Reading fluently means reading with appropriate phrasing, pauses (for punctuation), pace (or speed) and expression. Reading fluently also means reading texts automatically and accurately. Students who read text fluently are usually able to comprehend text easier because they can devote more of their energy and effort towards understanding what they are reading, rather than focusing on decoding words.
Building Fluency at HomeBelow are some strategies that can be used at home to help your child become a more fluent reader.
- Read aloud to your child to model fluent reading. As you read, try to model what it sounds like to be a fluent reader (reading with expression, at a natural pace, taking time to pause for punctuation, etc.). Whenever possible let your child follow along with a copy of the text so that they can see and hear the text that is being read to them. Remember, your child is never too old to be read to!
- Access audio texts or books online from RAZ Kids or other sites. Allow your child to listen to audio texts. Audio texts provide additional opportunities for them to listen to fluent reading.
- Read short phrases or sentences aloud to your child and have them "echo" read the same sentence or phrase back to you. Remember to use good pacing and expression as you do this!
- Take turns reading books aloud with your child. You can read every other paragraph or every other page. This will allow them to practice tracking text as it is read, it will give them more exposure to listening to what fluent reading sounds like, as well as give them an opportunity to try to read fluently with support.
- Have your child read books that are at their independent reading level (this type of book may otherwise be considered "easy"). Instead of focusing on decoding unfamiliar words, your child can easily read these texts to practice reading with proper phrasing, pacing, and expression.
- Read predictable books that repeat a similar phrase or sentence (an example of this would be the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Bill Martin, Jr. where the text reads and repeats "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a _____ looking at me."). Your child will be able to read predictible texts easier and will have a chance to practice reading accurately and more fluently.
- Read rhymes and poems to your child and have them read them to you!
- Encourage your child to read books aloud. They can read to an adult, a sibling, a friend, a pet, or even their favorite stuffed animal.
- After your child reads a book, have him or her return back to their favorite part in the book. Then have your child reread a short section (this could range from a few sentences, to a paragraph, or the whole page depending on text length and difficulty) aloud several times in order to work on reading at an appropriate pace, with good phrasing and good expression.
- Practice sight words several times a week. Frequent practice will improve automaticity and accuracy of words that are frequently encountered in text. By practicing sight words it makes it so your child is able to easily read these words, rather than focusing their decoding energy on them when they are encountered in text. See the link on my website for additional information about sight words as well as activities that can be done at home to practice them.
- Allow your child to use a tracker to help them follow along and keep their place as they are reading if needed.
- Choose books and topics that interest your child so they will be motivated to read!