Today's educators are in need of tests or rating systems that provide specific and valid feedback to parents, students and programs. This need includes the area of expressive fluent oral reading. One way to address this need is to provide a rating system based on theoretical models that explore how fluency develops. This study explores the dimensions, constructs, or aspects that make up fluency. It also explores whether there is a sequence or order in how fluent oral reading with expression develops and the theoretical reasons for that ordering. This study further addresses whether word recognition or accuracy confounds the ratings of other aspects of fluency. Such issues may affect the reading community's approach to the teaching of fluency in the schools. For, if there is a developmental ordering of constructs that make up fluency, or if it is found that accuracy (word recognition) is separate from fluency, knowledge of such an ordering and separation can influence paradigms of how we as educators view present approaches to the teaching of reading in the classroom, especially in how we build our students' fluent oral reading skills. The researcher developed a rating scale to measure fluent oral reading with expression. He found that there are two dimensions providing the most meaningful interpretation to expressive fluent oral reading: accuracy and fluency. The author provides the rationale and empirical evidence that there is a learning order of subordinate constructs belonging to the fluency dimension. This order, as determined by a many-facets Rasch analysis, is (a) phrasing, (b) smoothness, (c) rate, (d) expression, and (e) confidence. When accuracy is used in the same Rasch analysis, it was found to be easier than phrasing, showing that the method used to select texts easy enough for students was successful. Accuracy was used as a control dimension to assure that fluency constructs could be observed by avoiding confounding the observations of fluent oral reading with word knowledge problems. Each construct consists of at least two descriptors or indicators, totaling 14 indicators in all. Three indicators load together on accuracy, and ten load together on fluency. An indicator designed for fluency, Smoothness 2: No Repeats, also loads on accuracy when included in the factor analysis, but it was found not to be a good indicator of accuracy or fluency. This clarification of number of dimensions and ordering constitutes the beginnings of a domain theory of fluent oral reading with expression (FORE) which provides an empirical description of the developmental sequence of progressive attainments that the average learner achieves on the two primary dimensions.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





fluency, constructs, measurement, fluent oral reading with expression