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What is a Fluent Reader?

Characteristics of a Fluent Reader

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fluent reader

A fluent reader at work.

Getty Images/Anderson Ross

Though in short a fluent reader is one who demonstrates both oral and silent reading fluency (the ability to easily read mechanically, expressively and with comprehension) there are number of specific characteristics that separate a fluent reader from his less fluent counterpart. A fluent reader:

  • has very little difficulty decoding text. That is, the fluent reader has excellent phonemic awareness and is able to recognize and read the words before her.  
  • has a large base of core words from which to draw.
  • has good word attack skills. Word attack skills refer to a child's ability to look at an unknown word and decode it by using her knowledge of the basic components (or phonemes) and the context in which the word lies.
  • reads without hesitation and with prosody (smoothly and with the correct intonation and pronunciation).
  • processes more than one word at a time with her eyes.
  • reads without mouthing or sub-vocalization (reading beneath her breath).
  • self-corrects or goes back to examine the text when something doesn't seem right.
  • comprehends what is being read and is able to make predictions and interpretations.
  • can make connections between different books.
  • reads a number of different types of books, of varying genres and varying lengths.
  • uses the vocabulary she has gained in her own writing.
  • imitates author styles in her own writing.
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