Strategies for Improving Students' Reading Fluency

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  • 0:04 What Is Reading Fluency
  • 0:52 Why Teach Fluency?
  • 2:00 Repeated Reading
  • 3:16 Partner & Choral Reading
  • 4:12 Readers' Theater
  • 4:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
Learning to read includes more than just decoding words. Students need to build fluency to be solid readers. How can teachers help? This lesson outlines several strategies to help students improve fluency in reading.

What Is Reading Fluency?

Young children are taught the mechanics of phonics to help them understand sound/symbol relationships and decode words on the page. Along with this emerging skill is another that's also important when it comes to reading: fluency. When students read the word on the page, they need to pay attention to how their voice sounds, both the pace and tone. Early readers read word by word as they slowly decode words and build a strong sight word vocabulary. Soon they have enough words committed to memory and can read with more confidence.

It's at this time teachers should focus on teaching fluency. Mr. Rogers is a first-year teacher working with early elementary students. He knows he needs to teach fluency, but isn't sure why. He takes advantage of his mentor teacher and goes next door to ask why teaching fluency even matters.

Why Teaching Fluency?

Like we've seen, fluency is the ability to read accurately and with appropriate expression. Mr. Roger's mentor tells him that fluency also entails a level of pacing. In other words, how quickly or slowly a student reads matters. If they read too quickly or slowly, it may impact their ability to understand what they read, or their comprehension.

After readers have mastered decoding and begin to be able to read words in longer strings, they can focus on learning fluency. Why is this important? When students are no longer concerned with decoding, they can refine and learn comprehension strategies, such as making connections to the text, visualizing, and inferring. A student's fluency develops in steps and over time. At first, readers are simply less choppy. With strategies and practice, they soon become more confident. They'll begin reading in short phrases, then longer and more complete sentences. Mr. Rogers recognizes his students are in varying stages of fluency development.

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