Role of text and student characteristics in real‐time reading processes across the primary grades

Research paper by Linda de Leeuw, Eliane Segers, Ludo Verhoeven

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 18 Jun '15Published in: Journal of Research in Reading


Although much is known about beginning readers using behavioural measures, real‐time processes are still less clear. The present study examined eye movements (skipping rate, gaze, look back and second‐pass duration) as a function of text‐related (difficulty and word class) and student‐related characteristics (word decoding, reading comprehension, short term and working memory). Twenty‐four third and 20 fifth graders read a relatively easy (below grade level) and more difficult text (at grade level). The results showed that skipping rate mainly relied on text characteristics and a three‐way interaction of grade, text difficulty and word class. Gaze durations depended mostly on student characteristics. Results on look backs showed more and longer look backs in difficult texts. Finally, second‐pass duration mostly relied on grade level. To conclude, this study shows that both student and text characteristics should be taken into account when studying online text reading development.