Reading Rate Acceleration: Developmental Aspects

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The relationships between reading rate, decoding, and comprehension during consecutive stages of reading acquisition were examined in this longitudinal study. Participants were followed throughout their first 5 years of elementary school. Substantial gains in comprehension and decoding accuracy were obtained for all 5 grade levels during reading acceleration. This effect was particularly pronounced among poor readers. Reading acceleration may enhance reading performance by promoting a more effective use of cognitive resources. Further analyses revealed 2 stages in the development of the 3 reading subskills. In the first stage (Grades 1 to 3), performance in each subskill was directly related to improvements in that same subskill, whereas in the second stage (Grades 4 to 5), reading rate became a determining factor in reading performance. Second-grade reading rate was the best predictor of reading performance in Grades 4 and 5. This finding indicates that reading rate may play a critical role in the successful acquisition of reading skills. Reading rate could be a useful diagnostic aid, and accelerating reading rate might serve as a remedial tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-441
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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