The Benefits of Repeated Reading – Discussion

In total, fourteen studies examining repeated reading (RR) and its effect on different populations of students were reviewed. Most of the articles suggest that RR helps enhance the reading capabilities of students with disabilities. Results of interventions examining non-disabled students suggest a significant improvement in metrics such as reading speed, accuracy, and comprehension. This paper aims to discuss the fourteen RR publications, their implications, and limitations to evaluate the gap in the existing RR research.

Evidence of RR’s Effectiveness

Students experiencing difficulties with reading comprehension can benefit from RR. Out of the fourteen studies, researchers by Sukhram and Ellen Monda-Amaya (2017), Therrien, Kirk, and Woods-Groves, (2012), and Vadasy and Sanders (2008) suggest that struggling readers can understand the text better and read it more fluently if they use RR. Eight out of fourteen publications focus on the students failing to achieve the reading accuracy and comprehension rates of their peers. The following researchers examine the population of elementary school students – Vadasy and Sanders (2008), Hawkins, Marsicano, Schmitt, McCallum, Musti-Rao (2015), Korat (2009), and Huemer, Aro, Landerl, and Lyytinen (2010). The authors highlight the improvement of text comprehension and reading accuracy attributed to RR use.

Improving the reading capabilities of adult learners can be more challenging when compared to younger individuals. The students in high school and adults using RR were part of the examination in researches by Hawkins, Hale, Sheeley, and Ling (2011) and Therrien and Hughes (2008), and the evaluation suggests that RR is adequate for these populations as well. These results support the claim that RR is versatile and can be adjusted to the needs of different populations. Non-English speaking students participated in RR studies by Webb and Chang (2012) and Gorsuch and Taguchi (2008), focusing on second language learning. The findings of researchers suggest that RR incorporated into vocabulary learning helps in foreign language learning.

However, some researchers report conflicting results regarding the efficiency of RR for the general population of students, when compared to other reading enhancement methods. For example, Vadasy and Sanders (2008) state that word-level comprehension did not enhance in the examined subjects. Some studies suggest that using methods such as a Re-read-Adapt and Answer-Comprehend (RAAC) and listening-while-leading (LWR) is more productive then RR, which is a literature gap since this review did not find a study comparing and evaluating all of the mentioned methods of reading comprehension improvement.

Individuals with Disabilities

Some RR researchers focused on creating strategies for improving the reading capabilities of students with disabilities. More specifically, Therrien and Hughes (2008) and Hawkins, Hale, Sheeley, and Ling (2011), and Rohlfing, Cuerremans, and Horst (2018) examine learning disabilities, Hua, Hendrickson, Therrien, Woods-Groves, Ries, and Shaw (2012) focus on cognitive disabilities, Escarpio and Barbetta (2016) develop an intervention for emotional and behavioral disorders, and Savaiano and Hatton (2013) evaluate RR for visual impairments. Although the overall outcomes of these studies showcase an improvement of reading fluency and comprehension rates, there are some conflicting results.

For example, in the study by Hua et al. (2012), there are only three participants, and one of them did not improve the reading fluency and accuracy, while Savaiano and Hatton (2013) argue that the RR had an insignificant impact on reading capabilities of the subjects. This evidence suggests that further research into the matter of RR is necessary and that disabilities are a complex issue that affects the learning process of the students. Although there is the research of RR’s application within a population with disabilities, this review reveals that only six out of fourteen studies focus on the needs of these students.

Research Design

The methodology that the researchers of RR apply is important since the goal of reading interventions is in providing students with a tool and help form tutors, which will enable a significant decrease in errors and miscomprehension when reading a paragraph. Most of the articles describe the pre-post-test design, meaning that the students’ reading metrics are recorded at the beginning of RR intervention and once it is completed. Some researchers used a single subject method, which means that no control group is evaluated during the experiment. All of the studies collect evidence during two phases of RR – baseline, and intervention. In general, the methodology used in the examined literature is suitable for research in the domain of education, and the findings support the claim that RR is appropriate for addressing reading issues.


Out of the fourteen studies, only two publications contain social validity statements. Hence, the researchers of twelve studies did not assess the opinion of students regarding the RR and its impact on their reading skills. This is important since the perception of study participants can provide more insight into the sustainability of RR in the long-term and their satisfaction with the design of this method, which is a research gap and primary limitation of the examined studies. Another limitation of the researches is the fact that most of them examine small groups of subjects over short periods. One example is the publication by Therrien and Hughes (2008) where the duration of the intervention is two weeks. Hence, making conclusions about the long-term impact of RR on students’ educational achievement is impossible using the data gathered by researchers.

The limitation of this review is the database size, since only seven resources, including Behavioral Sciences Collection and Teacher Reference Center, were used. The following search terms were examined – repeated reading, reading, students with disabilities, and students at risk and publications from 2008 until 2019 written in English were included. Expanding the number of databases, years of publication, and examining articles in different languages can help improve the understanding of the existing research into RR.

