Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Susan Brady


The present study attempted to investigate the underlying cognitive and linguistic skills necessary for three different aspects of reading fluency: rate, phrasing, quality of expression. The variance accounted for by each of these skills on measures of reading comprehension was also evaluated. Oral reading skills of third and fourth-grade normal readers were assessed on narrative passages within each participant's independent reading level (i.e., fewer than two percent word reading errors). Results indicated similarities in the cognitive and reading skills necessary for rapid reading and appropriate phrasing. Specifically, word recognition was the strongest predictor in both cases. However, oromotor accuracy and rapid serial naming also accounted for significant portions of variance in both reading rate and phrasing skill, after controlling for age and/or independent reading level. In addition, working memory was a significant predictor of reading rate. Linguistic measures of syntax knowledge and listening comprehension did not contribute significantly to variance in phrasing. The assessment tool created to evaluate quality of phrasing and expression is presented. Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research also are discussed.



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