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Improving Reading Fluency and Comprehension in Pre-Teens and Teens


A lot of reading intervention research and practice focuses on early elementary age children who are still in the early stages of reading. Far less research is conducted for slightly older pre-teen and teenage struggling readers, and it becomes more challenging to find interventions for reading fluency and comprehension that teachers and parents can implement for that age group.


Researchers in a study published in 2015 examined how well three separate intervention families, word-oriented (working with words in isolation like flashcards), fluency-oriented (such as repeated reading), and comprehension (focusing on grammar elements) worked with 5thand 6thgrade struggling readers. The researchers also looked at a fourth intervention that combined components of the word-oriented, fluency-oriented, and comprehension interventions.


The effects of all four of these interventions were examined on instructional passages (passages that were taught and practiced) and transfer passages (passages that were new, but equivalent). There was also a control group who received reading instruction as usual.


The researchers found that both the fluency-oriented and the multi-component interventions were the most effective in helping with both reading fluency and reading comprehension for new, or novel, passages of reading material. Both interventions were also effective with the instructional passages. The word-oriented intervention was good for the instructional passages, but not for the novel passages.


All interventions were more effective than the control condition that used the typical reading instruction.


So, the takeaway from the study is that appears that fluency-oriented and multi-component strategies may work well to remediate fluency and comprehension difficulties in struggling 5thand 6thgrade students.


For more information on reading interventions, please contact us at or 865-974-6177.