Future Research

It is evident that students with disabilities, such as cognitive, visual, and mental health impairments may experience difficulties when practicing reading fluency and comprehension. The non-verbal communication is essential for them, and due to their conditions, they may be unaware of the meaning that exclamation marks or commas have, which impairs the overall comprehension of the text. Unarguably, the success of these students depends on the educators and their parents and their ability to create a pleasant learning environment, which will help them achieve a sufficient reading comprehension level.

While Public Education councils allow students with disabilities to attend classes with other students, the lack of policy and attention dedicated to helping those students adapt and work on their necessary skills such as reading comprehension remains unaddressed. Examples derived from the study design by Savaiano and Hatton (2013) suggest that these students benefit from personalized sessions with educators, which helps them improve their speed of reading and accuracy of pronunciation. Hence, further research that will help develop classroom interventions targeting reading comprehension skills for students with disabilities is necessary.

Since only six out of fourteen publications focus of the issue of disabilities and RR, with only two publications focusing on learning disabilities, the suggestion for future researchers is to incorporate this themes and design methodologies that will help educators, policymakers, and parents to aid children with learning difficulties and disabilities in improving their reading skills. Arguably, these children need a specific approach that will consider their disability and tailor the RR methodology in accordance with their requirements and educational goals.

This review of the fourteen studies on RR reveals that researchers and educators should focus on developing methods of reading improvement for children with disabilities. The long-term studies examining a system-wide approach to addressing reading errors and text understanding are necessary. The outcomes of the researches suggest that these students benefit from interventions conducted in high school rather than in earlier grades, which is another implication for future studies. Incorporating varied approaches, such as proving above-grade-level passages or working on different texts instead of focusing on only one paragraph, can be beneficial. Developing interventions using these methods can help create a better intervention for students with reading difficulties.


The fourteen scholarly articles on using RR for improving reading comprehension within different populations suggest that this tool is effective. However, a gap in the approach to RR application exists since researchers dedicate little attention to developing and testing methods based on RR for children with disabilities. This is a significant problem since these students require additional attention and help from educators and parents when learning how to read and understand the text.

Since four out of six publications focusing on students with various disabilities using RR have positive outcomes, this approach has the implications for becoming an easy to implement reading improvement strategy for students with mental health problems, visual impairments, cognitive issues, learning difficulties or other disabilities. However, more research examining the RR in the long term with the application of different supporting methods is necessary.


Escarpio, R., & Barbetta, P. M. (2016). Comparison of repeated and non-repeated readings on the reading performances of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 24(2), 111–124. Web.

Gorsuch, G., & Taguchi, E. (2008). Repeated reading for developing reading fluency and reading comprehension: The case of EFL learners in Vietnam. System, 36(2), 253-278. Web.

Hawkins, R., Hale, A., Sheeley, W., & Ling, S. (2011). Repeated reading and vocabulary-previewing interventions to improve fluency and comprehension for struggling high-school readers. Psychology in the Schools, 48(1), 59-77. Web.

Hawkins, R., Marsicano, R., Schmitt, A., McCallum, E., & Musti-Rao, S. (2015). Comparing the efficiency of repeated reading and listening-while-reading to improve fluency and comprehension. Education and Treatment of Children, 38(1), 49–70. Web.

Hua, Y., Hendrickson, J. M., Therrien, W. J., Woods-Groves, S., Ries, P. S., & Shaw, J. J. (2012). Effects of combined reading and question generation on reading fluency and comprehension of three young adults with autism and intellectual disability. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 27(3), 135–146. Web.

Huemer, S., Aro, M., Landerl, K., & Lyytinen, H. (2010). Repeated reading of syllables among Finnish-speaking children with poor reading skills. Scientific Studies of Reading, 14(4), 317-340. Web.

Korat, O. (2009). The effects of CD-ROM storybook reading on Israeli children’s early literacy as a function of age group and repeated reading. Education and Information Technologies, 14, 39-53. Web.

Rohlfing, J., Cuerremans, J., & Horst, J. S. (2018). Benefits of repeated book readings in children with SLI. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 39(2), 367-370.

Savaiano, M. E., & Hatton, D. D. (2013). Using repeated reading to improve reading speed and comprehension in students with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 107(2), 93–106. Web.

Sukhram, D., & Ellen Monda-Amaya, L. (2017). The effects of oral repeated reading with and without corrective feedback on middle school struggling readers. British Journal of Special Education, 44(1), 95-111. Web.

Therrien, W. J., Kirk, J. F., & Woods-Groves, S. (2012). Comparison of a reading fluency intervention with and without passage repetition on reading achievement. Remedial and Special Education, 33(5), 309–319. Web.

Therrien, C., & Hughes, C. (2008). Comparison of repeated reading and question generation on students’ reading fluency and comprehension. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 6(1), 1-16.

Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2008). Benefits of repeated reading intervention for low-achieving fourth- and fifth-grade students. Remedial and Special Education, 29(4), 235–249. Web.

Webb, A., & Chang, A. (2012). Vocabulary learning through assisted and unassisted repeated reading. Canadian Modern Language Review, 68(3), 267-290.