Fluency: What It Is and Why It’s Important

Fluency: What It Is and Why It's Important  |  Red Apple ReadingFluency can be broken down into 3 components: the ability to read a passage accurately (without having to stop and decode individual words), at a reasonable pace (not too fast or too slow), and with proper expression (paying attention to punctuation). Let’s explore the different facets of fluency and how you can help your child master each one. For convenience, we’ve listed individual interventions under each component, but you’ll quickly find that these activities are beneficial for all aspects of fluency!

Accuracy
It’s imperative for children to read accurately if they are going to have any real sense of what a passage is about.

  • Review Unfamiliar Words – You can help your child with this aspect of fluency by going over any new words with her before she reads the text. If she is reading a book about birds, for instance, you might introduce the word chickadee beforehand.
  • Repeated and Timed Readings – Another way you can help your little one improve her accuracy is with timed repeated readings. Simply set a timer for one minute. Let your kiddo read the same passage aloud to you several times, while keeping up with how many words she gets correct each time. Chances are you will see improvement with each reading!

Pace
Pace is another critical component of fluency. Reading should be performed at a reasonable rate.

  • Repeated and Timed Readings – Yep, the above timed reading activity will help your kid with pace as well! When children don’t have to stop and decode individual words, their pace naturally improves.
  • Record – One way you can assist your child with pace is by allowing her to record herself reading aloud (you’ll notice all these interventions involve reading aloud – it’s important!). Many times children don’t realize how slowly or quickly they are reading. When they go back and listen to themselves, they will get a better idea of whether they need to slow down or speed up.

Expression
Reading with expression involves paying attention to punctuation and the mood of the story. Reading with feeling makes the text more enjoyable and aids in comprehension.

  • Model by Reading Aloud – One of the ways kids learn to read with expression is by hearing someone else read with expression. This is one of a thousand reasons why parents should read aloud to their children. When we read a story to our kids they pick up on the nuances of our speech patterns and learn how expressive reading sounds.
  • Echo Reading – This intervention builds on the previous one. You will read a sentence or passage aloud using appropriate expression, then your kid will “echo read” the same passage (trying his best to sound like you).

As your child’s fluency improves she can begin reading more advanced texts and choosing titles that interest her rather than simple, decodable books. This will lead to a greater love of reading! Visit our Finding Fluency Pinterest board for more ideas on developing fluency.