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TNLI: Action Research: Curriculum Implementation: How Great Is the Correlation between a Second Grade Student’s Fluency Rate and the Ability to Comprehend Text?


Research Summary

Research Question/Definition of Problem
How great is the correlation between a second grade student’s fluency rate and the ability to comprehend text?

Research shows that a student’s ability to read at a fluent level and comprehend what has been read is essential for academic achievement. Standardized testing only gives us a partial picture of a student’s reading skills and abilities. So, I set out to see how helping students to improve their oral fluency when reading would make a difference in their comprehension of text and ultimately in their achievement.

Data Collection Process/Tools

  • Pre and post surveys asking students opinions of their ability to read
  • Fluency norms chart
  • Miscue analysis
  • Comprehension survey of students with follow up questions
  • Comprehension strategy use sheet

The data collected over a period of four months was measured against my students’ performance before and after targeted at specific reading skills that relate to fluency and comprehension.

Data Analysis and Findings
The pre-survey helped both the students and me to become aware of the types of things they did as readers. They did not view reading as involving strategies or as a skill. To them, it was just something they tried to master. Irrespective of the fact that they were not meeting norms, most of my students felt confident they were able to read ‘well’ and ‘fast.’ Many felt their comprehension was ‘good.’

After the mini-lessons, those whose fluency increased also experienced an increase in their comprehension. Those who had minimal increases in their fluency did not gain appreciably in comprehension.

Policy Implications
Conducting this research demonstrated that following the students’ guiding during instruction allows the teacher to modify fluency and comprehension instruction and not rely on the textbook method. This opportunity has heavily influenced the use of differentiated instruction for future classes.

However, in order to succeed in implementing best practices and differentiated instruction strategies, support from the site reading specialist, cohort classroom teachers, parents and the site administer are necessary. Having the reading specialist and classroom teachers validates the effective of the strategies. Support from parents stems from the growth reports of their child based on the implementation of these strategies used to show the correlation between a student’s fluency rate and his or her ability to comprehend text. The administer, once this is understood, can enforce that the universal reading series is used as a reference.


  • Is to return to best practices for fluency and comprehension instruction and not just focus on ‘just passing the test.’ Test taking strategies can be given throughout the year, the goal is equip students to become life long learners.
  • Use the Basal readers as a supplement, not the main material of teaching reading. Allow students to work with literature in its original context. The Basal reader is a good resource and the workbooks are great for at home use.
  • Teachers are to teach reading and comprehension strategies as opposed to teaching components of a reader set for a larger group of children. When teachers are able to continue an introductory stage of a concept students are more apt to return to it.

District level:

  • Allow all schools to have the freedom to implement best practices instead of some schools using the Basal reader as their core reading program. Let the reader become a supplemental material. Allow the students to handle actual literary works to improve their reading comprehension and increase their fluency rate.

Next Steps

  • Encourage principals and literacy departments of school districts to have teacher lead-best practice instruction; immediate instruction (or responsive instruction) given by a teacher based on a students’ reaction to strategies used or information given.
  • Conduct presentations, interview ‘successful’ school districts and devise a comparison chart to support the action research conducted.



Cynthia Brawner

Research Focus:
Reading Comprehension

TNLI Affiliate:

Paderewski Elementary
2221 S. Lawndale
Chicago, IL 60623

If you would like to learn more about Teachers Network Leadership Institute, please e-mail Kimberly Johnson for more information.



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