Strategies for Improving Students' Reading Fluency

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: How to Develop Prosody in Reading

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 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
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

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.

Back in his classroom Mr. Rogers considers his students. He has several students ready for instruction on fluency. What types of strategies can he give them? Let's see.

Repeated Reading

Mr. Rogers knows one of the best ways to increase fluency is to have students read the same passage many times, a practice known as repeated reading. He collects several books for students, making sure they are on an appropriate reading level. The books can't be too difficult, causing the student to focus on decoding; or too easy, containing the majority of words the student already knows. Students should know most words but learn a few new ones with each introduction of text. This is called a child's independent reading level and includes books read at about a 96% accuracy rate.

Mr. Rogers should make sure the text he selects for repeated reading isn't too long. Otherwise, students may lose interest or not be able to comprehend. He aims for between 50-200 words. He also varies the types of text used for repeated reading, including poems, short stories, nursery rhymes, and nonfiction.

Students practice repeated reading in many forums. They read independently at their desks, during silent reading in the library, at home to their parents or during guided reading time. In fact, many of the repeated reading selections his students use are texts they originally learn during guided reading. This way, Mr. Rogers knows the students are familiar enough with the text to be successful with fluency.

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

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 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? 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 risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account