How to Develop Oral Reading Fluency in English

Oral Reading Fluency is a measure of a student’s capacity to read texts with ease.

It is one of the essential skills to develop and vital for academic success. There are three building blocks for fluency: phonemes, phonology, and orthography. Combined in a way that allows the student to plan words and sentence structure, all three make for fluency.

For information to seem natural and fluid when read aloud, the pupil must have progressed beyond deciphering individual words. Knowing how the language sounds and the grammar of frequent phrases cannot be overstated.

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Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash

What Is Fluency?

In school, students are considered fluent in their reading when they demonstrate the ability to read literature accurately, at a reasonable rate, and with expression. Fluency is recognized as one of the big five reading pillars, along with phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. 

According to research findings, when pupils have sufficient training and practice, they can recognize words more effortlessly and interpret language more strategically. 

When a reader can recognize words and understand what they read simultaneously without difficulty, we say such a person is a skilled reader. Although studies have shown that developing reading fluency is helpful for students of all ages who seek to become better readers, it is typically emphasized throughout the early to middle elementary school years.

What Is Oral Reading Fluency?

Reading linked text fast, precisely, and with expression is known as oral reading fluency. Where decoding the text on the page requires no mental effort from the reader, we say the reader has oral reading fluency. 

Reading aloud fluently is one of the most critical aspects of reading comprehension. Students who read quickly and accurately are more likely to understand what they are reading because they concentrate on the text’s meaning.

Fluency in reading refers to a person’s reading speed, accuracy, automaticity, and expressiveness. It implies that a youngster can accurately and instinctively detect and decode words and comprehend them when they are read aloud by an adult. 

It’s difficult for pupils who struggle to read fluently to concentrate on the meaning of their reading. This is because they’re so intent on getting the mechanics of reading.

Key Features of Oral Reading Fluency

In times past, educators acknowledged that reading fluency is an essential skill. Fluency is one of the crucial building blocks of reading because the development of fluency is associated to understanding, according to decades of research.

When a pupil reads smoothly, they are more likely to comprehend what they are reading.

According to the principle of automaticity, we all have finite mental energy. If you wish to multitask or become effective at a difficult work like reading, you must first master the component activities to the point where they are performed naturally. 

A proficient reader who can decipher words effortlessly can devote their complete focus to comprehending the text. To become experienced readers, our kids must become text-automatic to focus on intent.

Why Is Oral Reading Fluency Essential?

Researchers have established a link between students’ reading fluency and comprehension. It is difficult for students who are not competent in the language to grasp the overall content of a piece of writing since they spend their cognitive resources interpreting each word. 

Fluency and automaticity are sometimes used interchangeably, although there are important distinctions. Automaticity refers to the speed with which children can recognize letters in a word, correlate letters with sounds, blend sounds, speak a word, and recall the intent of a word. Words can be processed in less than a second by proficient pupils.

Mathematical study is not exempt from the influence of automaticity. Mathematical concepts can’t be learned effectively if students aren’t fluent in the fundamentals of computation. In addition to word fluency, reading fluency incorporates the pupils’ intonation, phrasing, and gestures while reading text.

 Fluency isn’t just about being able to read quickly; it’s also about understanding what you are reading. If you’re a fast reader, you may not be able to comprehend what you’re reading; in addition, there are some situations in which slow reading is necessary for comprehension. 

How to Improve a Child’s Oral Reading Fluency

Struggling pupils can use the following research-based classroom teaching techniques to improve oral reading fluency:

Students should be made to read short paragraphs repeatedly until they reach the appropriate degree of fluency for that particular passage. Repetitive readings should be timed, while the teacher should provide remedial feedback and instruction.

Make it a typical school practice to assign two students the roles of coach and student in a peer-assisted learning strategy known as PALS. During reading, the “coach” listens and corrects the “pupil.” Repeated practice will help the students learn quickly.

Ask students to read a piece while listening to an audio recording of the passage. This aids reading comprehension. Students can work in pairs or independently on this assignment.

The teacher can read the initial part of a sentence, and then the learner finishes it. Throughout the text, this procedure should be utilized repeatedly.

Whether your pupil reads to you or you read to your pupil, make sure to discuss the text. Open-ended questions such as “What did you think of…? and “How would you feel if…?” Asking “What do you suppose would happen if…?” is preferable to inquiries requiring a simple one-word response.

When feasible, assist your youngster in connecting fiction and actual life. For instance, share a childhood memory that the text prompted you to recall after reading a story. Encourage your kid to discuss their ideas and experiences based on their grade. 

Having such conversations with your youngster conveys the message that the objective of reading is to comprehend and reflect on the book, as opposed to simply reading the words.

Make sure to review, measure and conduct proper assessments. 

To Wrap Up

In school, a teacher can be a model and provide essential education on fluency by using the details in this guide. New non-native English speakers can be helped by frequent intervention and continuous education.

Whether you instruct first-grade emergent pupils or help middle-schoolers accelerate toward grade-level competency, fostering kids’ reading fluency is crucial. Fluency is an often-overlooked literacy skill, although it is essential for determining a student’s reading proficiency.

Even the most seasoned readers find it difficult to multitask. For kids to become fluent, they must be freed from the tedious chore of decoding.  

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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