Reading fluency is one of the most important skills for a child to master in the early elementary years. Not only does a fluent reader make the transition to being a fluent writer much more easily than a non-fluent reader, but as students get older reading plays an important role in math, science and social studies, too. If you’re concerned about your child’s reading skills, here are more than 10 ways to increase reading fluency.
Many students have trouble with reading fluency because they have trouble understanding how the pieces of words (such as chunks, digraphs and blends) are manipulated to make new words.
Sight words, sometimes known as core words, are the foundation of a child’s reading and writing skills. If he can’t quickly recognize common words, your child is more likely to stumble as he tries to sound out everything he reads.
6. Echo Reading
Echo reading is a great strategy for children who have great technical reading skills, but for whom prosody is a problem. If your child struggles to read with expression, try reading a section and then having him “echo” you, using the same intonations and emphasis you used.
Nothing gets a child more interested in a book than knowing that the character is having the same struggles or concerns that he is. Known as bibliotherapy, choosing books that can help children find solutions to problems they are facing can not only help build fluency, but also deal with issues like bullying and school refusal.
Audiobooks (which many of us remember as being “books on tape”) are a fantastic way for children to follow along as someone else reads. Even better is the fact that your child can listen to her favorite book over and over again without you having to read it a million times!
Fluency isn’t just about being able to recognize the words and read them expressively at a good pace. It’s also about understanding what you’ve read and being able to evaluate that information. Critical reading is a critical skill for third, fourth and fifth graders.
Though you may not like to admit it, sometimes a non-fluent reader is having trouble because of an underlying learning disability. If the strategies you’re trying to improve reading fluency don’t seem to be working, keep your eye out for other signs of reading problems.