Separating Speed From Accuracy in Beginning Reading Development

Journal of Educational Psychology, American Psychological Association (APA), ISSN 0022-0663

Volume 106, 4, 2014

DOI:10.1037/a0037100, Dimensions: pub.1022666177,



  1. (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU






Phoneme awareness, letter knowledge, and rapid automatized naming (RAN) are well-known kindergarten predictors of later word recognition skills, but it is not clear whether they predict developments in accuracy or speed, or both. The present longitudinal study of 172 Danish beginning readers found that speed of word recognition mainly developed after a student had reached an accuracy level of 70% correct. Hence, the number of days a child took to achieve this 70% accuracy level (the basic accuracy achievement time [BAAT]) was a measure of specific differences in accuracy development. Phoneme awareness was the strongest predictor of this measure, but RAN also contributed unique variance. Because word recognition speed may depend on the amount of time a student has been able to read with basic accuracy, the BAAT measure was used as a control in the prediction of word recognition speed (at the end of Grade 2). With this control, RAN was the only significant predictor of speed. The different predictive patterns suggest that it is important to distinguish between accuracy and speed when comparing the strength of predictors, both within and across orthographies. A practical implication is that teachers should focus on the development of basic accuracy before speed.

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Research area: Humanities

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2014: Level 1

Research area: Humanities

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Times Cited: 30

Field Citation Ratio (FCR): 6.37