Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The purpose of this study was to investigate what happens to the fluency of struggling readers when the decoding of new or unfamiliar words were taught during small group reading instruction.

Three females and two male first and second grade students provided usable data for this study. Research was.collected over a three-month period and was taken during small reading groups. The elements of fluency that were addressed in the study were expression, accuracy, rate, and smoothness. Components that were used to increase fluency were the Dolch sight words, rereading, and word study. The students were tested three different times throughout the study on the Dolch sight words and on their reading rate with the rereading of four different books. The results indicated that these three measures combined created fluent readers in the small reading groups.

An analysis on the reading rate was done for every student on four different books of their choice at their own reading level. Students were timed on the reading three different times and the time it took was converted into a reading rate. The reading rate was calculated by the number of words read correctly divided by the number of seconds it took to read multiplied by 60. The results indicated that rereading books in the small reading groups increased fluency with each student. These results supported the idea that readers get better with practice and improve in their accuracy and speed.

An analysis of the Dolch sight words was taken below and on grade level for each student. The number of correct words was recorded and students practiced with unknown words throughout the research period. Results indicated that drill and practice and multisensory approaches to sight words increased the number of words learned and known automatically.

The word study approach was a supplemental activity used in guided reading to help students recognize common features in words. Students were taught word families, digraphs, blends, and beginning consonants. Based on observations, students applied the knowledge of these learned words to their reading, which helped them to become fluent readers.