Article by: Lori Kennedy
Lori Kennedy is the lower years assistant principal at High Meadows School in Roswell, Georgia, USA.
Reading fluency is more than just how fast someone can read.
Accuracy, intonation, emphasis and correctly phrasing words together are all part of reading fluency that is used to increase reading comprehension in young children. Reading consistently and showing an appreciation of reading are two great ways for increasing comprehension, and confidence, in young readers.
Here are Lori’s five tips on how to create fluency in young readers at home and in the classroom:
1. Read to your child.
This is the first and easiest way to increase fluency. The younger you start reading to a child, the better – even before they can read themselves. When you read to them, you are modeling reading pace that ultimately helps your child put together groups of words into phrases. Children also pick up on the rhythm of words when you read to them.
2. Use the rhythm in poetry and music to make reading interesting.
Poems are shorter than books, which can help when encouraging struggling readers practice. Rhyming poems are catchy and capture kids’ attention. Singing poems and songs is good for children to hear. In the classroom, a good activity that involves everyone is for each child to read a line of a book and play off of each other.
3. Read out loud to your child.
In their younger years, reading out loud to children helps them develop their word recognition skills. Developing these skills helps them decode words on their own as they get older. Reading out loud to them also models HOW to read, like grouping phrases together, when and where to add expression, and understanding of pace. As your child grows up, the reading level should increase in difficulty and reflect their individual progression. Parents sometimes underestimate how important it is to read aloud to their children as they get older.
4. Practice reading.
Practice reading with your child by alternating lines. A parent reads one line, and the child reads the next line. This type of practice helps a child build all aspects of reading fluency.
5. Demonstrate the love of reading.
Let your child see you enjoy reading and involve them in daily label reading– signs, information in doctor’s offices, info in grocery stores, etc. It may start with three or four words together, but soon children can build longer phrases and sentences. This is a critical part of reading comprehension.