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Fluency Training in the ESL Classroom: An Experimental Study of Fluency Development and Proceduralization


  • The data of the pretests and posttests were presented at the AAAL conference in Costa Mesa, CA, on April 24, 2007. The authors would like to thank Colleen Davy, Jessica Hogan, Rhonda McClain, and Laura Halderman for their contributions to transcription, coding, and analysis of the data from the training sessions. Thanks to Laura Halderman, Mary Lou Vercellotti, and Scott Walters for their feedback to drafts of this article. Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, grant No. SBE-0354420 to the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC;

concerning this article should be addressed to Nel de Jong, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands. Internet:


The present study investigates the role of speech repetition in oral fluency development. Twenty-four students enrolled in English-as-a-second-language classes performed three training sessions in which they recorded three speeches, of 4, 3, and 2 min, respectively. Some students spoke about the same topic three times, whereas others spoke about three different topics. It was found that fluency improved for both groups during training but was maintained on posttests only by the students who repeated their speeches. These students had used more words repeatedly across speeches, most of which were not specifically related to the topic. It is argued that proceduralization of linguistic knowledge represented a change in underlying cognitive mechanisms, resulting in improvements in observable fluency.