van Viersen, Protopapas & de Jong (2022): Word- and Text-Level Processes Contributing to Fluent Reading of Word Lists and Sentences
In this study, we investigated how word- and text-level processes contribute to different types of reading fluency measures. We aimed to increase our understanding of the underlying processes necessary for fluent reading. The sample included 73 Dutch Grade 3 children, who were assessed on serial word reading rate (familiar words), word-list reading fluency (increasingly difficult words), and sentence reading fluency. Word-level processes were individual word recognition speed (discrete word reading) and sequential processing efficiency (serial digit naming). Text-level processes were receptive vocabulary and syntactic skills. The results showed that word- and text-level processes combined accounted for a comparable amount of variance in all fluency outcomes. Both word-level processes were moderate predictors of all fluency outcomes. However, vocabulary only moderately predicted sentence reading fluency, and syntactic skills merely contributed to sentence reading fluency indirectly through vocabulary. The findings indicate that sequential processing efficiency has a crucial role in reading fluency across various measures besides individual word recognition speed. Additionally, text-level processes come into play when complexity and context availability of fluency measures increases, but the exact timing requires further study. Findings are discussed in terms of future directions and their possible value for diagnostic assessment and intervention of reading difficulties.