Fluency is Critical to Reading Comprehension
Hi again! Welcome back! I’m hoping that if you’re reading this, you have already tried a few of the reading strategies that I listed in a few of my previous posts. Hopefully, your child is beginning to develop a love for reading, even if it is only in the beginning stages! Today, I would like to share with you reasons for why fluency is critical to reading. Being able to read fluently is extremely critical to reading comprehension.
Just like with everything we learn to do in life, this is how reading starts. Kids have to put one foot in front of the other, and continue to move forward! This is the only way to succeed, and I promise you that it will be worthwhile in the long-run!
As I have stated in some of my posts, reading begins with the ABC’s. Kids have to know what each letter of the alphabet looks like and the sound/s that each letter makes. This is where reading begins.
Another crucial aspect of learning how to read is being able to read basic words by sounding out each letter and putting them together as a whole. This is phonics, at its most basic level. Today, I would like to introduce you to fluency, and explain why fluency is extremely important to reading, on any level. Learning to reading fluently will completely set the basis for reading comprehension for your child.
Does Fluency Really Impact Reading Comprehension?
The answer to this question is…definitely, yes! Once children have acquired the basic reading skills, such as learning their letters and sounds, and using phonics to decode words, they are ready to learn how to begin reading fluently. I think this is probably the hardest part of the reading process for most kids.
I know you’re probably asking yourselves, “What on earth is she talking about?” Totally understandable if you’re not a teacher! Fluency is comprised of several different parts, and I will try to make this as painless as possible to understand!
After kids have had enough experience with reading, and have learned to read complete sentences, paragraphs, and even simple books, they will then need to work on picking up speed as they are reading, while decoding and interpreting the meanings of the words, all at the same time! This is where is gets a little more complicated. However, I can totally assure you that it’s not impossible! After all, you and I learned to do it!
I’m sure you have heard your child read like a robot at some point.This is the way many children begin reading. However, as their reading improves, reading like a robot will not help them understand the text. This is the whole point of reading! If children don’t understand what they’re reading, then they aren’t actually reading. They’re merely “word calling.” This is where fluency comes in.
Once your child learns to read fluently, then they will see reading in a whole new light. It is my sincere hope that, someday, your child will finally realize that reading can “take them places,” and allow them to experience things they have only imagined!
Learning to Read Fluently
There are several different ways to teach children to read fluently. It’s not impossible! You and I learned how to do this, right? We just didn’t know that was what we were learning to do at the time!
One of the best ways to help your child learn to read fluently is by reading an easy book to them, just like you’re having a conversation, using the proper reading speed and voice inflections. I would suggest starting with Dr. Seuss books. They’re repetitive and easy to remember!
You might read the same book several times during the week. Kids love to copy what their parents and teachers do! So…read like you would want your child to read. Then, watch and see how they try to imitate your reading! In doing this, you will be modeling how reading is supposed to sound. It will also serve to instill the love of reading in your kiddos!
When I was a teacher, I always made a point of reading to my class every single day. I thought it was important. I would read at the proper speed, and use different voices for the characters! I tried to make the stories “come alive!”
I still have kiddos of all ages in my tutoring program who tell me that they love it when their teacher reads to them! My high school kids even seem to enjoy this, although they may not say it in so many words! I can see it in their eyes as they tell me what their teachers read that day, and even what they have read! (They have to remain “cool!” After all, they are teenagers!)
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Another way to help your child develop fluency is by having him/her read books on their reading level. You might even start a little below their reading level to give them more confidence. If the words are easy enough to decode and understand, then they will naturally increase their reading speed. You might even hear them trying to put voices with the different characters in the story! (That’s when it gets cute!),
Next, ask them basic questions about the story. These may include things that deal with the setting of the story, characters, the main problem in the story, how the problem was solved, etc..
This is how you will be able to see if your child is truly understanding what he/she is reading! This is where comprehension takes place! And… this is the beauty of reading!
After your child masters the art of reading fluently, gradually increase the difficulty of the books. This will challenge your child, but in a good way! By listening to your child read and asking him/her comprehension questions, you will be able to discern if they are truly “getting” the story. This is truly the pathway of learning to read!
I sincerely wish your child all the success in the world as he/she journeys on the road towards reading success! I would love to hear any comments or questions you may have. Please leave them below, and I will be more than happy to get back with you! And, as always…Happy reading to you and your child!