School Psychology Review

Pathways to Word Reading and Decoding: The Roles of Automaticity and Accuracy

Kelli D. Cummings, Elizabeth N. Dewey, Rachel J. Latimer, and Rolland H. Good III

pp. 284-295

Special Topic: Assessing and Preventing Behavior Difficulties

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Abstract: The purpose of this article is to describe the relationship of initial skill and rate of progress on a measure of the alphabetic principle, Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF), to first-grade reading outcomes as measured by Oral Reading Fluency (ORF). In addition, we describe a scoring approach to NWF where the predominant decoding strategy (i.e., sound-by-sound, recoding, partial blending, or whole word reading) is also recorded. This study replicates two findings from prior research. First, we found that the effect of NWF gain on ORF outcomes was attenuated for students scoring well above the criterion on NWF. In addition, after controlling for both NWF initial skill and progress over the year, decoding strategy added explanatory value to the prediction of end of first grade ORF outcomes. Recommendations for future research and implications for practice are discussed.