- The recently released 2018 NAEP Oral Reading Fluency Study, the first since 2002, finds National Assessment of Educational Progress reading assessment performance is closely related to oral reading fluency, as well as word and pseudoword reading. The study analyzed results from 1,800 4th-graders from 180 public schools.
- Scores ranged from NAEP Advanced to NAEP Basic, and those performing "below NAEP Basic" were for the first time separated into subgroups of High, Medium and Low. The study found noticeable differences in the "below NAEP Basic" subgroups for all aspects of reading, including oral fluency, recognizing familiar words and decoding unfamiliar ones.
- The 4th-graders in the "below NAEP Basic" subgroups struggled to read connected text like paragraphs and passages. Of those scoring below NAEP Basic, 51% were Black, 46% were Hispanic and 27% were White.
Reading aloud helps younger students develop literacy, as well as an interest in books. Research led by Elizabeth Kelley of the University of Missouri School of Health Professions found interactive, pre-recorded books improve the vocabulary of at-risk preschoolers. Kelley created an intervention program using audio technology to track how students learned words. The students listened to recordings while following along in a book embedded with vocabulary lessons, and results show the program helped all students, not just those struggling.
In an Edutopia article, veteran teacher Christie Rodgers wrote that reading aloud fosters a love of books, strengthening literacy. When adults read aloud to students, they model the skills students can use to develop their own mastery. Rodgers suggests letting students nominate books to help build buy-in and interest. Lessons on hardships and struggles can also be incorporated into reading-aloud time through book selections.
Research, including a long-term study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, suggests being able to read at grade-level by the end of 3rd grade is a strong predictor of future academic success. The Casey Foundation study found students who hadn't achieved reading proficiency by 3rd grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school.
School closures due to the coronavirus pandemic also stalled reading development among the youngest learners, according to research from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. A nationwide reading assessment of students in grades 1-4 showed reading fluency development stalled in the spring of 2020, and though gains made in the fall were steeper than normal, they did not make up for the gap. The reading fluency of 2nd- and 3rd-graders was most affected.