What is reading fluency? Reading fluency refers to a learner’s ability to read smoothly and with expression. Good oral reading fluency can be defined as how well a student decodes words without delay using appropriate voice inflection and articulation. Proper silent reading fluency occurs when a student can read to himself without uttering the words, while being able to track and comprehend more than one word at a time.
When children are beginning to read, teachers lead a number of reading activities throughout the school day that help develop fluency in students. Here are five of those activities parents can use at home to reinforce beginning reading fluency.
Read Aloud to Promote Fluency
As a teacher, I have encouraged parents to continue to read aloud to their children even after they are reading on their own. Reading aloud not only lets a child hear a more experienced voice, but helps develop listening comprehension. Reading aloud allows a child to hear correct intonation and natural rhythms in phrasing and speech. Reading from a variety of sources and genres exposes a child to material he may be interested in, yet is not able to read for himself.
Choral Read to Develop Oral Fluency
Choral reading is simply reading the text together with a child, at the same time, with the parent taking the lead and setting the pace. Parents may point out the text as they are reading, running a finger underneath the words. Repeated choral readings of familiar text allow young children to gain confidence and practice with emerging skills.
Echo Read to Develop Oral Fluency
Echo reading is a simple technique where a parent or adult reads a line of text, and asks the child to “be my echo”, repeating the line of text. It is one way for a child who has basic decoding skills to learn to make advances in expression or inflection. Simple poetry, rhyme and dialogue can be used to help develop oral fluency.
Partner Read to Develop Oral Fluency
Partner or paired reading is another method by which parents can help children develop oral fluency. Take a picture book and sit next to your child, alternating pages or sentences on pages. It is the “take turns” reading approach; the parent reads a couple of sentences of one page, and the child reads the text on the next page. Simple poems copied for each partner or even songs, such as “Down by the Bay” can be used for partner reading.
Check Out Audiobooks to Help with Fluency
Audiobooks, which are books on tape or CD’s, also help with reading fluency. The use of audiobooks is just one more way for a child to hear an appropriate voice with good inflection and rhythm. Hearing stories read on audiobook reinforces a child to follow along as someone else reads.
Being a fluent reader can lead to better writing and vocabulary skills. While being able to read with fluency is important for comprehension and enjoyment, it is only one of the important elements in reading.
Elementary teaching experience