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26 Sep 2019

Patterns of Silent Reading Rate and Comprehension as a Function of Developmental Status, Genre, and Text Position

Emily Hayden, Iowa State University
Elfrieda H. Hiebert, TextProject
Guy Trainin, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Journal Article
Submitted for Publication

Hayden, E., Hiebert, E.H., & Trainin, G., (in press). Patterns of Silent Reading Rate and Comprehension as a Function of Developmental Status, Genre, and Text Position. Reading Psychology.


This study examines how comprehension and rate in silent reading—the construct of comprehension-based silent reading rate (CBSRR; Spichtig et al., 2016)—are affected by grade, genre, and text position. Each of 63 second graders and 52 fourth graders read 2 grade-specific passages (one narrative, one informational) in four sections, each followed by 4 comprehension questions. Only the main effect of Grade for comprehension was not significant. All other main effects showed moderate or small differences with higher performances by fourth graders, higher performances on informational than narrative texts, and better performances as students moved through sections of a text. Percentages of students attaining CBSRR decreased across the four sections of both genres and at both grade levels. Students’ rates of reading with comprehension were somewhat faster than oral reading norms. For students persisting in the task, silent reading rates were at or above Spichtig et al.’s norms. Implications of findings are discussed, as are questions that arose about text complexity and silent reading patterns.