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Showing posts with label reading accuracy. Show all posts

Posted 11th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Paired reading is one of the key techniques I used in my research study for enhancing fluency. It is based on an idea developed by Topping (see the Dundee University website, Topping 2001). Its use with adults is described by McShane (2003) and Burton (2007a and b). In my version, the tutor matches her speed and volume sensitively to that needed to support each learner and models good expression. Learners are never allowed to struggle with difficult words, as these are supplied automatically. As and when the learner gains confidence, the tutor allows her voice to fade out. You can read more about how to apply the technique and about the impact it had on some learners in my study if you click on the “read more” link below.
If you haven’t tried paired reading, why don’t you give it a go in the next couple of weeks with a learner and post your findings here? Thanks.
Rationale
  • The idea of this technique is to encourage fluency and confidence when reading.
  • The idea is to stop the disruption to flow caused by a learner struggling to decode words or waiting to be corrected.
  • This approach can bring back the pleasure in reading for pleasure.
Method
  • Choose a text that the learner is interested in reading (for pleasure or information).
  • Although it is best if the text is at a level appropriate to the learner’s assessed needs, this method can be used to assist reading a harder text that the reader urgently needs to access.
  • Make sure that you can both see the text comfortably, or have two copies.
  • Start reading aloud together.
  • Make sure you match your speed to what the learner can cope with so you don’t leave them behind or leave them frustrated.
  • Model fluency and good expression.
  • If the learner stumbles over a word, keep reading and encourage them to continue without pause. If they lose their place, wait for them to catch up.
  • If you sense that the learner is reading confidently and accurately, fade your voice to a quieter volume, but be prepared to fade back in if they falter.
  • Warn your learner that you may fade out altogether if they continue to read well.
  • With a beginner reader, be prepared to pair read the same text several times so they also gain fluency from repetition and familiarity.
Impact
Nine out of 10 learners in my study used paired reading for one or more of the 6 intervention sessions. Four of them had strong reactions against it, saying it disrupted their concentration, or the tutor found it hard to get the right speed and volume to suit their learner. The remaining 5 learners rated paired reading highly (either good or excellent) and it had a marked impact. A learner I shall call Mike increased his reading accuracy by 6%, his speed by 11wpm and his comprehension by a huge 47%. The strategies his tutor used developed his vocabulary and used paired reading of high interest material. Mike’s confidence in reading improved considerably. A learner I shall call Dorothy improved on all of the measures of reading (speed, accuracy, comprehension and her standardised score on WRAT4 word recognition) following interventions that used a mixture of paired and shared reading (we both read to each other and simultaneously to make the most of magazine articles). Both Mike and Dorothy were assessed as reading at Entry level 1 of the English adult core curriculum standards. Paired reading enabled them to tackle texts harder but more interesting than those they might have coped with on their own.
Paired reading doesn’t work for everyone, and as a support tutor you need to be able to adjust your own reading style to suit what your learner needs. However, the evidence seems to show it is a useful tool for some, boosting confidence and having an effect on accuracy as well as comprehension. I will have more to say about reading speed in a later article.
Bibliography
BURTON, M. (2007a) Oral reading fluency for adults London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
BURTON, M. (2007b) Reading: developing adult teaching and learning: practitioner guides London, National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
MCSHANE, S. (2005) Applying research in reading instruction for adults. First steps for teachers Washington DC, National Institute for Literacy [online]
[accessed january 2017]
TOPPING, K (2001) Paired reading – how to do it: a guide for peer tutors [online]
[acccessed January 2017]
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Posted 6th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

This is the first of a number of discussion topics I am going to share with you, taken from the archive of my blog on Unravelling Reading (see also the Unravelling Reading section of this website for other articles.)

These topics are still relevant and I hope will attract some new comments.

I was reminded, when assessing a Dip ADDS (Adult Dyslexia Diagnosis and Support) Unit 2 module, of an interesting link between reading and punctuation.  The ADDS candidate K (she knew I was writing this post) submitted a DVD where she had a really interesting conversation with her learner about how punctuation can be the key to good expression and intonation when reading (they were discussing exclamation marks and question marks). We know from Ivanic (1996) that “while reading probably doesn’t help students to learn to spell, it does seem to help some to punctuate.”  Adult writers can improve their punctuation by reading their work aloud and listening for a complex mix of sound, structure and meaning in the words.  However, perhaps reading with a greater awareness of punctuation also helps fluency and comprehension.

In my research I had one learner who never noticed sentence breaks when she was reading a text out loud.  Though she read fluently and with reasonable accuracy, she  could rarely recall more than the surface detail of what she had read.  Somehow her style of reading was not giving her access to the meaning for full comprehension.

One of the interventions I tried with her was asking her to use a highlighter pen with one colour to mark up sentence breaks and another for commas. We did this a couple of times before reading the text together (we were reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as she had a passionate interest in horror stories!), as part of a series of directed activities related to texts (DARTs)It is possible she had some visual processing difficulties that meant punctuation marks did not stand out well for her She certainly read with better expression after this activity.

In the re-assessment after 6 sessions of interventions, this learner dipped slightly in her reading accuracy and was one of the subjects who significantly slowed down her reading speed (half speeded up, half slowed down – which is an interesting finding to be discussed later).  However she improved her comprehension score by 18%!  Was she improving her access to the meaning of texts?

Clearly lots of other factors come into play, so it is impossible to tell if or how the work on punctuation worked;  it was only one of the strategies we tried.

I would like to invite you to post a comment on this thought, saying how you have linked punctuation with reading and/or committing yourself to trying it out with your learners and then getting back with some further evidence.

Ivanic, R (1996) Linguistics and non-standard punctuation, in Hall, N. and Robinson, A., eds. Learning about Punctuation,  Portsmouth, NH, Heinemann.

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