Arabic Reading Fluency Rates: An Exploratory Study
Reading fluency has been defined as the process of automatically associating graphemic and phonetic information in a text with minimal conscious attention if any at all. Research has found that the effect of fluency on reading proficiency is of importance to student learning and that increasing oral reading fluency (ORF) rates has been correlated in several studies to improved comprehension. However, no reading fluency rates (FR) or standards in Arabic have been established to date. This exploratory study begins to examine Arabic language ORF and proposes an initial Arabic reading fluency scale. Thirty-five teachers from six private bilingual schools across three Arabian Gulf countries (KSA, the UAE, and Kuwait), administered ORF tests that comprised of authentic, vowelized, and leveled Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) connected texts on 1003 students in Grades 1–6 in Fall and Spring of the same academic year. Results of independent samples t-test revealed changes in reading fluency between Fall and Spring. Furthermore, the range of FR for these initial data within each grade level was significant. Results obtained, however, appeared to be lower than several of the international ORF charts used for English and Arabic languages. Girls outperformed boys in Grades 1–3, while boys outperformed girls in Grades 4–6. The study has several limitations and several likely implications that extend to languages other than Arabic possibly including the potential importance of extended reading practice and early exposure to text.
Arabic language teaching and learning, Automaticity, Early reading skills, Literacy, Oral reading fluency
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