The Impact of Independent Reading Intervention on Improving Students’ Reading Fluency


  • Anthonia Ojeh Inspired Tots Early Learning center


Independent reading, fluency, intervention, synthetic phonics, reading fluency, literacy.


Children who love to read have been found to read better, having better vocabulary and text comprehension skills. This study investigated the impact of independent reading in improving students’ reading fluency in a multi-grade reading clinic in a semi-urban community private school in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. The research was guided by two research questions: Is traditional classroom phonics instruction enough to develop students’ reading fluency; and can routine independent reading time improve students’ reading fluency? In the study setting, several children were found to read below grade level despite regular synthetic phonics instruction. Thirty-nine students between the ages of 5 and 10 were drawn from a total of 96 students through convenience sampling to take part in the one-sample pre-and post-test study. An initial baseline fluency test eliminated 53.90% of the participants who were reading at an independent level, and the remaining 46.20% were enrolled for the intervention. At the end of the 10-week treatment period, the results showed that about 75% of the participants could read at an independent level while the remaining 25% read at an instructional level. These scores were analyzed using a paired samples t-test to compare reading fluency pre-test and post-test scores. There was a significant difference in the pre-test scores (Mean =90.87), Standard Deviation =4.593 and post-test Mean= 95.55], Standard Deviation=2.139, and p-value = <0.002. This confirms that the impact of IR (Independent Reading) in improving students’ reading fluency was significant. The volume of reading is important for the development of reading competency as it provides students with important practice that helps them gain background knowledge, improve fluency and comprehension, raise motivation, increase reading achievement, and widen vocabulary. 

Author Biography

Anthonia Ojeh, Inspired Tots Early Learning center

Anthonia Ojeh is the owner of Inspired Tots Early Learning Center in Jos, Nigeria. She holds a Master's in Education from the University of the People, which was fully sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Her first degree was a B.Sc. in Science Laboratory Technology from the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. She is passionate about bringing high-quality, world-class education to the grassroots and giving all children equal opportunities to succeed. Her school employs research-proven instructional methods and programs to ensure that children are equipped with the right tools for a successful life. She offers consultancy services to schools and teachers on issues of literacy and reading instruction, curriculum implementation, and teacher training. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. to broaden her research capabilities and improve the quality of primary education available to children in her milieu.


Ajegbomogun, F.O., & Salaam, M.O. (2011). The state of school libraries in Nigeria: Problems and prospects. Pacific Northwest Library Association Quarterly, 75(3).

Ajibola, S. G., & Ranmilowo, S. K. (2019). The need for school libraries in primary schools in Osun State, Nigeria. Tropical Journal of Education, 1(1/2), 14 – 26.

Allington, R. L. (2005). Ideology is still trumping evidence. Phi Delta Kappa, 86, 462- 468. 26.

American Academy of Pediatricians. (2014). Policy Statement

Anderson, R. C., Wilson, P. T., & Fielding, L. G. (1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly, 23(3), 285–303.

Arlington, R. L. (2014). How reading volume affects both reading fluency and reading achievement. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 2014, 7(1), 13-

Ashom, M. M., & Akintunde, F. A. (2018). The making of a reading society: How to reawaken and sustain the reading culture in Nigerian learners. Continental J. Arts and Humanities. 10 (1): 1-15. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.1253358

Bolkema, S. (2019). Influence of phonics instruction on reading fluency and accuracy. Northwestern College.

Burchinal, M., Howes, C., Pianta, R., Bryant, D., et al. (2008). Predicting child outcomes at the end of kindergarten from the quality of pre-kindergarten teacher–child interactions and instruction. Applied Development Science, 12(3, pp 140-153).

Catapano, S, Fleming, J., & Elias, M. (2009). Building an effective classroom library. Journal of Language and Literacy Education [Online], 5(1), 59-73.

Clark, C. & Douglas, J. (2011) Young People’s Reading and Writing An in-depth study focusing on enjoyment, behaviour, attitudes and attainment. London: National Literacy Trust.

Clark, C. & DeZoya, S. (2011). Mapping the interrelationships of reading enjoyment, attitudes, behaviour and attainment: An exploratory investigation. London: National Literacy Trust

Clark, C. & Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure a research overview. The National Literacy Trust.

Clark, C. (2012). Children’s and Young People’s Reading Today: Findings from the 2011 National Literacy Trust’s annual survey. London: National Literacy Trust

Complete Dissertations. (n.d.). Paired t-test.

Connelly, V., Johnston, R. & Thompson, G.B. (2001). The effect of phonics instruction on the reading comprehension of beginning readers. Reading and Writing 14, 423–457.

Cullinan, B. (2000). Independent reading and school achievement. Research Journal of the American Association of School Librarians, 3, 1-24. Retrieved from ependentReading_V3.pdf

Dangara, Y., & Madudili, G. C. (2020). Assessment of the impact of computer-assisted instruction on teaching and learning in Nigeria: A theoretical viewpoint. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology (IJEDICT). 16(2) pp. 259-271.

Durkin, D. (1966). Children who read early. New York: Teachers College Press.

Ecklund, B.K., & Lamon, K.M. (2008). Improving Reading Achievement Through Increased Motivation, Specific Skill Enhancement, and Practice Time for Elementary Students.

Ellis, S. (2016). School libraries supporting literacy.

Hall, K.W., Hedrick, W.B., & Williams, L.M. (2014). Every day we’re shufflin’: Empowering students during in-school independent reading. Childhood Education, 90(2), 91-98.

Hasbrouck, J. & Tindal, G. (2017). An update to compiled ORF norms (Technical Report No. 1702). Eugene, OR. Behavioral Research and Teaching, University of Oregon.

