Oral reading performance and the synergy of fluency, comprehension, and motivation: a case study of a sixth grade class



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Texas Tech University


Demonstrations of, instruction on, and practice with oral reading can be a means of fostering active, independent, and self-aware readers. Possibly the most authentic use of oral rendition occurs when students are asked to practice reading texts that they will eventually perform for others. Radio reading, Readers' Theater, and poetry are three such performance options. Currently, a few studies exist describing the fluency development of adolescent readers; however, no published study focuses on the use of oral reading performance to develop sixth grade students' fluency through interdisciplinary contexts. The purpose of this study, consequently, was to examine and describe the reading fluency, comprehension and motivation of one class of sixth grade students. I collected data over the course of twelve weeks in a sixth grade, language arts/social studies classroom. Data sources included field observations, formal and informal interviews, an archive of student written responses to oral reading practices and performances and focus participants' permanent records as they related to reading development.

The findings for this study suggest that the use of oral performance texts related to social studies is a way for content area learning and reading fluency development to occur concurrently. When students read engaging texts orally for authentic purposes, their reading fluency and self-efficacy may be strengthened. Rich descriptions of students' oral reading practices and performances provide authentic scripts that can assist teachers and researchers in identifying possibilities for using oral reading performance to enhance content area instruction and reading fluency.