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Fluency

Children often have trouble going from reading one word at a time to a fluid, expressive tone. Here are some ideas for helping kids find the pace and cadence to smooth out their reading voice and understand the meaning of the words.

Click below for answers to the following fluency questions:

Question 1: I am looking for ways to improve my child's comprehension and speed reading skills. How do I go about this?
Question 2: If a child is reading aloud and is maintaining meaning, is it necessary that I correct every word he misreads?
Question 3: My second grader is having a hard time focusing on one word at a time when reading. What can I do to help her?
Question 4: If a child has good comprehension, but is not reading at grade level fluency, should working on fluency be the primary focus? Can any child's reading can be fully remediated regardless of the severity of their disability?

Question:

I am looking for ways to improve my child's comprehension and speed reading skills. How do I go about this?

Answer:

If you choose to work directly with your child, the following articles are full of suggestions and ideas for increasing reading comprehension skills:

You may also want to find a local tutor to work with your child. You can contact a tutor through a local university, church, library or in the yellow pages for your community. The LD OnLine Yellow Pages might also be helpful.

Lastly, school administrators and guidance counselors can help you locate services.


Question:

If a child is reading aloud and is maintaining meaning, is it necessary that I correct every word he misreads?

Answer:

The answer to this question depends on the context in which the child is reading. If he is reading in front of a group, or for pleasure, or for the purpose of appreciating literature, then you should NOT correct every mistake. During these activities, students are developing a love of reading, and as long as the meaning is preserved, they should be free to experience the "flow" of a good story.

In an instructional context, you may want to gently correct accuracy mistakes, but try to limit this to activities in which the main instructional goal is accuracy. You can build activities into your curriculum that focus on this specific skill.

Giving students the opportunity to read without the pressure of perfect accuracy will invite children to read more – and that is how they will improve!


Question:

My second grader is having a hard time focusing on one word at a time when reading. What can I do to help her?

Answer:

Beginning readers need lots of practice reading – it takes time, practice, time, and more practice! Work with your daughter's teacher to learn exactly at what level she is reading. Then, go to the library and load up on books written at that level AND below. Provide her with time each day to read, reread, and reread again those below reading level books. You'll want to build up her confidence and fluency with those books. Then, support her reading by reading WITH her the books at her instructional level. Prompt her to sound out words that can be sounded out (and just tell her the ones that can't or are too tricky). Praise her efforts and reread each book multiple times over the course of a week or two. Finally, get some terrific children's literature written ABOVE her reading level. Read those books to her to remind her WHY reading is so great. Model lots of good expression and let her hear what good, fluent reading sounds like.

Do everything you can to provide a fun climate for reading. If a book is too hard, put it away. Reinforce her efforts and continue to work closely with your school and teachers. If she continues to struggle, talk with them about additional testing and some one-on-one supervised tutoring.


Question:

If a child has good comprehension, but is not reading at grade level fluency, should working on fluency be the primary focus? Can any child's reading can be fully remediated regardless of the severity of their disability?

Answer:

I think it makes sense to work on reading fluency even when a student has strong comprehension because reading fluently can help a student achieve well in the content areas and more learning more efficient. Research has not established that every student can be taught to read at acceptable levels. Presently, estimates are that, with excellent and highly intensive reading intervention, approximately 98% of the population (not including students with severe cognitive impairment) can be taught to read.
"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader." — Margaret Fuller