Best Way to Develop Automaticity in Reading

Numerous frustrated readers lack automaticity, which keeps them from developing into proficient, well-rounded readers. When doing something, we act without consciously thinking about it thanks to automaticity.

Also, automaticity means that it allows you to read and spell words quickly. In this post, we are going to take a look at what this important skill actually is, and why we need automaticity in reading.

We are also going to go over some tips and tricks for acquiring this skill to improve your reading immensely.

What Is Automaticity in Reading?

An automatic gear shift in a BMW also sporting electronic parking brake.
Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

When a skill becomes automatic, we are no longer required to consciously consider each step as it occurs. Alternatively, we are able to do it effortlessly, and occasionally even while consciously contemplating something else.

We can quickly activate or use the skill. After achieving a high level of accuracy, automatic skilled performance emerges with continued practice.

Do you recall your initial bike-riding lessons? Every decision you made had to be carefully considered. You probably rode slowly so that you could process multiple actions and pieces of information while attempting to maintain balance.

You could learn to ride a bike without consciously thinking about each action after receiving direct instruction and lots of focused practice.

Automaticity in reading refers to the capacity to recognize or decode words quickly, easily, and accurately. “Expert” readers can decode words while paying little attention to the decoding process.

Why Is This so Important for Reading?

If students want to be proficient readers and learners, they must advance their reading automaticity skill. Students’ fluency and comprehension will suffer without automaticity.

Consider this: A student spends all of their mental energy trying to decipher nearly every phrase. How well will they be able to read the sentence?

What chances do you think students have of truly understanding what they read if their reading is irregular? Or if they are getting distracted by several words at once? The working memory of a student is limited.

Automaticity may be to blame if a student tells you they detest reading. When the student realizes how much time and effort it takes to read every word, he or she may feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

In the end, it is your duty to help your pupils in learning these important skills. If you don’t teach them the right way to do so, they can’t gain this ability automatically.

Tips for Developing Automaticity

If your students have reading difficulties, there are plenty of things you can do to help them as a teacher. Below are a few ideas you can try on your own in your classroom.

Practice Phomemes and Words That Rhyme

The English language has 44 separate phonemes, or sounds. Students can start to grasp these sounds by practicing them with you, using flash cards, or in whole-group settings on your interactive whiteboard.

Students can decipher an unknown word by relating it to something they already know when they can recognize rhyming terms. Your students are asked to determine whether three words rhyme. Ask the students to draw connections between the spellings of each word.

Reading With a Timer

Ask your kid to read as much as they can during the allotted one minute. Note where they paused when the timer runs off, and talk about any passages they had problems reading.

The students should read the same text twice while the timer is set for one minute again. Observe to see how much further they can go after some practice.

Let your students view both tapes and discuss their observations of their development afterward.

Your Instructions Should Be Explicit

It is imperative that you practice the instructions you intend to deploy. Use a variety of exercises that show your process during small group instructions. To better grasp what you are reading, use a variety of reading techniques.

Reading, Reading, and More Reading!

In the end, the most effective approach, or strategy, is to simply have your pupils read as much as possible. The more books they are reading, the more words they will be exposed to.

Once they see the same word they are struggling with for the fifth time, they won’t have issues with reading that anymore.

Children must read words repeatedly in order to develop automaticity for reading, just like when riding a bike or tying their shoes. This may need struggling kids to see a word more than ten times before they can retain it without being reminded.

Children can enhance this skill by repeatedly reading word lists, phrases, or brief texts. They will become better readers the more they read, at which point we may start teaching fluency and comprehension.

In Conclusion

Practice reading material with a timer to increase the reading speed and help their brain make sense of words faster. Have your pupils take on reading challenges to help associate new words with their meaning.

Lastly, always make sure they are reading at least 30 minutes a day. You should also allow for breaks to get their reading brain back into peak performing condition.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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