Increasing First Graders' Reading Accuracy and Comprehension by Accelerating Their Reading Rates

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I carried out four experiments to determine the effects on decoding mistakes and comprehension of test passages at fastest and slowest reading rates. The subjects of the first three studies were 161 Israeli first graders, and those of the last experiment were 61 American first graders reading English. Analysis of reading rates obtained during a self-paced condition provided the base rates for each subject. I hypothesized that because of the constraints of short-term memory, requiring subjects to maintain their own maximal oral reading rates would result in improvements in both reading accuracy and comprehension. When presented with the text at their maximal normal reading rates, subjects averaged fewer reading errors and higher comprehension scores than in the self-paced conditions. By contrast, when the text was presented at the slowest reading rates, subjects' decoding accuracy improved, but their comprehension decreased significantly. In one of the experiments, the text contained deliberate letter-substitution errors. Increased reading rate once more reduced the overall errors and increased comprehension. In addition, the deliberate mistakes were more frequently corrected to normal words than in the self-paced condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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