Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Clare Waterman Irwin

Second Advisor

Kyle D Cook


This doctoral dissertation examined the relationship between automaticity and oral reading comprehension in English Learners (ELs) by comparing outcomes with non-English Learners. High fluency rate, or automaticity, is often used as a predictor of reading comprehension in students. Much of the prior research conducted on the relationship between reading rates and oral reading comprehension involved monolingual populations. Few studies have investigated this correlation among EL populations. In this present study, secondary assessment data were retrieved for third-grade students (N = 1,583) across 13 public schools within a single diverse school district in southern Colorado during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. The school district includes 20.8% EL students. The researcher chose this approach as most appropriate to examine the relationship between oral reading rate and reading comprehension in ELs and non-English learners. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Oral Reading Fluency (DORF) was utilized as the measure for assessing third-grade reading fluency (word-level decoding and accuracy) and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) was used as the measure for assessing third-grade reading comprehension in language arts. Results indicated that ELs who read at a high automatic rate still scored significantly lower on reading comprehension than non-English learners who read at the same rate. Future research should consider conducting additional studies that analyze EL comprehension levels within the context of automaticity.

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