Frequently Asked Questions:
This conclusion has also been misinterpreted to mean that students should not read silently. However, the NRP did not review any research on repeated silent reading of text or even silent reading a single time of multiple texts. Because of the controversy surrounding the NRP’s Yes, conclusions on SSR, several studies have been conducted on scaffolded silent reading. As the label in the title indicates, this form of silent reading involves supports for readers, including guidance from teachers on the texts that are read, periodic teacher monitoring to determine students’ progress and proficiency with the text, and accountability through responses or records of what has been read.
In one of the recent studies, Reutzel, Fawson, and Smith (in press) compared scaffolded silent reading with guided repeated oral reading. Reutzel and his colleagues found no significant differences on third graders’ fluency and comprehension with the two kinds of reading with one exception—a significant difference favoring the scaffolded silent reading group in expression of a single passage. These researchers concluded that scaffolded silent reading represents a companion to guided repeated oral reading for promoting fluency and comprehension.
In a study conducted by S. Jay Samuels (co-chair of the NRP sub-committee on fluency who believed that the Panel’s conclusions about silent reading required bolstering) and Yi-Chen Wu (2004), scaffolded silent reading proved to have a significant effect on students’ word recognition, vocabulary, and comprehension. In particular, poor readers showed significantly greater gains in word recognition and vocabulary than good readers as a result of scaffolded silent reading.
A third study by Kuhn and her colleagues (2006) compared the effects of guided repeated oral reading of a single text for a week with reading of several texts that included some guided repeated oral reading and silent reading (much like the QuickReads instructional procedure). Students in the latter group (called wide reading) had greater text reading fluency compared to control students (and the guided repeated oral reading group with a single text did not). The same pattern of results was found in a subsequent replication.
The combination of guided repeated oral reading and silent reading in the QuickReads instructional routine reflects this solid research base. The inclusion of silent reading also means that students apply their fluency to the silent reading context—the context that characterizes the reading that is most typically done (even in school assessments). The QuickReads routine of guided oral and scaffolded silent reading is research-based and ensures that students are prepared to be fluent in the many silent reading tasks of school and beyond.
These findings lead Vadasy and Sanders (in press) to design and implement another study that focused only on below-grade-level students in fourth and fifth grades. This study, which will soon be published in Remedial and Special Education, showed that below grade-level fourth and fifth graders achieved significantly higher on measures of vocabulary, word comprehension, and passage comprehension than the classroom controls as a result of the QuickReads intervention.
Additional evidence that the QuickReads program supports struggling readers comes from Hiebert (2005). In that study, students in the bottom quartile made substantially higher gains as a result of repeatedly reading QuickReads texts than those who read texts in basal anthologies (a gain of 42 words per minute for the QuickReads group; 17 for the basal anthology group). In another study, Hiebert (2006) reported that 38 percent of the students who had been in the bottom quartile moved into the second quartile as a result of the QuickReads intervention.
In all of these efforts, educators and students worked hard and extensively to support the reading growth of learning disabled students. These research studies show that the goal of meaningful and fluent reading is aided when learning disabled students read from accessible texts such as those in the QuickReads program. For more details on this topic, please see the position paper on QuickReads for Special Education Students.