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Developing oral reading fluency among Hispanic high school English-language learners: An intervention using speech recognition software

, University of North Texas, United States

University of North Texas . Awarded


This study investigated oral reading fluency development among Hispanic high school English-language learners. Participants included 11 males and 9 females from first-year, second-year, and third-year English language arts classes. The pre-post experimental study, which was conducted during a four-week ESL summer program, included a treatment and a control group. The treatment group received a combination of components, including modified repeated reading with self-voice listening and oral dictation output from a speech recognition program. Each day, students performed a series of tasks, including dictation of part of the previous day’s passage; listening to and silently reading a new passage; dictating and correcting individual sentences from the new passage in the speech recognition environment; dictating the new passage as a whole without making corrections; and finally, listening to their own voice from their recorded dictation. This sequence was repeated in the subsequent sessions. Thus, this intervention was a technology-enhanced variation of repeated reading with a pronunciation dictation segment.

Research questions focused on improvements in oral reading accuracy and rate, facility with the application, student perceptions toward the technology for reading, and the reliability of the speech recognition program. The treatment group improved oral reading accuracy by 50%, retained and transferred pronunciation of 55% of new vocabulary, and increased oral reading rate 16 words-correct-per-minute. Students used the intervention independently after three sessions. This independence may have contributed to students’ self-efficacy as they perceived improvements in their pronunciation, reading in general, and reported an increased liking of school. Students initially had a very positive perception toward using the technology for reading, but this perception decreased over the four weeks from 2.7 to 2.4 on a 3 point scale. The speech recognition program was reliable 94% of the time. The combination of the summer school program and intervention component stacking supported students’ gains in oral reading fluency, suggesting that further study into applications of the intervention is warranted.

Acceleration of oral reading skills and vocabulary acquisition for ELLs contributes to closing the reading gap between ELLs and native-English speakers. Fluent oral reading is strongly correlated with reading comprehension, and reading comprehension is essential for ELLs to be successful in school. Literacy support tools such as this intervention can play a role in ameliorating English acquisition faster than the rate attained through traditional practices.


Ruffu, R. Developing oral reading fluency among Hispanic high school English-language learners: An intervention using speech recognition software. Ph.D. thesis, University of North Texas. Retrieved May 23, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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