Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Pamela Ross, PhD; Barbara Moss, PhD; Maria Luiza Dantas, PhD


automatic processes, children & youth, controlled-vocabulary texts, education, elementry schools, English language learners, instruction interventions, language acquisition, qualitative, quantitative, reading development, repeated reading, text-reading fluency


For the large population of school-age English language learners in California and the United States, the challenge of learning a second language while learning academic content is formidable. Learning to read English skillfully is key to their success. Reading instruction focused on development of oral text-reading fluency has shown strong potential for accelerating the general reading achievement of native-English-speaking children, but there is a lack of concomitant research on English language learners. This dissertation describes a formative experiment with the goal to improve, in 9 weeks, the general reading achievement of 17 English language learners in Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6. These students were are at the Intermediate level of English development and lagged behind their native-English-speaking peers in reading. A formative experiment is basically descriptive in nature and utilizes both quantitative and qualitative study methods. The instructional intervention for this study was based on theories of language acquisition, reading development, and automatic processes of reading that underlie fluent reading. The intervention combined two types of repeated reading instruction: (a) silent repeated reading of controlled-vocabulary texts, with comprehension checks, and (b) repeated oral reading for performance, with explicit instruction about oral text-reading fluency. Instruction was altered as necessary, based on formative data, to meet the pedagogical goal. The students' pre- and postintervention performances on reading-fluency indicators, including standardized measures, are compared and a detailed narrative of the experiment reported. The pedagogical goal, improved reading fluency with comprehension, was realized for most of the students on at least one instrument. On the standardized reading-fluency measures, increases in reading accuracy offset decreases in reading rate for many students, an unexpected finding, while comprehension of unfamiliar passages improved. Most students improved on at least two of four measures of prosodic reading, with the exception of third graders.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access