Recovering a Balanced Approach To Reading Fluency: Effects of Embedded Fluency Instruction On Second Graders' Fluency and Comprehension

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

First Advisor

Dana G. Thames

Advisor Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


Current educational policy, practice, and research focus on a narrow view of reading fluency in response to pressures from data driven accountability systems. Federal legislation, national funding, and response-to-intervention models foster a culture of quantitative analysis that emphasizes one aspect of reading fluency in evaluating student reading progress. While rate and accuracy are important characteristics of fluent reading, these measures do not tell the whole story. This 35-session study was designed to investigate fluency in a more holistic manner that considered the effects of a comprehensive embedded fluency instructional routine on rate and accuracy, prosody, and comprehension of second graders in a public school setting. Specifically, did modeled repeated reading of expository text with support from a teacher and peers significantly improve second graders' scores on words correct per minute, a prosody scale, and answers to comprehension questions in comparison to a control group that received routine reading instruction? The study also investigated the effects of narrative and expository test passages on student outcomes. Results reveal the complexity of oral reading fluency and point to the impact of school culture, sample characteristics, teacher influence, and text readability on student outcomes.