Good readers are fluent readers. Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, quickly, and automatically. This is known as automaticity. Fluent readers should also be able to read the text with proper expression, just as we speak.
Fluent readers exhibit some or all of the following characteristics. Fluent readers:
- Read smoothly and easily
- Pronounce words correctly
- Pause at commas or periods
- Read dialogue the way someone would speak aloud
- Read sentences in chunks or phrases
Strategies to Improve Reading Fluency
The following reading strategies help to improve students' reading fluency. It is best to use all of the strategies when teaching children to read. Educators can use each type of reading at different times throughout the school day. Parents can use one strategy per day with their child to help build fluency.
In repeated reading, the child reads the text more than once. Repeated reading helps to develop fluency because the student reads the text multiple times, and becomes more fluent with the text. Teachers and parents should help the child with any errors or difficulties they encounter on each read of the text. This strategy helps students to gain confidence in reading and develop automaticity in reading. Parents can also practice repeated reading with their children. Children love to reread to books, especially when they are young.
In echo reading, the teacher reads a phrase or sentence and the students repeat the phrase or sentence. Hence, the students are echoing the teacher. Poems are a good source of text to use when echo reading. The teacher would read one line of the poem and the students would echo the teacher by reading the same line back.
Choral reading is reading aloud in unison. In a classroom setting, the teachers and the students read the same text passage together, aloud, at the same rate.
In the home, parents can choral read books with their children. Parents might announce, "It's choral reading time!" Young children love to read books chorally with their families. Brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends can read books chorally with young children. It is fun to involve the entire family.
Educators and parents can measure how many words students are reading correctly in one minute using the timed reading technique.
Procedures for Timed Reading:
- The student reads a passage at their independent reading level
- Two copies of the timed reading passage are needed. The teacher has a copy of the passage and the student has another copy of the passage.
- A one minute timer is needed. Many cell phones have timers. The teachers stops the reader at exactly one minute.
- Use a pencil or pen to mark the last word read by the student when the one minute is up.
- Each word that student read correctly is counted. The total number of words read correctly in one minute is the student's score.
Mispronunciations, substitutions and omissions are counted as incorrect. In addition, if the student skips an entire line on a reading passage, each word on the line is counted as an error.
If the student had difficulty reading the word after three seconds, the teacher should give the student the word. The word should be counted as an error because the student was unable to read the word in three seconds or less.
Students can practice timed reading with a partner, a one minute timer, and a text passage that is at their independent reading level.
In partner reading, the students take turns reading with a partner. One student is the reader and the other student in the listener. The students then reverse roles so that both students are able to read aloud to a partner.
Common Core State Standards for Fluency
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.4 Read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4a Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.1.4c Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.4b Read grade-level text orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
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