Hasbrouck, J., & Tindal, G. A. (2006). Oral Reading Fluency Norms: A Valuable Assessment Tool for Reading Teachers. The Reading Teacher, 59, 636-644.

Hopkins, E. J., and Weisberg, D. S. (2017). The youngest readers' dilemma: a review of children's learning from fictional sources. Dev. Rev. 43, 48–70. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2016.11.001

Johnston, P. (2011). “RTI in literacy – Responsive and Comprehensive.” The Elementary School Journal. Vol. 111, No.4.

Kim T. K. (2015). T test as a parametric statistic. Korean Journal of Anesthesiology, 68(6), 540– 546.

Krashen, S. D. (1989). We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the Input Hypothesis. Modern Language Journal 73: 440–64.

Krashen, S. D. (1993). The power of reading: Insights from the research. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited.

Krashen, S. D. (1995a). The reading hypothesis, the expanded hypothesis, and the greatly expanded reading hypothesis. School Library Media Quarterly 23(3): 187–94.

Krashen, S. D. (1995b). School libraries, public libraries, and the NAEP reading scores. School Library Media Quarterly 23(4): 235–37.

Krashen, S. D. (2005). Is in-school free reading good for children? Why the National Reading Panel report is (still) wrong. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(6), 444–447

Lance, K. C., Rodney, M. J., & Hamilton-Pennell, C. (2001). Good schools have school librarians: Oregon school librarians collaborate to improve academic achievement.

Loong, S., & Abdul A. A. (2019). The effectiveness of synthetic phonics in developing reading fluency among year 2 intermediate pupils. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development. DOI: 10.24940/ijird/2019/v8/i12/DEC19057

Macmillan/McGraw-Hill Treasures. (n.d.). Running records levels: Rebus-80. McGraw-Hill Education, NY.

Merga, M. K. (2019). How do librarians in schools support struggling readers? English in Education, 53(2) 145-160, DOI: 10.1080/04250494.2018.1558030

Miller, D. & Moss, B. (2013). No more independent reading without support. Heinemann

Murtala A., Y., Babangida, L., Usman A. I., & Halilu, A. (2013). Comparative study of the state of literacy in Nigeria and Cuba. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 9(19).

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD). (2000), Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read, Washington, DC

Neuman & S. & Celano, D. (2012). “Worlds Apart: One City, Two Libraries and Ten Years of Watching Inequality Grow.” American Educator. Fall.

Neuman, S.B., Celano, D.C., Greco, A.N., & Shue, P. (2001). Access for all: Closing the book gap for children in early education. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Nigeria Literacy Rate 1991-2021 (n.d.). Retrieved 2021-11-14 from

Olayemi, T. K., & Aina, R. (2007). School library management for teacher librarian (a locally published book, no publication information). Retrieved from>lib(PDF).

Oraekwe, I. N. ., & Emenari, B. C. . (2021). The role of school library in literacy development of school children in Nkede community in Owerri, Imo State.. Library Research Journal, 4(1), 138–147. Retrieved from

Pennington, M. (2011, June). Why sustained silent reading (SSR) doesn't work. Retrieved from’t-work/

Pilgreen, J. L. (2000). The SSR handbook: How to organize and manage a sustained silent reading program. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook Publishers.

Popp, M. S. (2006). Teaching language and literature in elementary classrooms: a resource book for professional development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc, N.J.

Quantitative research: Definition, methods, types, and examples. (n.d.). Question Pro.

Rasinski, T. V. (2004). Assessing reading fluency. In Pacific Resources for Education and Learning.

Rasinski, T.V.; Hoffman, T.V. (2003). Theory and research into practice: Oral reading in the school literacy curriculum. Read. Res. Q. 38(510–522).

Rose, J. (2006). Independent review of the teaching of early reading. UK Department for Education and Skills.

Sailors, M., Hoffman, J.V., & Condon, M. (2008). The challenges of developing leveled texts in and for developing countries: The Ithuba Writing Project in South Africa. In E.H. Hiebert & M. Sailors (Eds.), Finding the right texts: What works for beginning and struggling readers. New York: Guilford.

Sanden, S. (2012). Independent reading: Perspectives and practices of highly effective teachers. The Reading Teacher, 66(3), 222–231.

Siah, P.-C., & Kwok, W.-L. (2010). The value of reading and the effectiveness of sustained silent reading. The Clearing House, 83(5), 168–174.

Taylor, D., & Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988). Growing Up Literate: Learning from Inner-city Families. Pearson Education Canada

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2021), Bridging CESA and SDG 4 in Africa.

UNICEF (2010). Child info: Monitoring the situation of children and women: Statistics by area: education, child information organization. Retrieved from

Wasik, B. A., Hindman, A. H., and Snell, E. K. (2016). Book reading and vocabulary development: a systematic review. Early Childhood Res. Q. 37, 39–57. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2016.04.003

Weber, S. (2018). How teachers can guide library book selection to maximize the value of independent reading time. The Language and Literacy Spectrum.

Whitten, C., Labby, S., & Sullivan, S. L. (2016). The impact of Pleasure Reading on Academic Success. The Journal of Multidisciplinary Graduate Research. 2(4, pp. 48-64). research/documents/2016/WhittenJournalFinal.pdf

Yopp, R. H., & Yopp, H. K. (2003). Time with text. The Reading Teacher, 57(3), 284–287.



How to Cite

Ojeh, A. (2023). The Impact of Independent Reading Intervention on Improving Students’ Reading Fluency . LANGUAGE ART, 7(4). Retrieved from