Comparisons Between Oral and Silent Reading in Developing Readers
Walsh, Caitlin Brianna
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The developmental reading achievements necessary for fluency require a reader who is quick, accurate, and automatic. For beginning readers assessment is done via oral reading tests. As readers progress through their education, they gradually transition to silent reading. Up to this point, many have assumed that silent reading skill develops naturally out of oral reading skill. This paper investigated the connections between oral and silent reading skill as well as general characteristics of oral and silent reading in second grade readers. As readers increased in skill level, their scores across all variables improved. Yet high and low skill readers at times approached the text in much different ways. In silent reading, low skill readers proceeded through the passage in a very unsystematic manner, suggesting that the processing demands of silent reading eroded their ability to read efficiently. For oral reading, we found that readers with higher skill utilized punctuation to not only read more expressively, but to also decrease their processing demands by utilizing natural breaks to gather ideas. This study provided a comprehensive basis for the differences in oral and silent reading behavior as skill level increased.