What is reading fluency?
Fluency is the ability to read accurately, smoothly and at a good pace, all while reading with expression.
Why is reading fluency important?
The better a students fluency is, the easier it will be for them to comprehend what they are reading. If a student has good fluency skills they will be thinking about what the text is telling them, instead of focusing on how to read the words in front of them.
How do we assess reading fluency?
All students are assessed three times a year on how many words they can read in a minute. Students who show difficulty on this task are then asessed every two weeks to monitor their progress.
How can I help my student at home with their fluency?
There are many different strategies for helping students with their fluency.
A fun way to practice fluency is readers theatre. This is a short script that students are able to practice over and over. The parts are usually leveled providing characters with more difficult text or less difficult text. Readers theatre not only helps students increase how quickly they read, but also lets them work on their expression by assuming the role of a character. Below are some good resources for readers theatre.
One of the most tried and true ways to increase a students fluency is repeated reading. The technique of rereading a passage over and over helps a child recognize high-frequency words more easily. A reader with a firm foundation of sight words can read a number of familiar words without hestitation which in turn helps their reading fluency. To practice this strategy simply choose a short passage and have your student read it over and over until. You can time them for one minute the first time they read it and make note of how many words they read. After reading it multiple times, you can time your student again and see how many words they read. This is not only good for increasing speed, but also confidence! Students love to see their "score" go up. In school we sometimes graph the students words per minute so they can see their progress. I love to use poems to practice repeated reading, their fun to read and have a natural rhythm for students to follow. Below are links to passages and poems that you can print out and use to practice at home.
Have your student follow you as you read at a more fluent rate. Read aloud at a bit faster rate than your child can read independently. Think of pulling them along as they read just behind your voice. This helps model what a fluent reader sounds like and encourages the student to read faster.
Read a sentence and then have your child echo the same sentence. Have them try to copy what you sound like. This helps students with phrasing and expression. You can even record your reading and play it back so they can hear themselves read.
The easiest way that you can help your child at home is to read aloud to them. Be sure to use expression while reading. In order to read fluently, students must first hear and understand what fluent reading sounds like. Explain to your child that this is how a fluent reader sounds.
Where can I learn more about fluency?
Check out these links below: