The Teachers' Mousepad

What is Fluency?

What is Reading?

Active Reading

 Helpful Home Tips

What is fluency?
Fluency is the ability to read, speak, or write easily, smoothly
and with expression. In reading, fluency skills are the ability to see the
"big picture" rather than reading word for word. Reading fluency is often
associated with smooth and even-paced reading.

Fluent readers can immediately recognize text or frequent clusters of letters. They have a good site word vocabulary and can see phrases as whole thoughts and not individual words.

If a reader struggles over these common letter patterns, their reading becomes choppy.  Students lose the ability to comprehend when they are struggling over words.  Their energy and focus is often spent on just figuring out the word and not understanding the text in front of them. To help these children, we must identify why they are having difficulty decoding words.  Interventions need to be included in their daily instruction.

Fluent readers read aloud almost effortlessly and with varied expressions. They sound natural and unrehearsed. Fluent readers are reading and comprehending simultaneously. 

Fluency develops over time with practice.  Young readers inevitably will sound choppy as they are just beginning to understand how language works and how to break the text into natural sounding chunks.  With time and many opportunities to practice reading, young readers develop these skills. Young readers also need to hear stories being read aloud.  Modeling fluent reading is something children of all ages can benefit from. Teachers often set aside time each day to read aloud to their class. Sadly, many parents drop the nightly bedtime stories once their children can read independently.  Parents need to continue reading aloud to their children throughout their childhoods!

Fluency is not a stage of development at which readers can read all words quickly and easily. It is important to remember that fluency can change as readers reader different materials. Science and Technology textbooks often contain large words that even good readers have to stop and think about.  Reading may slow down as the reader struggles with these big words. This is normal. It is important to look at what a child is reading when assessing their fluency.

To increase fluency-


Students need to participate in repetitive readings of the same materials- teacher reads, students read with a partner, choral readings of the same passages...
  Have students tape record their oral reading, listen to it, evaluate and then repeat.
  Daily oral and silent reading practice of at least 20 minutes!
  Read to a buddy-  A position that worked well for me in the past was Shoulder-to-Shoulder. One student sits facing one direction and the other student faces the other direction. They sit shoulder to shoulder (ear to ear).
  Have child read aloud to a parent, sibling, a relative, the dog, anyone who will listen!
  Model reading a passage with expression and fluency to the child and then ask them to read it (Echo Reading). Some children need to hear fluent reading first before attempting to model it themselves.
  Have students read the same passage several times aloud prior to reading it to the class. I used to send home passages on Friday's for the next week's story. Students were required to read it several times out loud in private and then several times to a parent. Parents were required to date and sign the passage every time the children read aloud to them. When we read the story aloud in class the next week, the students' anxiety about reading aloud were greatly reduced. They had many opportunities to practice reading fluently in the privacy of their own home and their reading in class had improved dramatically. My students (and their parents) really appreciated this extra practice.
  Choral reading- everyone reads together with the teacher leading them in fluent reading. As the children progress, the teacher can back off a little and let the children lead.
  Use a metronome to help choppy readers develop a nice pace to their reading
  Time students reading a short passage. Record how many words they can read in one minute.  Different reading series/assessments may vary in the number of correct words read per minute but a guideline* would be
    1st Grade- 20-40 correct words
    2nd Grade- 70-90 correct words
    3-5th Grades-100-135 correct words
    6th Grade- 135-155 correct words

*These numbers are approximate and it is suggested they be reached by the end of the school year.
  Have students read silently at home as part of their weekly homework. Silent reading DOES increase fluency, but it has to be done daily. The more children read the more automatic it becomes.
  Invite students to participate in READERS THEATER- students read from a script. Props and costumes a few if any. Children focus on their reading not the props. Aaron Shepard has a great site of plays.

Fluency = Increased Comprehension



BERH- Bureau of Education and Research- video/DVD trainings to increase student fluency
DIBELS- an assessment tool used my many schools to assess student fluency- this is the official DIBELS website
Fluency- teaching it ideas and lessons
Scholastic's Building Fluency: Lessons and Strategies For Building Reading Success- This is a teacher resource book available for purchase.
Scholastic's FAQ about Fluency- read and/or listen to Maryanne Wolf answer the most common questions about fluency


Jump to~
Art and Music / Language Arts / Literature / Math / Poetry Place / Reading /
Sites For Young Children / Social Studies / Virtual Fieldtrips / WebQuests /
Special ThemesThe Teacher's Lounge / The Computer Lab


Hit Counter
~Graphics Made for TMP by~

Last Updated on 01/26/2007