I tutor in my spare time in order to earn some extra money and because I love teaching. I have noticed that many kids can read and sound out words but struggle with their fluency. Fluency is being able to read accurately and quickly. Fluent readers read aloud without effort and with expression. This is so important because fluent readers can focus their attention on understanding what they are reading instead of figuring out the words they are reading.
I tutor a little boy who struggles with reading tests not because he didn’t understand the words, but because he has difficulty reading fast enough to get to the questions. He isn’t able to focus on the comprehension part of reading. Instead, he focuses on sounding each word out individually. These are a few things I will be doing with him to help him gain fluency.
1. Read to your child everyday, several times a day. The more they hear fluent reading being modeled the more they will learn how it should sound.
2. While reading to your child, take turns reading. You read a paragraph and then let them read it back to you. Point out how you read with expression and group words together instead of reading word by word.
3. Find a passage 50-100 words long that your child is able to read pretty easily. Set the timer for one minute and have them read until the minute is up. Do this everyday with the same passage to see their improvement. Four readings is usually enough for most students. Once they can finish the passage in a minute move to a different one.
4. At the library there are books on tape or books on CD that would be great for to listen to as well. They can follow along with the book while having fluent reading being modeled.
This is a very critical area of reading that is often neglected. It is something that can be developed over time and with lots of practice.