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Fluency

Fluency is reading with accuracy, speed, and understanding. To read aloud with expression requires an understanding of the text’s meaning beyond simple decoding of individual words. Students who struggle with fluency may read slowly, in a monotone, ignoring punctuation, or in choppy start-and-stop rhythms. Often, such readers have difficulty monitoring understanding and self-correcting. Support these students with tools that allow for repeated readings and performance, and model expressive reading with audiobooks, e-books, and your own live readings.


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Teach with Tech


Students need differentiated instruction to understand what is involved in fluency, strategies to develop fluency, and many opportunities to practice. Technology tools that foster marking text and making video and audio recordings can support the strategies described below.


Steps:



  1. Explain that fluency means recognizing and pronouncing the words accurately; reading at the right level of speed for the purpose and level of text; and using the voice to express meaning (e.g., character, plot, tone), including pausing and phrasing in line with the punctuation.
  2. Explain to students that you will help them to use different strategies that will help them build fluency.
    Ways to build fluency


    • Read a lot online and offline, including books, e-books, websites, newspapers, and magazines.
    • Repeat read some texts (or passages) to work on accuracy, expression, and rate.
    • Learn techniques for reading aloud with expression, such as dramatic reading of character dialogue and pausing for suspense in a breaking news report.
    • Learn strategies for decoding words in context.
    • Monitor how well you understand what you read.

  3. Show students how to use online and offline tools to track their oral reading performance as a way to set goals and show improvement.
View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Provide explicit vocabulary instruction


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Provide direct and explicit comprehension strategy instruction


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade


Step 2: Give Students Strategies and Models


  1. Model fluent and expressive reading daily by taking advantage using audiobooks, e-books, online videos, and podcasts.
  2. Model how to address different types of oral reading issues, stopping to think aloud about what isn’t working right and then trying again.
    Ways of addressing oral reading issues


    If the student is reading:
    • slowly and in a boring monotone, then increase rate and add dramatic expression.
    • too fast without pausing for punctuation, then slow down and pause appropriately at punctuation.
    • at the right speed and accuracy but without expression, then vary your voice to communicate the character, plot, and tone of the text.
    • with without stopping to self-correct miscues, then use self-monitoring and word recognition strategies to self-correct.
    • without understanding, then think aloud about how to draw on textual information and prior knowledge.

  3. Demonstrate and model how students can self-assess fluency by using a graph or qualitative checklist to monitor and improve expressive reading, creating a video podcast showing the self-assessment process, and posting podcasts on the class website and inviting feedback.
View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Teach students to identify and use the text’s organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content.


Evidence:
Moderate


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Strong


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


Step 3: Provide Opportunities for Practice


  1. Teach students how to select texts that are at the appropriate instructional or independent level, depending on the fluency goal.
    Helping students select appropriate texts


    • If the text is for repeated reading, choose a text that is worth rereading.
    • Vary the type of text to include fiction, poetry, and informational text.
    • Comics and graphic novels are good for expressive reading.

  2. Provide struggling readers with options for assisted reading and paired reading (reading aloud together, alternating reading, echo reading). Students can work with an older student reading buddy, special education teacher, literacy specialist, or adult volunteer.
  3. Use technology tools to engage students in performing text. Introduce technology by showing videos of students performing choral readings and readers’ theater. Have students audiotape and/or videotape while practicing so that they can see and hear what needs to be improved before performing for an audience. Post final performances on the school website.
View evidence behind this recommendation


IES Recommendations


Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies


Evidence:
Moderate


Source: IES Practice Guide: Improving adolescent literacy: Effective classroom and intervention practices


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