Q:

What is fluency? My daughter is in eighth grade, and her whole class was just tested. The results came home that she was not a fluent reader. How can this be improved? - Needs Fluency

A:

Reading fluency is the ability to read material quickly and accurately. Children who are fluent readers can focus their attention on understanding what they are reading because they do not have to concentrate on recognizing individual words. The reverse is true for less-fluent readers. If your daughter is able to improve her fluency, she will at the same time improve her comprehension.

Until recently, fluency was a neglected reading skill. Now, more and more attention is being focused on it in the classroom. In one approach, attention is focused on reading passages aloud. In another, students do a lot of silent reading. No research yet shows that this approach improves fluency. Unless your daughter is currently in a reading class, she is not likely to get much help at school to increase her fluency.

Fortunately, you can help your daughter improve her fluency. Read a short bit of text material to her. This gives her a model for how the passage should sound. Then have her reread it aloud to you. Provide assistance when necessary. Next, have her reread the passage until she can do so quite fluently. Three or four times is usually sufficient. Also, you can read a passage to your daughter. Then read it aloud together three to five times. This doesn't have to be done on the same day. Your daughter will not become a fluent reader overnight. However, she definitely will become a more fluent reader if you and she do repeated oral reading frequently. These same techniques can be used to help beginning readers become more fluent readers.