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December 31, 2013

What is Fluency?

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy and plodding.

Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text and between the text and their background knowledge. In other words, fluent readers recognize words and comprehend at the same time. Less fluent readers, however, must focus their attention on figuring out the words, leaving them little attention for understanding the text.

What it feels like to me: A child’s perspective

When a child has a difficulty or frustration, they are usually unable to express what is causing this feeling. Instead they may say, “ I hate this!“ ,“It’s stupid!“, or they may avoid the task all together. Those few children who are able to express themselves often tell me:


What I see at home: A parent’s perspective

Here are some clues for parents that a child may be having reading difficulties as a result of his or her fluency:


What I see in the classroom: A teacher’s perspective

Here are some clues for teachers that a child may be having reading difficulties as a result of his or her fluency:

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