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J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2015;37(9):972-80. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2015.1072498.

Silent reading fluency: Implications for the assessment of adults with developmental dyslexia.

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a Division of Child Neurology and Psychiatry , University of Messina , Messina , Italy.



Understanding silent reading fluency (SRF) is of a paramount importance, given that silent reading is the principal manner of reading for capable readers. But the assessment of SRF is not commonly useful for identifying students with reading difficulties and monitoring their progress. The paper presents the SRF scores of adults with dyslexia compared to SRF scores of skilled readers and discusses the power of the SRF measure in identifying adults with specific learning disorders with impairment in reading.


Participants recruited were 68 dyslexic and age-matched skilled adult readers (18-48 years old). Among them, 24 were skilled readers with a university degree (GRS), 22 were skilled readers with a high school diploma (DSR), and 22 participants had been diagnosed with dyslexia (DR). We used a standardized oral reading fluency (ORF) test and an original SRF task to measure the reading fluency.


All participants increased their reading fluency in silent mode (p < .001). Nonetheless, the average speed of the oral reading was 7.19 syllables per second (syl/s) for the GSR group, 7.11 syl/s for the DSR group, and 4.95 syl/s for the DR group. The average speed of the silent reading was 11.62 syl/s and 10.75 syl/s for GSR and DSR, respectively, and 6.15 syl/s for DR. The reading fluency differential (Δf) between ORF and SRF was significantly different among the dyslexic participants and the other two groups.


Our results strongly suggest that dyslexic readers are less capable of significantly improve their reading speed when they read silently. Thus SRF could be considered a suitable parameter for identifying older students and adults with impairment in reading. A broader investigation of the issues surrounding silent reading is needed.


Dyslexia; Fluency; Reading assessment; Silent reading; Silent reading tasks

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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