Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy.
Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text and their background knowledge. In other words, fluent readers recognize words and comprehend at the same time. Less fluent readers, however, must focus their attention on figuring out the words, leaving them little attention for understanding the text.
Fluency is important because:
- It frees students to understand what they read.
Adapted from: Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read, 2001, a publication of The Partnership for Reading (www.nifl.gov/nifl/pfr.html)
§ To play this clip, you'll need a copy of the free RealOne Player. Most computers already have it installed, or you can download it now.