Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Literacy Education


Janice V. Kristo

Second Committee Member

Rosemary Bamford

Third Committee Member

Janet Fairman


The purpose of this study was to compare the variety, complexity, and frequency of reading behaviors of three groups of first grade students - students who discontinued from Reading Recovery (D-RR), students who did not discontinue from Reading Recovery (ND-RR), and students who never needed Reading Recovery (A-NRR). Students were asked to read from four frequently used assessments - The Scott-Foresman Testing Packet, The Qualitative Reading Inventory - 4, Oral Reading Fluency and the Burt Word Test. An analysis of over 3,000 reading actions revealed four categories: (a) solving behaviors, (b) substitutions, (c) repetitions, and (c) behaviors that did not fit into the other categories. Students demonstrated the complexity of reading through varied reading actions and the word-solving strategies used. Students worked at the word and sub-word level, taking from one to five steps to solve or attempt to solve a word and displayed 103 different word-solving patterns. This study found that all readers displayed a wide range of reading actions when they read, but there were differences between the two Reading Recovery groups. D-RR and A-NRR read at similar reading level, while ND-RR read at lower levels. The two higher groups also displayed different reading actions than ND-RR. The more proficient readers - D-RR and A-NRR - made more successful attempts in their reading. Their substitutions were more likely to make sense and be visually similar. When solving words, D-RR and A-NRR tended to use larger word parts when they solved. When the strategies for reading words in isolation and continuous text were compared, D-RR used smaller word parts when they read words in isolation. The findings suggested that there were differences between ND-RR and D-RR beyond reading level, while D-RR looked similar to A-NRR in most respects. This study demonstrated the complexity of the reading process and the need for teachers to understand this complexity as they teach students to read. Implications for teaching word learning to early readers were also explored.