Could not retrieve telephone-number, Could not retrieve telephone-number, Welcome to the discussion area of the Dyslexia Positive website. The idea is that anyone interested in dyslexia can join in a discussion based on themes initiated by a member of the Dyslexia Positive team. Please participate by commenting on the articles and feel free to ask any questions!
Showing posts with label reading speed. Show all posts

Posted 6th March, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Could not retrieve telephone-number, Could not retrieve telephone-number,

Back in 2012, did a dyslexia assessment on a young man who I shall call John.  John was in his second year of sixth form and applying to university to study history. John’s exam grades the previous year were below his predicted ones. As a result of the assessment, John had extra time in his module exams (and subsequenctly went to university!).

John’s reading profile is interesting.  He came out above average for word recognition and comprehension (using WIAT-II-UK-T) but his reading speed of 127 words per minute (wpm) is below average for his age.  His scores in CTOPP were all average, as was his reading of non-words (TOWRE-2).  I concluded that he did not have any significant problems with phonological processing, though he did show some signs of challenge with focus and attention (his speed of writing was also adversely affected by having to think abut what to write, rather than because of any difficulty with manual dexterity).

What was also notable was that John invariably chose to read aloud (to the annoyance of some of his classmates).  I was intrigued about why he had got into this habit and volunteered a few hours of support during half term to look into this more.

Between the feedback on the assessment and our support session, John actually decided to go for reading silently and was happy with the result! Issue sorted? Maybe yes, maybe no.  I carried on.

I decided to use an experimental method with a pre-test, post-test format, even with just 3 hours of intervention between.  Using  passages deemed to be A level standard (one from Klein 2003 and one of my own devising, measured to be of similar readability), John  read at 153 wpm – already an improvement from reading silently – but his comprehension and recall was limited (I predicted this might be a spin off of not getting the auditory feedback loop to hold attention).

In the post-test, three hours later John achieved a reading speed of 182 wpm,and his recall covered a wider range of the passage… so what did I do in between?  What would you have done?  Press “read more” after you have had a think!
Continue reading this article… »

To receive an email when a new article is published, enter your email address:

NB: you should receive an email asking you to confirm whether you want to subscribe.

Posted 11th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Could not retrieve telephone-number, Could not retrieve telephone-number,
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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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.
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]
Leave a comment or ask a question »

Posted 6th January, 2017 by Sue Partridge

Could not retrieve telephone-number, Could not retrieve telephone-number,

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.

2 Comments so far: leave a comment or ask a question »

Julie Baister

Posted 21st January, 2011 by Julie Baister

Could not retrieve telephone-number, Could not retrieve telephone-number,

Recent research at Princeton University suggests that if new information is presented in a font which is harder to read then the extra effort expended in reading the text leads to greater retention of the subject matter. Details of this research can be found at the link below:

These research findings contradict the widely held view that easy to read fonts assist dyslexic learners both with speed of reading and comprehension. Ariel and Verdana fonts are generally adopted as dyslexia friendly options but in this research Haettenschweiler, Monotype Corsiva and Comic Sans Italicized were used.

The Princeton researchers acknowledge that if the texts are too difficult to read then this may discourage some learners from continuing to read the information. Interestingly they also suggest  that the adoption of harder to read fonts would be a cost effective means of raising attainment!

I am sure this research will arouse strong opinions amongst fellow dyslexia practitioners.  Please use our discussion area to share your views.

3 Comments so far: leave a comment or ask a question »