Understanding Reading Fluency with Optimal Teaching Strategies

10 min read
Understanding Reading Fluency with Optimal Teaching Strategies
In simple words,
refers to the ability to read and gather information (text) easily and quickly. “Fluency” is an important aspect of the reading and learning process.

It has four main components that are crucial to understanding, learning, and practice. It may not always be easy for children of different ages to learn everything at a quick pace or similar to how other children might learn.

Every student and child has their own mindset, which they use to comprehend the information they receive. For total reading fluency, it is essential that the learner uses all four of the components and integrate them effectively.

Non-fluent readers lack in either one or more of the four components of reading fluency. They make mistakes, read slowly, or don’t read with the right expressions and phrasing.

Hence, our first topic of focus will be on the components that make up reading fluency.

What Are the Components of Fluency?

Accuracy

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Fluency develops when you read words correctly. Imagine how difficult it is for a student to break out a word into small chunks and decode it to read.

When they can read easily, they will spend time understanding the context and meaning rather than figuring out what the word really is. Experts suggest that fluent readers can accurately read 98 words out of 100.

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Speed

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It doesn’t impose that children should be reading as fast as possible. In contrast, when a child reads accurately, they develop a swift reading pace.

Hence, there are higher chances that the child will learn the other components and integrate them easily. Some reliable EdTech resources suggest that you should set a reading target to help children remain consistent. Bear in mind that reading as quickly as possible doesn’t ensure fluency when the child is unable to comprehend and explain the expression.

Expression

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In short, the expression means reading a word exactly the way it should sound in spoken language. This includes pausing at commas, taking a pause at full stops, and using emotions when the word expressions demand.

Comprehension

Comprehension reading entails decoding words to understand what they mean. Fluency aims to ease the reading, which helps students comprehend the text.

When reading words becomes easier, it is much simpler for children to focus on finding the meaning of what they read. With all four components, the children are able to precisely identify words, read them, connect the expressions, and comprehend the meaning without having to stop again and again (speed).

What Makes Fluency Important? A Key Concept

Expert teachers and researchers suggest that fluency is a critical part of reading. Without fluency, there may not be a direct connection with comprehension.

Also, since there will be no direct connection, the lack of fluency will influence the development of comprehension reading in a student.

In other words, you can easily understand when you read something accurately without having the need to stop. You can comprehend the meaning of the text and grasp the information that you perceive.

Similarly, fluency and comprehension reading go side by side when it comes to teaching children.

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When you get stuck on the pronunciation of a word, you enforce your mental energy and focus on reading and decoding the word correctly. Therefore, the task of comprehension receives less focus and attention (mental energy).

So, when a child spends too much time reading and decoding a word, they soon move away from the concept. It becomes difficult, and they find it hard to understand its meaning.

Challenges that Non-Fluent Readers Face

The habit of reading can help improve fluency. It is possible that some students learn fluency by practicing reading on a consistent basis. They may not even need any explicit instructions or help while reading.

On the other hand, for some children, developing fluency in the average classroom environment might not be easy.

By encouraging students to take note of their reading habits independently won’t suffice the criteria for fluency development. In fact, enforcing strict reading habits, especially for those who are at-risk learners, might not yield any effective fluency results.

Mostly, at-risk students feel a lack of confidence in classrooms and learning environments if others around them have the fluency that they don’t. Therefore, they are unable to focus and develop proper reading fluency.

What’s more, sometimes they may take difficult books to pretend that they are on “the same page” of learning and development as other kids.

They read slowly due to the lack of proficiency. For instance, those with proficiency may read 200 to 2,000 words in 10 minutes.

However, at-risk students who are unable to cope with the accuracy and comprehension side by side may hardly read 50 to 500 words in 10 minutes. While the ratio might appear the same, the word count is extremely low in comparison.

Such reading problems require professional resources, support, guidance, and techniques to deliver optimal results. Furthermore, it is imperative to help non-fluent readers with explicit instructions so they can understand everything in a step-by-step manner.

Reading Fluency Strategies (Authentic Research-Based)

There are three most popular strategies to improve reading fluency and help with its development in children. So, make sure to stay updated with the new teaching techniques.

Read on to learn in detail what each strategy entails. Keep in mind that the strategies below are recommendations of experts from around the world.

Progress Monitoring Strategy

Setting a goal and providing relevant and instant feedback reflects progress. The combination of both aspects can be a driving factor and motivate students. It is highly relevant to the development of reading fluency in a student.

Progress Monitoring uses the same concept and is, therefore, more suitable for a motivating learning environment for children. For instance, you will set a reading goal for your student(s) and inform them regarding how you will know that they have accomplished the goal.

Following that, you will also provide your students with the means and method to assess their progress. In this way, they will know their progress first, and it will motivate them.

Teacher Modeling Strategy

Modeling is an effective approach for demonstrating and informing children while they develop reading fluency. There are various teacher modeling methods, including:

  • Audio-supported reading
  • Teacher-supported reading
  • Peer-supported reading

This strategy involves helping a child participate in the learning process in a multisensory manner. A teacher has to engage more than just listening to the student. 100% active involvement of a child can yield profound results.

Teacher modeling helps with learning the meaningful context of words through accurate recognition. Moreover, this strategy includes the demonstration of correct word phrasing along with practice tracking for students across the page.

The accurate sense of the beginning sounds of the words and recognition of nearly 50 sight words is the standard, successful result of teacher modeling in the initial phase.

The reading rate is vital in this strategy. For instance, children with a slow reading rate will ensure that they are able to learn a word properly and clarify any difficulty beforehand.

However, those with non-fluent skills who try to read at a fast pace will make errors and have a lack of comprehension. Learning and comprehending more words make a student’s reading fluent.

Repeated Reading Strategy

Repeated reading is a widely used strategy to help children develop reading fluency. Experts from reputable institutes claim that it may be the best and highly effective tool to enhance the reading fluency of children.

Repeated reading strategy means reading the same passage or material, again and again, to make it expressive and accurate at some point. While this may sound boring, distressing, or monotonous, it is highly effective as knowing what comes next will instill confidence in a non-fluent reader, which is a necessary trait.

This practice improves speed, accuracy, and comprehension with expressive understanding and explanation.

Choose the Right EdTech Resources to Teach Your Kids and Students

Reading fluency isn’t limited to book reading in classrooms. You should know that reading fluency pertains to various other aspects.

For instance, preparing for a presentation or a speech competition might get difficult if a child lacks reading fluency. The trait of reading fluency makes comprehension an effortless task.

You can use the latest EdTech resources available on the internet to improve fluency and comprehension reading. Subscribing to such platforms helps students remain consistent and become fluent readers and learners. It is imperative that you approach your fluent and at-risk (non-fluent) students in a slightly different manner.

Both cases require a different level of attention, guidance, and instructions. Hence, by learning what your student or child lacks in terms of fluency (accuracy, speed, expression, comprehension), you can suggest and use the best strategies and help with fluency development.