Tag Archives: Samuels

Repeated Reading: Trusted Sources


What do you see?  paradox  Half full?  Half empty?

We’ve been using repeated readings in instruction and intervention for awhile.  Do we remember why?  Do we remember the purpose?

A Standard, Trusted Source:  What Works Clearinghouse

Repeated reading was found to have potentially positive effects on reading comprehension and no discernible effects on alphabetics, reading fluency, and general reading achievement for students with learning disabilities.” Repeated reading was found to have potentially positive effects on reading comprehension and no discernible effects on alphabetics, reading fluency, and general reading achievement for students with learning disabilities.

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What did I miss?  The title was

“Repeated Reading

Students with a Specific Learning Disability” (color emphasis is mine)


But nothing for K-4 . . . just noting that detail.

So with a re-check . . . I find:

“Repeated reading is an academic practice that aims to increase oral reading fluency. Repeated reading can be used with students who have developed initial word reading skills but demonstrate inadequate reading fluency for their grade level. During repeated reading, a student sits in a quiet location with a teacher and reads a passage aloud at least three times. Typically, the teacher selects a passage of about 50 to 200 words in length. If the student misreads a word or hesitates for longer than 5 seconds, the teacher reads the word aloud, and the student repeats the word correctly. If the student requests help with a word, the teacher reads the word aloud or provides the definition. The student rereads the passage until he or she achieves a satisfactory fluency level.”

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Checking the results . . . again for comprehension . . . two studies . . . grades 5-12.

Note:  NO Effectiveness Rating for Reading Fluency

(Note video available:  Using the WWC to Find Strong or Moderate Evidence – link)

209 Resources listed that are clickable to tell you what the results are. Link

A Second Source:  Visible Learning in Literacy  by Fisher, Frey and Hattie

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An effect size of 0.67 is an important one.  It has a strong potential to lead to accelerated growth for students matching those in the studies. Further digging into the actual studies to determine procedures, grade levels, instructional routines, etc. are warranted.

And yet . . . Cautionary Tale . . . . Surface Learning – Constrained Skills (Chapter 2 Link)

So how can TWO different reputable sources have different results?

  1. Their metrics are different.
  2. Their requirements for inclusion as studies are different.
  3. The years are different (2009, 2014)
  4. Maybe the grade levels are different?
  5. Maybe the students/classrooms are different?


I headed to Google Scholar, not The Google, and found “2,560,000 results”.  And here was the first page of results with 2,850 citations used from these 4 sources.

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Rasinski, Torgeson, Samuels, Dowhower . . . No surprises in the authors. All credible.

Publications:  Journal of Educational Research, Reading Research Quarterly (2) and The Reading Teacher  . . . All credible.

1990, 1985, 1979, 1987 . . . hmmm . . . 30 years and more . . .

What is your response at this time?  Stop for a second and reflect.

By changing the search parameters to 2015, the number of studies dropped to 133,000 results. Less than 5 years. Out of curiosity, I tried 2019 where there were still 18,400 results.

Screenshot 2019-04-09 at 1.53.21 PM


No known authors.

No known journals.

And . . .


Article 1 – Executive Functioning.

I did a search in the article. “Repeated reading” was NOT in the article (note the bolded words in the entry above). It was about testing kids and following them in Reading, Math, and Science to predict how they would do in school. (over-generalized, over-simplified summary)

Article 2 – location of study not listed in the abstract but principal author from Granada

Article 3 – study funded by German and Austria sources (location not listed in abstract)

Article 4 – location of study was Malaysia

My current summary:  Changes include different researchers, different countries where the research is taking place so it isn’t all in English (linguistic and orthographic implications) and it isn’t being published in the standard literacy journals.

Puzzled, confused . . . and a wee bit frustrated.

Previous posts that are applicable include:

Quality Matters

Due Diligence

Thinking Teachers are required.  There is no “one size fits all” in education.

Thinking . . .

Thinking . . . 

Thinking . . .

Who do we trust?

  1. What does your own data tell you?  For which students has repeated reading been successful?  For which students has it not been a success?  At what grade levels?  When possible can you study your own data across multiple years?
  2. What is the focus of your instruction?  Is it similar across multiple classrooms?  Multiple grades?
  3. What is the focus of your intervention?  How well is it aligned with core instruction?
  4. What is the student actually “doing” during this repeated reading? Is the “work” actually capitalizing on the amount of words the student reads daily?  Or is the student actually reading “less” than peers?
  5. What are your sources of information?  Is there an over reliance on one data source?  Do you have data from multiple sources that informs decisions and supports the work that you are doing?
  6. Is it time for diagnosis?  Is some intensive assessment in a specific area warranted?
  7. When it (whatever you are reading) sounds too good to be true, apply Nell Duke’s ideas.  Ask yourself:  “What is the goal of an author for those sources? Knowledge base? What is the type of information presented?”  Is it just an opinion?
  8. And as I write this, I am reminded of our studies of the SBRR – Scientifically Based Reading Research –  for Reading First.  It was not uncommon for the research to be conducted at grade levels “other than” those recommended for use.

More Research Needed!

Life-long learners required!



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