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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Precision Reading: A Practical and Effective Approach to Remedial Reading with Below Average Readers in Senior High School

Rick Freeze.

Twelve male and nine female (n=21) Francophone Grade 9 students, receiving resource program support for their inclusive high school programs, participated in a Precision Reading intervention.
Precision Reading is a five minute, daily reading intervention designed to improve reading enjoyment and fluency, as well as word knowledge and passage comprehension. The method applies the ideals of normalization and accessibility to remedial reading and can be used with a wide spectrum of students, including students with low achievement, learning disabilities, and cognitive disabilities, at any grade level.

Normalization and accessibilty were achieved in three ways. First, by reformating passages drawn from curricular materials used by all students in the regular classroom in areas such as Social Studies, Science, and the Languages. In this study, reformating included: (a) enlarged font, (b) increased spacing between, words, lines, and margins, (c) simplified sentence structure (compound and complex sentences reduced to simple sentences without changing content vocabulary), and (d) increased paragraphing. Second, the students read the reformated passages every day for one minute, using a repeated reading strategy, every school day for 7 to 10 days with the goal of achieving reading automaticity for grade level curricular materials. Third, mispronounced and unknown words were taught using a word practice strategy designed to improve word recognition and word comprehension, as well as move new words into long term memory.
Using a simplified precision teaching strategy, the students' daily achievements were graphed as a motivational tool and a record keeping system.

Pre-test to post-test, there was a statistically significant (p < .01) increase in the number of words read and and a statistically significant reduction in errors (p < .01)., indicating improved fluency. On average, students went from 125.7 words per minute with 6.5 errors to 179.9 words per minute with 0.1 errors. A comparison of pre and post test scores on the Test de Rendement pour Francophones showed a growth in word knowledge from a mean grade equivalency of 8.0 to 9.8, signifying recovery to grade level. Comprehension probes in the areas of main idea, sequence of events, and recall of details indicated mastery levels of 81%, 83%, and 79% respectively on grade level curricular materials in science and social studies. In exit interviews, the students indicated that, as a result of Precision Reading, they (a) read more often, (b) knew more words, (c) read more smoothly and quickly, (d) made fewer errors, and (e) understood and remembered what they had read better. All students but one liked doing Precision Reading and most said they now liked reading in general.


Rick Freeze  (Canada)
Faculty of Education
University of Manitoba

Dr. Rick Freeze, B.A., B.Ed., M.A., Ph.D. is a professor of inclusive special education at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba. Rick's research interests include Precision Reading, consultation and collaboration in special education resource programs, student self-determination, and school to work and adult life transition planning. More about Rick and Precision reading can be found at

  • Precision Teaching
  • Repeated Reading
  • Remedial Reading
  • Reading

(Virtual Presentation, English)