Case studies: Passage Reading Secondary

Case study 1: Maya, 11 years 1 month


Maya was administered YARC as part of a screening programme when she started secondary school. Although her reading difficulties were not formally recognised at the time of the screening, her performance gave cause for concern. Maya has English as an additional language (EAL).

Use of YARC

Maya completed YARC Passage Reading Form B Level 1 and Reading Fluency Level 1. She attained the following standard scores:

Single Word Reading Test: 103

Passage Reading – reading rate: 108

Passage Reading – reading comprehension: 84

Passage Reading – summarisation: below average

Reading Fluency: 92

Student profile

Maya displays difficulties with reading comprehension: her reading comprehension and summarisation skills are below average for her age. In contrast, Maya’s decoding skills are developing well: her reading accuracy and reading fluency skills are average for her age. Maya experiences specific difficulties with reading comprehension. An examination of her performance on the different types of comprehension question indicates that she has difficulties making inferences and is poor at answering vocabulary-based questions.

Implications for teaching and learning

Maya has English as an additional language (EAL) and she would benefit from some additional support with comprehension. Oral language activities that include direct instruction in vocabulary and activities to promote inferencing skills would be a useful starting point. Further language assessments would also be advisable (for example, British Picture Vocabulary Scale III, Dunn et al., 2009).

Case study 2: Matthew, 15 years 2 months


Matthew consistently works hard and performs well across the curriculum. However, his English teacher recently expressed concern that he is not reaching his full potential in certain aspects of English including oral tasks and writing for given audiences. A key area of weakness for Matthew appears to be communicating his ideas to others. Matthew’s reading skills were assessed by his teacher to investigate any difficulties with reading comprehension.

Use of YARC

Matthew completed YARC Passage Reading Form A Level 2 and Reading Fluency Level 2. He attained the following standard scores:

Single Word Reading Test: 111

Passage Reading – reading rate: 122

Passage Reading – reading comprehension: 101

Passage Reading – summarisation: low

Reading Fluency: 114

Student profile

It is clear from the assessment scores that Matthew has no difficulties decoding text: his reading accuracy and Reading Fluency scores fall toward the top of the average range and reading rate is excellent. Although Matthew’s reading comprehension score is average for his age, it is comparatively weaker than his decoding skills. A key weakness is found in Matthew’s ability to summarise the information he has read: his summarisation score is classified as low. An examination of Matthew’s summaries reveals that he failed to identify any content points across the two passages. Matthew offers vague and incomplete explanations of his ideas, as we can see in the following example:

2.2A: ‘She became an artist when she had nothing. She didn’t have to do a lot to be famous.’

Q: ‘Can you tell me a bit more?’

A: ‘No.’

Matthew’s summaries focus on one part of the text rather than giving a rounded overview. His responses are brief and lack structure, suggesting that he is not taking away the gist of what he has read.

Implications for teaching and learning

To help Matthew fulfil his potential in his upcoming exams, it is recommended that he receives additional support in his English lessons. Additional activities focusing on summarisation skills will equip Matthew with the strategies he needs to identify main ideas in text and communicate these clearly to others. He might benefit from first identifying main points verbally and then practising transferring them to written work.