors, however, concur on the usefulness of these strategies within reading comprehension.
As I have previously mentioned this is my year to study fluency. I find it intriguing that the strategies will all support fluency. Having a wide vocabulary will impact fluency- reading words and phrases you are unfamiliar with slows you down and reduces your ability to read fluently with prosody. Similarly, word identification is critical for fluency. Students who can visualize as they read "see" what they are reading and consequently can read with greater prosody. Although most will say it is a false dichotomy to say the five components of reading are independent silos to instruct in isolation, few people really see how interrelated they are in creating reading proficiency. Without one component, you cannot be a successful reader.