Copyright

Factors That Influence Reading Fluency

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Many things go into making a good reader, from word recognition to fluency. How does fluency factor in? This lesson defines and outlines the components of a fluent reader and shows how fluency changes in different situations.

What Is Fluency?

Many different components come into play when children learn to read, as Ms. Brown, a third grade teacher, explains to parents at back-to-school night. Students begin with simple sound recognition, forge into the realm of letter-sound relationships, and finally, bridge these concepts together to word recognition. This process can take time; not all children develop at the same pace. A clear and solid understanding of all these skills is necessary for the building of good readers.

She goes on to tell parents that once children understand letters and sounds and how they work together, they begin to decode, or break apart the letter sounds in a word, to 'read.' Beginning readers often spend quite a bit of time and energy decoding words until they build up fluency. When we talk about reading fluency, we mean the ability to read text smoothly, accurately, with appropriate expression, and at a good pace.

Why Does Fluency Matter?

People read for many reasons - to be entertained or learn something, for example. Teachers who instruct children in reading practices are tasked with not only teaching children 'how' to read, or to decode words, but also how to understand and remember what they're reading. This is called comprehension, and it is central to a solid reading program like Ms. Brown's third grade.

Part of being a fluent reader involves comprehension; the two concepts are interwoven into one another. Reading at a choppy or uneven pace can affect a student's ability to remember and understand what is being read. In the same way, not understanding what is being read can impact the ability to read fluently. The parents want to know what sorts of things can impact fluency development. Let's take a look at a few.

Factors That Influence Fluency

Teachers and parents begin instructing fluency the minute they begin reading aloud to children. A student learns fluency practices through indirect instruction and direct instruction.

Indirect Instruction

Any time a student is read to, an understanding of many reading behaviors is being planted within that student. When children hear adults or other children read out loud, they're learning important reading behaviors, like voice intonation, pacing and one-to-one word correspondence. We'll get to these in a bit.

Teachers, like Ms. Brown, view opportunities to read aloud to students as a way to model appropriate reading skills. This type of teaching is a form of indirect instruction, and teachers should encourage adults and other children in the child's home to read aloud often. Additionally, any time a student reads his or her fluency increases. Children should be given plenty of chances to read a variety of texts; these opportunities for frequent reading lay the groundwork for fluency.

Direct Instruction

Any time a teacher specifically teaches a student a concept, they are using direct instruction. Teachers who are building fluency skills focus on several aspects.

  • Reading Rate - The rate, or pace of words being read, is referred to as the reading rate. Young readers can often read too quickly or slowly, impacting that ever-important comprehension piece. Teaching readers the appropriate rate increases understanding.
  • Intonation - Have you ever listened to someone read out loud? That voice has a specific cadence, a tone and fluctuation that make listening to the story interesting. Intonation is that reading voice. Readers need to be taught specific intonation behaviors, such as raising the voice tone at a question or pulling out an ending sound at an ellipse.
  • Accuracy - Reading the words on a page can be tricky for young children. The word 'when' can look a lot like the word 'what' to an early reader. Even seasoned readers misread words. But reading the exact words on a page, or reading accurately, is important for comprehension. Teachers best improve a student's accuracy with time; the more a student reads and is read to, the more words they remember.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support