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Off to a Slow Start: Four Profiles of Slow Readers in Second Grade

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Assessments of oral reading rate in words correct per minute (WCPM) have proliferated in elementary classrooms. This study explores the similarities and differences among students at the end of second grade who demonstrate low WCPM. Using latent profile analysis, readers with low WCPM compared to peers were identified (n = 2,191) from a state-wide assessment database and grouped into four statistically significant profiles based on their reading accuracy, rate, prosody, and comprehension scores. Students in Profile 1 demonstrated relatively high skills across the board, compared to the other “slow readers”; students in Profile 2 demonstrated high accuracy paired with low rate; students in Profile 3 demonstrated low accuracy paired with comparatively high rate; and students in Profile 4 demonstrated low scores across the board. The students who struggled with accuracy (Profiles 3 and 4) also demonstrated more difficulty with comprehension, word recognition, and spelling. The students who struggled most with rate (Profiles 2 and 4) demonstrated more difficulty with prosody. Profile membership predicted students’ scores on a state standardized test of reading one year later, at the end of third grade. These findings suggest that low WCPM can indicate a range of underlying skill difficulties, which may require differentiated support and instruction to support long-term reading proficiency.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Publication date: October 3, 2018

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