Friday, January 23, 2015

The Effects of Fast Start Reading

Timothy Rasinski developed a parental involvement fluency practice program called Fast Start reading. It is designed to be implemented with students just beginning to read- kindergarteners and first graders. He evaluated its use in The Effects of Fast Start Reading: A Fluency-Based Home Involvement Reading Program, on the Reading Achievement of Beginning Readers in Reading Psychology 26: 109-125 coauthored with Bruce Stevenson, and discussed its use in  Fast-Start: A Parental Involvement Reading Program for Primary Grade Students in a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College Reading Association in November of 1994. Books describing its use are available at Amazon here and here. A kindergarten teacher has "packets" of materials available for her students' families here.

This program involves providing a parent training session and then packets to send home for parents to read for each week. Daily reading is expected to take between 10 and 15 minutes, but many families use only 6. The program involves the following sequence of events:
  1. parent and child sit together with the parent drawing attention to the text
  2. parent repeatedly reads the text to the child. They discuss the text.
  3. parent and child simultaneously repeatedly read the text together
  4. child reads the text alone
  5. word study activities
The texts selected by the teacher are generally poetry and suggested activities are included in the weekly packet. This could be word games or word puzzles.

The program demonstrated significant improvement in beginning readers who functioned at the low end of performance at the start of the program. Although more proficient readers made gains, they were comparable to those of the control group. Fast Start does offer an inexpensive method for improving fluency, word identification and comprehension with beginning readers. While it is not necessary for all students to have this level of structure, for students who are performing in the lower half of the group, it does provide an intervention that is both inexpensive, both in time and resources, and positively engages parents.

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