Six fluency strategies for improved academics and self-esteem start with reading accurately, quickly, and with expression. It is a crucial component of reading comprehension and academic performance. As a general rule, fluency strategies for struggling readers include building vocabulary, comprehension, active reading strategies, activating prior knowledge, focused attention, and consistent practice.
Often Children who struggle with reading fluency have difficulty understanding what they are reading, leading to poor academic performance, low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence in their abilities. However, many easy research-based strategies and techniques can help improve reading fluency, which we will dive into in this post.
Build Vocabulary for Better Reading Comprehension
Vocabulary development is crucial for reading fluency and comprehension. Children with a robust vocabulary can better understand what they are reading and make connections between words and concepts. A strong vocabulary is essential for reading comprehension and fluency. It allows children to understand the meaning of the words they encounter while reading. According to the National Reading Panel, vocabulary instruction can impact reading comprehension (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000).
Another study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that children with a more extensive vocabulary had higher reading comprehension levels and were better able to make inferences from text (Cromley & Azevedo, 2007).
Research has also found that vocabulary instruction was particularly effective for struggling readers. The study found that when struggling readers were taught vocabulary in the context of the text they were reading, they showed significant gains in reading comprehension and fluency (Cain & Oakhill, 2007).
A robust vocabulary is crucial for improving children’s reading fluency and comprehension skills, as it helps them understand the meaning of words and make connections between different concepts.
To help build vocabulary:
- Encourage children to read widely: Reading various materials can expose children to new words and concepts.
- Use context clues: Teach children to use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
- Provide direct instruction: Teach children new words by providing definitions and examples and using the words in sentences.
Improve Reading Skills with Effective Comprehension Strategies
According to numerous studies, effective comprehension strategies have proven to enhance children’s reading fluency and comprehension skills.
Effective comprehension strategies include:
- Predicting: Encourage children to predict what will happen next in a story based on prior knowledge and context clues.
- Visualizing: Have children create mental images of their reading to help them understand and remember the text.
- Summarizing: Ask children to summarize what they have read in their own words to ensure they have understood the text’s main ideas.
- Questioning: Have children ask themselves questions about what they are reading to ensure they are actively engaged with the text.
By employing these strategies, children can grasp the meaning of the text, establish connections between various concepts, and engage with the material meaningfully (National Institute for Literacy, 2008). For instance, a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology discovered that strategies like summarizing and questioning led to higher reading comprehension and fluency among elementary students (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006).
Research indicates that effective comprehension strategies can substantially enhance reading fluency by enabling children to comprehend and engage with reading material.
Active Reading Strategies to Boost Comprehension and Fluency
Active reading strategies can be crucial in improving reading fluency, as they keep children engaged and focused on the text. Children can actively interact with their reading material by using active reading strategies, such as asking questions, making predictions, and visualizing, leading to improved comprehension and fluency.
Research has shown that using active reading strategies is associated with higher levels of reading fluency and comprehension levels. For example, a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that using active reading strategies, such as making predictions and visualizing, was associated with higher reading comprehension and fluency in elementary school students (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006).
A study published in the Journal of Literacy Research found that active reading strategies were particularly effective for struggling readers. In addition, the study found that when struggling readers were taught active reading strategies, they showed significant gains in reading comprehension and fluency (Harris & Graham, 2009).
Active reading strategies include:
- Annotation: Encourage children to underline, highlight, or circle important information in the text to help them remember and understand what they are reading.
- Graphic organizers: Provide children with graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams, webs, or flowcharts to help them organize information and understand relationships between concepts.
- Summarizing: Have children summarize what they have read in their own words to ensure they have understood the text’s main ideas.
How Activating Prior Knowledge Enhances Reading Fluency
Activating prior knowledge can help improve reading fluency by providing children with a foundation of knowledge to build upon. When children connect what they are reading to what they already know, they can better understand and remember the text. This allows children to understand better and remember the text more effectively.
How to activate prior knowledge:
- Preview the text
- Make connections
- Use background knowledge.
When children preview the text, they get an overview of what it is about and can make predictions about what they will learn. This can also help to increase their motivation and engagement in the reading.
Encouraging children to connect what they are reading and their own experiences, other texts they have read, or current events can help deepen their understanding of the text. Drawing on their prior knowledge, they can relate the information to something familiar, making the reading more meaningful and relevant.
Teaching children to use their background knowledge to help them understand what they read is also an essential strategy for improving reading fluency. Using their prior knowledge, they can make sense of unfamiliar words and concepts, which can help to increase their comprehension and fluency. Additionally, when children use their background knowledge to help them understand their reading, they are more likely to retain the information over time.
Focus: An Essential Strategy for Reading Fluency
Paying attention is essential for reading fluency. Children who are easily distracted or have difficulty focusing may struggle with reading fluency.
To help children pay attention:
- Provide a quiet space: Create a quiet, distraction-free space for children to read.
- Use a timer: Set a timer for a designated amount of time and have children read until the timer goes off. This can help them stay focused and engaged.
- Take breaks: Encourage children to take short breaks if they feel distracted or tired. This can help them refocus and come back to reading with renewed energy.
Practice Reading: The Best Way to Improve Fluency
Research has consistently shown that practice is one of the most effective ways to improve reading fluency. According to a study by the National Reading Panel, repeated reading is a particularly effective method for improving fluency (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). In repeated reading, children read the exact text multiple times until they can read it accurately and fluently.
Improve Academic Performance and Self Esteem
Improved reading fluency can impact academic performance and self-esteem. For example, a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that children with higher reading fluency levels had higher academic achievement across multiple subjects, including math and science.
Additionally, children who struggle with reading fluency are at risk of experiencing lower levels of self-esteem and academic performance. For example, a study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities found that children with poor reading fluency were likelier to experience negative emotions, such as frustration and anxiety, which can impact their overall self-esteem and academic motivation (Barker et al., 1992).
Studies have also found that improving reading fluency through intervention programs can significantly improve academic performance and self-esteem. For example, the study found that children who participated in a reading intervention program focused on improving reading fluency significantly improved academic performance and self-esteem (Speece et al., 2010).
To help improve academic performance and self-esteem:
- Celebrate progress: Celebrate small achievements and progress to help build confidence and motivation.
- Provide positive feedback: Offer positive feedback and encouragement to help children feel proud of their accomplishments.
- Set achievable goals: Set achievable goals for children to work towards and celebrate when they reach them.
Success with reading fluency requires a combination of strategies and techniques. By practicing regularly, using comprehension strategies, building vocabulary, using active reading strategies, activating prior knowledge, paying attention, and improving academic performance and self-esteem, children can improve their reading fluency and develop a love of reading.
Reading fluency is a critical component of reading comprehension and academic success. There are many strategies and techniques that can help improve reading fluency, including practice, comprehension strategies, building vocabulary, active reading strategies, activating prior knowledge, paying attention, and improving academic performance and self-esteem. By implementing these strategies and techniques, children can become more confident and successful readers, leading to increased academic success and a lifelong love of reading.