Fluency & Learning to Read – Reading Fluency

Fluency & Learning to Read – Reading Fluency
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What is Reading Fluency? If you are like most parents, you aren’t sure what fluency is. You might even be confusing “reading fluency” with fluency with the English language (this is NOT what it means).

Fluency is the ability to read text accurately, quickly and with confidence. It can be considered a bridge between the act of decoding words and the development of reading comprehension. As children become fluent readers, they begin to think less about the words and more about the meaning of the sentences they’re reading. Fluent readers become able to respond to the material with emotion and thought.

Time4Learning teaches young readers important skills that are required to become fluent readers. The animated lessons allow young readers to interact with the text instead of just reading it, which both engages and challenges them. Plus, the student paced nature of the program allows them to repeat or practice a lesson as many times as they want, which is important for retention.

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The “What Works?” Report found that the five key areas in learning to read are

The Importance of Fluency in Reading

Fluency surprised many people when it made this list since many of us did not have fluency practice when we learned to read. Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Fluency bridges word decoding and comprehension. Comprehension is understanding what has been read. Fluency is a set of skills that allows readers to rapidly decode text while maintaining high comprehension.

A first benchmark for fluency is being able to “sight read” some words. The idea is that children will recognize at sight the most common words in written English and that instant reading of these words will allow them to read and understand text more quickly. Also, since there are many common English words that are so irregular according to the rules of phonics, its best to get children to just memorize them from the start. For example, try sounding out these words: “one”, “was”, “if”, “even”, or “the”.

Many experts quickly warn us that an over-emphasis on sight reading early on can be counterproductive by having children focus on word memorization while avoiding learning the all important techniques of sounding out words. The bottom line is that as children master the rules of phonics, they should also master by sight a limited number of commonly encountered and often irregular words.


How does Time4Learning’s online reading program help with fluency?

Parents assist with fluency by reading aloud to children. Once children are reading at first to second grade level, exercises with timed reading also help children improve their reading speed. This type of exercise is demanding of parents or instructors since it requires active involvement. Time4Learning’s online reading program provides opportunities for children to follow along in the text as the program reads aloud and for timed readings.

Software and on-line reading programs can also provide great opportunities for children to follow along in the text as the program reads aloud and for timed readings. With Time4Learning, these fluency skills are taught and reinforced in a number of ways. Start a membership today.

For more information on how the reading skills are developed, look at the Time4Learning Reading Skills Pyramid.

The Reading Skills Pyramid illustrates that there are many steps to becoming a proficient reader. Generally, the skills can be split into two halves: one half is word decoding which is made up of phonemic awareness and phonics. The other half is made up of a set of skills that falls into three categories: comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.


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