Beginning silent readers often sound words out in their heads, a cumbersome process called subvocalization.
"What we ultimately want is instantaneous recognition without subvocalization because that's faster," Kim said. "But we don't know how that process happens."
Until recently, measuring silent reading was difficult: After all, you can't hear the child's progress. But researchers can now see this progress, with the help of advanced eye-tracking technologies that follow students' eye movements as they read text on a computer screen.
"It's very fascinating how precisely we can measure this," Kim said. "We can even determine exactly which letter a student is focusing on."
Kim and her team will also examine instructional strategies for promoting reading fluency, and hope that this new grant will be followed by a second one in which they will test these approaches. The ultimate goal is to help students read faster and better, a skill critical to their success throughout their years in school.
"Because children read faster in silent mode, we want to really promote that," Kim said. "But because we don't know how children transition there, it's still one big question."
Several other Florida State faculty members have key roles on the project. Yaacov Petscher, FCRR research associate, is co-principal investigator. Working as co-investigators are Carol Connor, FCRR researcher and associate professor in the Department of Psychology; Christian Vorstius, FCRR research associate; and Richard Wagner, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Psychology and associate director at the FCRR.
"IES grants are extremely competitive," said FCRR Director Barbara Foorman, "and we at the Florida Center for Reading Research are very proud that one of our new assistant professor stars, Dr. Young-Suk Kim, has won this award."
|Contact: Young-Suk Kim|
Florida State University