The Effects of Reading Racetracks on the Sight Word Recognition of Four Elementary School Students with Learning Difficulties

Main Article Content

Matthias Grünke


Many children with different kinds of learning problems struggle with reading. To help them combat their challenges, easy-to-implement interventions are needed. Reading racetracks have proven to be effective tools to increase sight word fluency in students with disabilities. The purpose of this single-case study was to evaluate this technique, for the first time, in a context outside of the United States. Four elementary school children with various learning difficulties received nine to twelve individual intervention sessions from one of two graduate students. The results indicated that reading fluency of 30 common two-syllable German words rose remarkably in all four participants. Even though the treatment was a little less effective for one female student, diagnosed with intellectual/developmental delays, than for the other three students, performance gains were still noteworthy. This study provides further evidence that reading racetracks are an effective practice to build fluency in children with disabilities.

Article Details

How to Cite
GRÜNKE, Matthias. The Effects of Reading Racetracks on the Sight Word Recognition of Four Elementary School Students with Learning Difficulties. INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 4, p. 291-297, mar. 2019. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 may 2019.


Aaron, P. G., Joshi, R. M., & Quatroche, D. (2008). Becoming a professional reading teacher. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Alexander, C. T., McLaughlin, T. F., & Derby, K. M. (2008). The effects of reading racetracks on sight words across four elementary students with differing disabilities. The Open Rehabilitation Journal, 1, 47–52.
Alresheed, F., Hott, B. L., & Bano, C. (2013). Single subject research: A synthesis of analytic methods. The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 2, 1–18.
Ardoin, S. P., Morena, L. S., Binder, K. S., & Foster, T. E. (2013). Examining the impact of feedback and repeated readings on oral reading fluency: Let’s not forget prosody. School Psychology Quarterly, 28, 391–404.
Arkoosh, M., Weber, K. P., & McLaughlin, T. F. (2009). The effects of motivational/reward system and a spelling racetrack on spelling performance in general education: A case report. The Open Education Journal, 2, 17–20.
Cools, W., Declercq, L., Beretvas, S. N., Moeyaert, M., Ferron, J. M., & Van den Noorgate, W. (2018). MultiSCED user guide. Retrieved from
Crowley, K., McLaughlin, T. F., & Kahn, R. (2013). The effects of direct instruction flashcards, reading racetracks on sight word skills for two students with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26, 297–311.
Davenport, C. A., Konrad, M., & Alber-Morgan, S. R. (2018). Effects of reading racetracks on sight word acquisition for deaf kindergarteners. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 22, 326-335.
Erbey, R., McLaughlin, T. F., Derby, K. M., & Everson, M. (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, 213–226.
Green, C., McLaughlin, T. F., Derby, K. M., & Lee, K. (2010). Using reading racetracks and flashcards to teach sight words to students with disabilities: Effects for acquisition and response maintenance. Journal of Educational Research, 13, 84–98.
Hernandez, D. J. (2011). Double jeopardy: How third-grade reading skills and poverty influence high school graduation. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Hopewell, K., McLaughlin, T. F., & Derby, K. M. (2011). The effects of reading racetracks with direct instruction flashcards and a token system on sight word acquisition for two primary students with severe conduct disorders. Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, 9, 693–710.
Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidence-based practice in special education. Exceptional Children, 71, 165–179.
Hyde, C. A., McLaughlin, T. F., & Everson M. (2009). The effects of reading racetracks on sight word fluency and acquisition for two elementary students with disabilities: A further replication and analysis. The Open Social Science Journal, 2, 1–4.
Kaufman, L., McLaughlin, T. F., Derby, K., & Waco, T. (2011). Employing reading racetracks and DI flashcards with and without cover, copy, and compare and rewards to teach of sight words to three students with learning disabilities in reading. Educational Research Quarterly, 34, 24–44.
