Reading fluency, one of the Five Pillars of Reading, is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Reading fluency greatly influences reading comprehension. Children must be able to read fluently in order to comprehend what they read, whether they are reading aloud or silently. Fluent readers read in phrases and add appropriate intonation when reading aloud without needing to pause to decode words or look up definitions.
Fluency plays a key role in comprehension and is essential in keeping young learners motivated. When children are reading fluently, it frees up mental resources to allow them to improve their comprehension of what they are reading.
How to improve Reading Fluency
Research has shown that students need frequent opportunities for substantial practice at their instructional reading level to bolster reading fluency. Instead of silent reading, a student must be given plenty of chances to read aloud as well as listen and observe fluent reading by a teacher, tutor, family member, or even peer.
Reading aloud allows students to receive feedback and provides them an opportunity to self-correct. This combination of consistent practice and regular monitoring is critical in promoting fluency.
It is also just as important to choose the appropriate text or reading material when trying to improve fluency. Slower reading fluency rates are often the result of spending too much time decoding individual words. This can lead to not having enough time to understand a passage or text as a whole. Hence, it’s important to choose materials that are within the student’s independent reading level. This means picking out books or texts that contain familiar words that the reader can decode with ease.
Once appropriate reading materials are chosen, a reading teacher or tutor will:
Provide and encourage opportunities for students to read and reread a wide range of stories or text.
Introduce and practice reading new or challenging words before allowing the student to read them on their own.
From time to time, monitor and time the student’s oral reading, taking note of reading rate and accuracy.
Model fluent reading and encourage students to reread the text on their own. Aside from demonstrating how fluent reading should be, this also shows students that a reader’s voice or intonation makes a difference in deriving meaning from written text.
Reading Fluency Tutoring
We determine reading fluency by examining both reading speed and expression of the text. Very fluent readers are able to read text automatically and without effortful decoding of letters to sounds. Children must build a strong decoding base as well as a foundation of sight words that are recognized automatically in order to increase their fluency rates.
Tutors may work on phrasing, intonation, and echoed and repeated readings.
(Click here to get to know our literacy specialists and find out more about reading tutoring services.)