Literature Review on Reading skills

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Lit Review






Reading skills are essential in any individual’s life because they enhance success. They help an individual to attain basic knowledge that will help them during their secondary phase of life. This creates the need to enhance reading skills among individuals with reading disabilities. These people need to heighten and also maintain their motivation. There are various techniques that assist students with reading disabilities to acquire reading skills. Flashcards, reading racetracks and SMART Board technology are among the various techniques that help individuals to attain reading skills. A flashcard is a collection of cards that has information such as numbers or words on each or both sides. Flash cards are efficient in classroom drills and also enhance private study. An individual may write a question on one side and the answer on the other. Flashcards can bear information such as vocabulary, formulae and historical dates. They enhance memorization since they involve spaced repetition. Reading racetracks helps to increase fluency (Erbey, Mclaughlic, Everson and Derby, 2011). A comparison of various articles reveals various techniques that improve reading skills.

The effects of using flashcards with reading racetrack to teach letter sounds, sight words and math facts to elementary students with learning disabilities by Rachel Erbey, T. F. Mclaughlin, K, Mark Derby and Evanson Mary is an article that discusses how flashcards and reading racetrack affect teaching phonics, addition facts and sight words. It also states that despite the presence of ever changing technology, individuals still need basic knowledge such as reading to succeed in life. Students who struggle to attain reading skills during their earlier phases of their education usually face difficulties in the secondary stages and adulthood. Phonetic awareness is among the vital elements needed to enhance reading skills among low progress readers. Teaching reading skills is essential to students with inadequate ability in sight word reading. Basic skills in math calculations are also essential for success in life. After attaining basic operations concepts, the students should learn how to memorize facts and give fast and accurate responses to various facts. This helps students to enhance high level mastery of math concepts. Phonics, fluency, phonetics awareness, text comprehension and vocabulary are areas within reading instruction, which help to nurture successful readers. Reading racetracks, which are drills and practice processes, help to attain skills in four of the above areas. Reading racetracks include instructions on a track that has twenty eight cells, which separate information. It has a start and finish, and two images of automobiles, so the students read the information around the track in a set time. This increases fluency and accuracy in a systematic and entertaining way. Racetracks are also significant among students with various disabilities. A combination of flashcards and racetracks enhances sight word recognition among students with learning disabilities.

Vocabulary Learning: An Electronic Word Card study by Marina Dodigovic is an article that also discusses the significance of learning vocabulary to enhance language skills. However, it gives a description of a technology-supported learning study of vocabulary that involves students in preparation programs within various universities. The study design involves comparison of two flashcards activities, which are technology supported. The first one is where students acquire vocabulary from electronic cards designed by teachers. The second is where students design their cards. There is a third activity that involves comparison but excludes the cards. It uses a within sample design that pretests the vocabulary of students when the academic year begins. After identifying the essential vocabulary, the students and instructors create interactive flashcards using WordChamp, which is an online device. At the end of the semester, they also made comparisons to analyze the progress of the student. The authors of the article claim that self-designed cards are not effective.

Comparison of the Effect of Smart Board Technology and Flash Card Instruction on Sight Word Recognition and Observational Learning is an article that also discusses reading skills. This article compares the effectiveness of flashcards and SMART Board interactive whiteboard technology in teaching reading skills among young adults. Both techniques are effective in enhancing reading skills, but the SMART Board technology has a higher effect among students (Mechling, Thompson, and Gast, 2008).

A Comparison of Two Flashcard Drill Methods Targeting word Recognition by Robert J. Volpe, Christina M. Mule, and Amy M. Briesch discusses two instructional methods within the flashcard drill. The instructional methods are the incremental rehearsal and the traditional drill and practice. The article compares the efficiency of both techniques and social validity. The two methods have minimal differences in efficiency, and also an equal number of students prefer either of the two methods.

Effectiveness and Efficiency of Flashcard Drill Instructional Methods on Urban First Grades’ Word Recognition, Acquisition, Maintenance, and Generalization by Lindsay Nist, Laurice M. Joseph analyzes various instructional methods. It compares the efficiency and effectiveness of instructional methods through methods such as traditional drill and practice flashcard technique, an incremental rehearsal and a ratio of known to unknown interpersal word technique. The incremental rehearsal is an effective method among groups of students while the traditional drill enhanced reading performances.

Motivate Student with Disabilities Using Sight- Vocabulary Activities by Michelle Morgan and Karen B. Moni analyzes twenty ways of using sight-vocabulary activities among students with disabilities. The article also presents various ways of giving these students motivation to learn. Sight vocabulary is essential among these students because it helps them learn how to read and write. It also increases and maintains their zeal to take part and also persist in learning. The article describes various games such as vocabulary charts, word banks, waterfalls of words, setting the scene and vocabulary mobiles. The authors also suggest a sequence that introduces functional sight vocabulary.

