Fluency is the ability to read text with satisfactory accuracy, speed, and expression, (attention to punctuation and intonation). Research has shown that there is a close relationship between fluency and comprehension (National Reading Panel Report, 2000).
Fluency develops along a continuum. Beginning readers operate, by definition, primarily at the "disfluent" end of the continuum. With instruction, time and practice, fluency gradually improves.
There are three well-known methods for helping students improve their reading fluency. These methods are most appropriate for students reading at the 1.2 level and above (Morris, 1999).
- Easy Reading: The student reads text at his/her independent level. The focus is on improving phrasing and speed with text that can be read with very few errors.
- Taped Readings: A teacher/tutor records a story that is slightly above the student's instructional level. The student then practices reading the story with the tape. This can be done at school or home. After several practice reads, the student reads the story without the tape to another person (teacher, parent, and so on).
- Repeated Readings: The student reads the same text 4 times (on 2 different days).
- A passage of 200 words is counted out in an instructional level text that the student has already read once, recently. (Mark text in increments of 10 or 20 to reduce time spent counting.)
- Set timer for 2 minutes
- Student reads. (If student reaches the last word in the passage, s/he starts at beginning and continues reading).
- After timer sounds, count number of words read. Count the number of errors.
- Graph data with student - a motivating event!!
- (Example of graph for middle of 1st grade reading level [Only count out 100 words.])
- Charting for transitioning from middle of 1st grade to end of 1st grade reading level
- (Example of graph for end of 1st grade and 2nd grade reading level)
- (Example of graph for beginning of 3rd grade reading level)
- (Example of graph for at or above middle of 3rd grade reading level)
- To calculate wpm, divide by 2
Example of Repeated Reading Trials 3 & 4