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March 2, 2018

Reading Fluency – Taking Time to Practice

Reading is a complex skill – this truth is visible and audible. Consider the critical path from phonemic awareness to phonics & word study to decoding to fluency to vocabulary – all the way to comprehension, everyone’s desired destination. Now consider the roadblocks that cause readers to stall or stumble on the road to reading proficiency.

According the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy (July 22, 2017), if solid reading skills aren’t formed during a child’s early years, the odds of dropping out down the road increase significantly. Kids who aren’t successfully reading at grade level by the third grade are four times less likely to finish high school. Think about this statistic – it’s staggering.

Identifying reading roadblocks is a task all literacy teachers must tackle; our struggling readers depend on it. With all the inter-connected sub-skills, there are many places where reading progress can go awry. One of the lesser-known and often-ignored barriers to successful and smooth reading is a breakdown in fluency.

Reading fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. And more importantly, to comprehend what they read, students must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. Learners Edge has just created a new 1-credit course, course 5042: The Reading Fluency Toolbox, to support teachers seeking strategies with a focus on reading fluency.  We are inviting teachers to examine and address all fluency components and incorporate new routines into daily literacy practices. By creating specific applications and opportunities for fluency-building, teachers support individual students and can engage the whole class in fun fluency practice with games and activities.  

The course emphasizes practice and repetition as the keys for fluency-building in reading. According to Tim Rasinski and Louise Griffith who co-wroteFluency Through Practice and Performance,practice and repetition are the keys for fluency-building in oral reading.  These educator researchers go one step further to contend:

“It’s the performance, whether grand or simple, that makes the practice worthwhile. And it is the practice – real practice aimed at delivering meaning to an audience – that will develop fluency: automaticity in word recognition, prosody in interpretation, and comprehension in the meaningful performance. Moreover, when students are motivated to perform, you can see their motivation for reading increase by leaps and bounds.”

To give you a jump start, here’s a helpfulReading Rockets linkon Reader’s Theater background, scripts, video, and lesson plans that will help you focus on fluency modeling, practice, and performance. Why not plan some engaging options for fluency practice? Your students will beg for more, improve overall comprehension, and even better – start reading with confidence and enjoyment.

Learners Edge is passionately committed to providing you with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help you succeed in your classroom and in your career.

Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!

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