All the articles seek to determine the most effective technique that assists students with disabilities to acquire reading skills. The authors of the articles carried out various researches to determine the necessary areas in reading instruction. This creates a basis for their discussion and also helps readers to relate to the information provided in each article. The articles analyze different techniques but all the authors compare the efficiency of each method to that of the flashcard technique. All the articles have different research methodology, but all the results point out the efficiency of the flashcard method. Erbey, Mclaughlic, Everson and Derby (2010) discuss about the efficiency of the flashcard and the racetracks. They give descriptions of the processes involved in each method. The racetracks are designed by the instructors although there are instances when the students design their racetracks. Learning vocabulary is essential in acquiring reading skills. They also claim that the racetrack is suitable for beginners because it does not have complicated procedures. Students usually enjoy the two methods, so they acquire the skills faster and also improve their fluency. These authors also claim that the two techniques also enhance math skills. Racetracks are also significant to students with reading disabilities. Dodigovic (2013) also agrees that vocabulary learning is essential for those who want to acquire reading skills. Unlike Erbey, Mclaughlic, Everson and Derby’s article Dodigovic’s article focuses on use of technology to enhance learning various vocabularies. She discusses flashcards that are technology supported while Erbey, Mclaughlic, Everson and Derby discuss those which are manual. She also points out that both teachers and students design the cards. She also mentions a third technique where students pretest their skills at the beginning of the year and later compare to the results at the end of each semester. She also points out that the self-designed cards are not efficient. This proves that Erbey, Mclaughlic, Everson and Derby had accurate results concerning the accuracy of the teacher designed flashcards and racetracks. Teachers have adequate knowledge on the aspects in reading that may trouble students, so this factor makes their cards more efficient. Mechling, Thompson, and Gast (2008) also discuss efficient ways of acquiring reading skills. They acknowledge that technology based training is more efficient than the use of flashcards. They compare the SMART Board interactive whiteboard technology to the flashcard. They give a detailed description of how the technique works, and also why it is the most efficient in acquiring reading skills. Volpe, HYPERLINK “;jsessionid=gqEdMnADO8OQlXhvEqE0aA__.ericsrv005?_pageLabel=ERICSearchResult&_urlType=action&newSearch=true&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=au&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=%22Mule+Christina+M.%22” o “New Search for Author Mule, Christina M.” Mule, Briesch, Joseph and Burns (2011) also discuss aspects of acquiring reading skills. They differ from the rest because they analyze both group reading and individual reading. They also compare two flashcard drills unlike the other articles where the authors compare two different techniques. The authors compare the incremental rehearsal to the traditional drill and practice to determine the efficiency of the two methods. They also determine the social validity of the two methods to determine the one that students like to use. An equal number of students prefer either of the two methods since the differences between the two methods is minimal. Lindsay and Laurice also provide information on various ways of acquiring reading skills. They discuss traditional drill and practice flashcard technique, an incremental rehearsal and a ratio of known to unknown interpersal word technique. The incremental rehearsal is most efficient among groups of students. It does not enhance individual improvement. enhance individual improvement. Unlike the above authors, Lindsay and Laurice analyze twenty techniques of improving reading skills. They believe that students need motivation to improve their reading skills. The process should involve some fun moments to ensure that the students get the motivation to develop and maintain their skills.


Individuals who want to succeed in life must acquire basic reading skills. These skills are vital when an individual reaches the secondary stages in their lives. There are different techniques that enhance reading skills. Flashcards and racetracks are the most common techniques among students with reading disabilities. Flashcards have information on either side while racetracks have data on each cell on the track. These methods are efficient and also entertaining. Sight vocabulary can also be introduced through games such as setting the scene and waterfalls of words.


Dodigovic, M. (2013). Vocabulary Learning: An Electronic Word Card study. Ebsco Host

Connection, 20(1), 13. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Erbey, R., Mclaughlic, T.F. Everson, M. and Derby, M.K. (2011). The effects of using flashcards

with reading racetrack to teach letter sounds, sight words and math facts to elementary students with learning disabilities. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 3 (3). Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”

Mechling, L.C. Thompson, K. L. and Gast D. L. (2008). Comparison of the Effect of Smart

Board Technology and Flash Card Instruction on Sight Word Recognition and Observational Learning. HYPERLINK “” Journal of Special Education Technology, 23(1), 34-46. Retrieved from HYPERLINK “”