The decoding speed

Since 1972, schools have been using a tempo word test to estimate children's reading skills. Before 1972 there were also reading tests such as Van Calcar's reading cards from Enschede. From 1972 onwards, however, the publication of the One-Minute Test (EMT) by Brus and Voeten (1972) accelerated the testing of the reading pace. Initially, the instruction regarding the pace was that things had to be done quickly ("Try to read them (the rows of words) quickly and clearly.") There should be no emphasis on fluent or clearly. (Brus and Voeten1972; 56)


Actually, the accuracy as instruction is not discussed at all. Clearly has a completely different connotation than accurate. In the most recent version of the DMT (Cito 2017), as a successor to the EMT (One minute test), the instruction is: fast (Try to read it (the words on the back of the card) quickly and with as few errors as possible). As an extra focus on the tempo, there is also the indication that once the first row has been read, the words of the next row must be continued immediately. Good reading is fast reading? 

Although reading accuracy is also pointed out, children (and teachers) have gradually come to the idea that good reading is primarily fast reading. Anyone who regularly takes the DMT will also be able to ascertain that when taking the DMT, after the test instruction, children stand in the starting blocks and pronounce the words in an unnatural way. Many children not only read quickly but also often pronounce the words in an unnatural short staccato way. 


Quickly became the norm

In the literature, the DMT is always uncritically accepted with regard to the speed aspect. (Ahlers, 210; 41, Braams, 1996; 58, Gijsel, 2016; 51, Huizenga, 2016; 162, Struiksma 2009; 60, Van der Leij, 2017; 61, Verhoeven2002; 47). All those years it has been accepted that fast reading is the norm and not just reading.


At Vernooij (2006; 33) we come across the reading competence for the first time in terms of He can read the text at a normal pace. However, that normal has never been operationalized and is therefore not usable. Middle grade 1, most children are introduced to the DMT for the first time. They come from a period of the first 4 months reading quietly. Most children learn basic reading during that first period. Now the test at the end of January / beginning of February suddenly has to be fast. 

The children also come for the first time in touch with an assessment of their reading level. The method bound tests until now were a more or less unremarkable part of the normal reading method. The parents are also told which qualification is part of their child's reading performance. That can be an A, B, C, D, E or an: I, II, III, IV, V. With a C, D, or E, the effect of the first period of learning to read is disappointing and that also applies to an IV or a V. 

The norm for reading is from the middle of group 3 fast reading and not 'normal' reading. Some parents are told that it is important that they also read with the child at home and some children already receive the first form of special reading guidance at school, which often started after the autumn signs. Many schools have an idea of ​​what the desired final level of group 3 should be and assume that if children do not achieve this within the curriculum year class system, they will have difficulty with the content of education in group 4 and beyond. The first tensions arise in this period.


For many children, the disappointing performance in this first period has to do with a slow word image recognition, an insufficient sound-to-character link, and spelling reading as a strategy. Inaccurate reading also occurs. An important component of special reading guidance during this period is therefore decoding but in many schools especially the reading rate. All kinds of techniques are available to improve the reading pace and one of the techniques is the so-called racing reading. 

Race reading is a type of exercise that is widely used to teach children to read faster. Repetitive reading is usually applied and the amount of words read with a stopwatch is applied. For many children, that means "struggling." To achieve the desired high pace of fast reading, they often have to perform frequent racing activities. Many institutes offer this. The point is to increase the speed of word recognition. Some institutes (OBD Noordwest, z.j.) have an offer to help schools to get 80% of the children at level A / B. Within the Cito instruction 'fast', 50% of the children obtain an A / B score. That means that people want it even faster than fast.


The DMT effect 

At the end of group 3, most children are aware that reading must also be fast. The test behavior from the end of group 3 is that children sit in front of the test and pushed forward by the instruction, ready for the start and start as quickly as possible and then try to read quickly. Around the end of group 3 the DMT effect arises, which has the following characteristics: Based on the test experiences, children think that reading should be fast. Good reading is fast reading for the children. children also think based on reading guidance techniques such as race reading that reading should be fast. many children read too quickly and too quickly when they have a reading. Many children are afraid of taking the test. That test stress can negatively influence the score. children with reading problems read too quickly for their abilities and make too many reading errors. due to the speed component of the DMT and the race reading, children are less focused on the content, which can have a negative effect on the reading concept. in the supervision of children with reading problems, too much time is spent on achieving the desired pace. After all, one strives for a B or at least a high C. racing reading can also have an adverse effect on reading motivation

The reading focused on independence

The reasonableness reading is a response to fast reading and assumes that fast reading aloud is not functional. Functional is a normal reading pace. This report indicates the criteria for normal reading and also reports on the implementations and implications of the project readability reading. The definition of Satisfaction reading is a reading quality that is characterized by a pace at which the children can sufficiently cope with technical reading and at which the children are also aware that reading is ultimately about word processing. Investigation In September 2015, Radboud University reported on a study by De Leeuw in the field of reading skills and word processing. Fast readers were not necessarily good readers. In fact, high reading speed can be counter-productive for text comprehension in children who are technically weak. "According to De Leeuw, reading education is very focused on speed. Reading keys such as the One- and Three-Minute Keys, but also AVI keys, measure the reading level and thereby mainly look at reading speed. This gives students the idea that fast reading is important. The research showed, among other things, that it is not the speed of reading, but the size of the vocabulary that determines how well a child understands a text. These research data also put the meaning of training reading skills at speed in perspective.