Assisting low-performing readers with a flexible grouping intervention aimed to increase students' oral reading fluency

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Brian K. Martens


Low-performing, Readers, Flexible grouping, Intervention, Oral reading, Fluency

Subject Categories

Behavioral Disciplines and Activities | Education | Educational Psychology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Learning to read is a critical factor for success in our society. Unfortunately, approximately one third of America's students cannot read at a basic level by the fourth grade. Although there are several important components involved in learning to read (e.g., learning the alphabetic principle and comprehension strategies), creating opportunities for students to practice reading in order to build fluency is an equally important component in teaching reading. The purpose of the present study was to integrate several empirically-validated reading interventions into a treatment package that can be used with small groups of children in order to increase their reading fluency. A multiple-baseline design across groups was used and participants included 12 third-grade students divided into two groups from one urban elementary school. Findings suggested that students read more words correct per minute (WCPM) on trained passages, completed maze comprehension passages with higher accuracy and fluency, and were able to read more WCPM on high-word overlap passages as compared to their reading of material encountered in the regular classroom. In addition, students made statistically significant gains over time on non-practiced passages of varying grade levels, word-lists containing both "trained" and non-trained words, and on subtests from a commonly used standardized educational assessment tool. Intervention procedures were also rated as acceptable by both students and educators. Implications for the use of this reading intervention will be discussed, as will limitations to the study and future research directions.