LaBerge, D., & Samuels, S. J. (1974). Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 293–323.
Lämsä, J., Hämäläinen, R., Aro, M., Koskimaa, R., & Ayram, S.-M. (2018). Games for enhancing basic reading and maths skills : A systematic review of educational game design in supporting learning by people with learning disabilities. British Journal of Educational Technology, 49, 596–607.
Lee, J., & Yoon, S.Y. (2017). The effects of repeated reading on reading fluency for students with reading disabilities: A meta-analysis. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50, 213–224.
Logan, G. D. (1988). Toward an instance theory of automatization. Psychological Review, 95, 492–527.
Lund, K., McLaughlin, T. F., Neyman, J. 6 Everson, M. (2012). The effects of DI flashcards and math racetrack on multiplication facts for two elementary students with learning disabilities. The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship, 1, 1–15.
McGrath, G. L., McLaughlin, T. F., Mark Derby, K., & Bucknell, W. (2012). The effects of using reading racetracks for teaching of sight words to three third-grade students with learning disorders. Educational Research Quarterly, 35, 50–66.
Miller, J., & Schwanenflugel, P. J. (2006). Prosody of syntactically complex sentences in the oral reading of young children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 839–853.
Moll, K., & Landerl, K. (2014). Salzburg Reading and Writing Test (SLRT-II). Bern, Switzerland: Huber.
National Research Council and National Academy of Education. (2011). High school dropout, graduation, and completion rates. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
Paige, D. D. (2011). Engaging struggling adolescent readers through situational interest: A model proposing the relationships among extrinsic motivation, oral reading fluency, comprehension, and academic achievement. Reading Psychology, 32, 395–425.
Paige, D. D., Rasinski, T., Magpuri-Lavell, T., & Smith, G. S. (2014). Interpreting the relationships among prosody, automaticity, accuracy, and silent reading comprehension in secondary students. Journal of Literacy Research, 46, 123–156.
Rinaldi, L., & McLaughlin, T. F. (1996). The effects of reading racetracks on the fluency of see-to-say words in isolation by a student with learning disabilities. Journal of Precision Teaching and Celeration, 13, 44–52.
Rinaldi, L., Sells, D., & McLaughlin, T. F. (1997). The effects of reading racetracks on the sight word acquisition and fluency of elementary students. Journal of Behavioral Education, 7, 219–233.
Skarr, A., Zielinski, K., Ruwe, K., Sharp, H., Williams, R. L., & McLaughlin, T. F. (2014). The effects of direct instruction flashcard and math racetrack procedures on mastery of basic multiplication facts by three elementary school students. Education and Treatment of Children, 37, 77–93.
Slavin, R.E., Madden, N.A., Dolan, L.J., Wasik, B.A., Ross, S., & Smith, L. (1994). Whenever and wherever we choose: The replication of Success for All. Phi Delta Kappan, 75, 639–647.
Snyder, T.D., de Brey, C., and Dillow, S.A. (2016). Digest of education statistics 2015 (NCES 2016-014). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
Stanat, P., Schipolowski, S., Rojsk, C., Weirich, S., & Haag, N. (2017). IQB-educational trend 2016. Münster, Germany: Waxmann.
Suggate S (2016) A meta-analysis of the long-term effects of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension interventions. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49, 77–96.
Swain, K. D., Leader-Janssen, E. M., & Conley, P. (2013). Effects of repeated reading and listening passage preview on oral reading fluency. Reading Improvement, 50, 12–18.
Van den Noortgate, W., & Onghena, P. (2003). Combining single-case experimental data using hierarchical linear models. School Psychology Quarterly, 18, 325–346.
Van den Noortgate, W., & Onghena, P. (2008). A multilevel meta‐analysis of single‐subject experimental design studies. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 2, 142–151. doi:10.1080/17489530802505362
Vaughn. S. R., & Bos, C. S. (2018). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems. New York, NY: Pearson.
Verduin, S., McLaughlin, T. F., & Derby, K. M. (2012). The effects of spelling racetracks on the spelling of grade level core words with fourth-grade students with disabilities. Academic Research International, 2, 296–301.
Zentall, S. S. (2014). Students with mild exceptionalities: Characteristics and applications. London, UK: Sage.