April, 12

What is reading fluency?

We all know what it means to be fluent in a language, but what does it mean to be a fluent reader? At its most basic level, reading fluency is the ability to read like you speak. This entails “reasonably accurate reading, at an appropriate rate, with suitable prosody, that leads to accurate and deep comprehension and motivation to read". (Hasbrouck and Glaser, 2012).

But let’s break that down even more:

Reasonably accurate reading Accuracy means that a student can immediately and correctly read a word without sounding it out. “Reasonably accurate” refers to the percentage of words the student would be expected to get correct at a particular level.

Appropriate rate A student reading at an appropriate rate can move smoothly from word to word without pauses. This is not to be confused with speed, however, as faster is not always better if a student is reading too quickly to absorb meaning.

Suitable prosody Suitable prosody means reading with expression. A student should be able to read in a conversational tone, group words together for proper phrasing, and take cues from punctuation.

When a student is able to successfully bring together these three components of fluency, reading becomes easy and enjoyable. And that’s really what we all want for our kids in the end, isn’t it?

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