Reading Fluency

Why Fluent Reading Is Important

Fluent reading is the ease and smoothness of reading words with appropriate pauses and inflection. It is  important because it frees the reader to concentrate on meaning.

If a reader is having problems with decoding words easily, fluency is usually poor. This problem must be solved with intensive practice in decoding skills–phonics and/or word families. Check out Reading Spotlight’s Reading Tutoand Vowel Tutor practice pages; they are available at several different levels. Our Learn to Read Bingo Games, Reading Tutor Games, and Word Searches provide the extra practice that many students need to improve their fluency. These decoding practice pages are effective and enjoyable. They are better than phonics pages because they are based on educational research indicating humans remember by making connections with patterns.

Lack of mastery of high-frequency sight words also presents fluidity problems. High frequency sight words are words which appear often in primary English text but do not follow regular phonics rules—words like “they” and “said.” These, too, must be mastered before there is a probability of fluent reading of text. See our Sight Word Kit A  and our Sight Word Kit B for the 100 most important high-frequency, irregular sight words that kids need to know.

All are available in the Reading Spotlight Store.

These products  provide the extra practice in decoding skills that is often lacking is today’s busy classrooms.Teachers teach these skills, but because so many students require different levels of practice, not all students are able to master the important fundamental decoding skills in the amount of practice time presented in class.

Some learners who know phonics skills and high frequency sight words still exhibit hesitant reading of words. Here are some other effective ways to improve fluency for them:

  1. Read at an independent reading level. Easy reading encourages fluency and confidence.
    (See our free Tip: Choosing Books)
  2. Repeated, monitored reading of the same text
    (4 times is usually sufficient to improve fluency)
  3. Timed readings (graph on paper to see improvement in text with an approximately equal numbers of words)
  4. Choral reading (adult and learner together)
  5. Poetry
  6. Songs
  7. Following along with text during audiotapes

These ideas, coupled with extra practice in decoding skills, should improve the fluency of most beginning and struggling readers.

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