Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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EFL Reading Fluency Development and Its Effects

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posted on 2021-11-12, 09:33 authored by Tran, Yen Thi Ngoc

Speed reading courses have been considered an effective method to improve learners' reading rate. Research in this area has concentrated on the effect of a speed reading course on students' speed improvement, but not on how to structure the course or the effects of speed improvement on other aspects of language and other types of reading. This thesis, in the first place, deals with the issue of scheduling a speed reading course, in terms of lesson frequency and course length, to achieve the best effect. The thesis also seeks to determine if speed development in the course leads to rate improvement in reading texts outside the course. Finally, the thesis looks at the effects of speed improvement on oral reading rate, language accuracy and language complexity. In the first of two experiments, a speed reading course was delivered to the four experimental groups, who followed the course on different scheduling. Four scoring methods were used to measure the participants' speed improvement and it was found that one group made smaller increases than the others in all scoring methods. A pre-test and a post-test for reading other types of texts were administered and the speeds on these texts by the four treatment groups were compared with those by the control group. The results demonstrated that all but one group from the treatment category outperformed the control group. The second experiment was both a replication of the first experiment in order to confirm the reliability of the first experiment's results and an expansion from the first experiment to explore other issues. It involved two control groups, one of which followed the usual English program at the university and two treatment groups, one of which received consultation sessions during the treatment. The results on speed increases within the speed reading course corroborate the findings in the first experiment. Reading rate transfer from the speed reading course to other texts was significant (p<.001). Comparisons within the treatment groups and within the control groups demonstrated that the usual English program did not noticeably affect the speed increase transfer to other texts, oral reading fluency improvement, or language memory span development, but the consultation sessions substantially affected speed improvement in the course and speed improvement on other types of texts. With respect to oral reading rate the experiment found that the difference between the control groups and the treatment groups was statistically significant (p<.05). The relationships between reading fluency, language accuracy, and language complexity were also explored by looking at the comprehension scores and memory span results. It was found that reading fluency improvement does not necessarily negatively affect comprehension. It, however, does not assist language accuracy development to a remarkable degree. More importantly, the experiment showed that the treatment groups considerably expanded their memory span, which implies that reading speed improvement facilitates language complexity. High correlations between speed increases in the speed reading course, reading rate improvement in other types of texts and memory span development were also found.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Applied Linguistics

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies


Nation, Paul