The present study examines the contributions of several different cognitive and literacy skills to reading fluency in Hebrew among Grade 1 students. The main objective of the study was to examine what predicts word reading fluency at two crucial points during Grade 1: mid-year, before a multi-tiered intervention, and again 12 weeks later at the end of the year, after the intervention. A total of 47 first graders in Israel were assessed on cognitive and literacy tasks before and after an implementation of intervention.
Our preliminary results demonstrate that in Hebrew orthography, there is a rapid growth in word reading fluency during Grade 1. One skill, syllable deletion, predicts reading fluency by the middle of Grade 1. By the end of Grade 1, two skills predict word reading fluency: RAN (Rapid Automatized Naming) and syllable deletion. The results call attention to the pedagogical need to monitor this skill in Hebrew and emphasize the need to include fluency theoretically in models of reading as well as in related practice of early reading development in Hebrew orthography.
In this chapter, we suggest a preliminary model of the development of early reading fluency in first grade Hebrew speaking children. The case of Hebrew as a transparent orthography is interesting in order to understand the processes that are involved at the very beginning of reading acquisition. The results demonstrated that in Hebrew orthography, there is a rapid growth in word reading fluency during the first grade. Syllable deletion predicts word reading fluency at the middle of first grade. By the end of first grade, two skills predict word reading fluency: RAN and syllable deletion. Our study is one of the first longitudinal studies of the Hebrew orthography in the first grade that examined word reading fluency. As in other transparent orthographies, we found that first grade literacy skills developed rapidly for most children. The transition from reading accuracy to reading fluency in Hebrew, is especially rapid due to the transparent nature of the orthography at that stage, and occurs not towards the end of second grade but has its first indicators by mid first grade, with a rapid growth from the middle to end of the first grade.
The current study examined the development of word reading fluency at two points in the first grade. The study demonstrated that word fluency in this grade changes rapidly and as such, needs close monitoring developmentally. Our study demonstrated that one variable, syllable deletion, by the middle of first grade, explained 44% of word reading fluency. By the end of first grade, two variables, RAN and syllable deletion, explained 44 % of word reading fluency. The change in reading fluency from the middle to the end of the year in first grade, as was observed by the t -test comparison, calls attention to the pedagogical need to monitor this skill in Hebrew and emphasizes the need to include fluency theoretically in models of reading as well as in related practice of early reading development in Hebrew.