Improving reading rates and comprehension?
Benefits and limitations of the reading acceleration approach
In: Language and Linguistics Compass,
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3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)
The reading acceleration phenomenon refers to the effect that experimentally induced time constraints can generate instantaneous improvements of reading rate, accuracy and comprehension among typical and reading impaired readers of different age groups. An overview of studies applying the fading manipulation (i.e., letters are erased in reading direction), which induces the time constraints causing the acceleration phenomenon, is provided in the first part of this review. The second part summarises the outcomes of studies using a training approach called the reading acceleration program (RAP) that integrated core principles of the acceleration phenomenon to generate persistent reading performance improvements. Our review shows ample evidence for the validity of the acceleration phenomenon, since it has been replicated across various languages and populations. However, although there are several explanatory approaches for underlying mechanisms, none of them is well substantiated by empirical evidence so far. Similarly, although generally positive effects of RAP training were reported for several languages and groups of readers, the exact mechanisms causing improved reading rates and comprehension are not well understood. Our critical discussion points out several limitations of RAP that call for further research. However, we also highlight several benefits regarding RAP's potential as an intervention approach for enhancements in reading performance. (DIPF/Orig.)
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