Teaching Reading Fluency to Improve Reading Comprehension

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  • 0:04 Why Fluency?
  • 1:03 Teaching Strategies
  • 3:23 Relationship to Comprehension
  • 4:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Fluency is one of the key pillars of good reading instruction. This lesson will give you some ideas about teaching fluency and explain how fluency enhances reading comprehension.

Why Fluency?

Fluency, alongside decoding and comprehension, is one of the major pillars of reading instruction. Fluency refers to the rate, expression, and smoothness with which a student is able to read. Fluency is more than just reading quickly, though pacing is a part of it. Fluent readers read as though they are talking. They attend to punctuation, use different voices to represent characters in dialogue, and change their tone and pace to reflect the mood or register of what they are reading.

Despite its significance, fluency often gets overlooked in reading instruction. For many readers, fluency comes naturally as a by-product of good decoding. However, some readers need help to become more fluent. Increasing a reader's fluency contributes to enhancing their comprehension, or ability to make meaning from text. Becoming a more fluent reader can also help a student enjoy reading more because, at its heart, fluency is about expression and voice, and these are some of the things that make reading fun and interesting.

Teaching Strategies

How can you teach fluency to students? There are some great strategies to help your readers become more fluent. Let's go over some of them.

Reader's Theater

When you read a book with your class, consider turning part or all of it into a skit. Give the skit as many different parts as possible, and assign different students to play different roles. You may actually want to give your least fluent readers the largest roles, so that they'll have more of a chance to practice. Reading a book as though it is drama helps students gain in expression and prosody.

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