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The Role Fluency Plays in Comprehension: Helping Struggling Readers

The role fluency plays in comprehension

The role fluency plays in comprehension is that it builds a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. It allows students time to focus on what the text is saying, enabling them to make connections between what they are reading and their background knowledge.

As a parent, you want your child to succeed academically, and reading is a fundamental skill that plays a critical role in their future academic success. However, if your child is struggling with reading, knowing how to help them can be challenging.  Understanding fluency, its role in comprehension, and ways to enhance it will help you and your struggling reader. 

What is Fluency?

Fluency is the ability to read accurately, smoothly, and with expression. Fluent readers recognize words automatically without struggling over decoding issues. When reading silently, fluent readers group words rapidly to gain meaning from their reading, which then translates into their understanding of the text. When reading aloud, fluent readers sound natural. Non-fluent readers read slowly and choppy.

The Importance of Fluency for Reading Comprehension

Fluency is essential for reading comprehension because it builds a bridge between word recognition and understanding. It allows students time to focus on what the text is saying, enabling them to connect what they are reading and their background knowledge. On the other hand, non-fluent readers have to spend more time decoding, leaving less time for comprehending the text. Furthermore, due to mistakes made when reading, they will often have to read the same passage several times to attain comprehension. In addition, non-fluent readers usually do not read with expression, which can further impede their understanding.

Research has shown that fluency plays a crucial role in reading comprehension. When reading fluently, a reader can recognize and decode words quickly and accurately, allowing them to focus their attention on understanding the meaning of the text. This leads to improved comprehension because the reader can devote more mental energy to higher-level thinking tasks such as making inferences, identifying main ideas, and connecting information across different parts of the text. On the other hand, if a reader is not fluent, they may need help recognizing and decoding words, which can slow down their reading and make it more challenging to understand the text’s overall meaning. This can lead to frustration, decreased reading motivation, and poorer reading comprehension.

How to Improve Fluency

If your child is struggling with fluency, there are several strategies you can use to help them improve. Here are some tips:

  1. Read Aloud with Your Child: Reading aloud to your child can help them develop an ear for fluent reading. As you read, encourage them to follow along and pay attention to how you read. Model fluent reading by using expression and emphasizing punctuation.
  2. Repeated Reading: Repeated reading involves reading the same text several times. This strategy helps improve fluency by allowing the reader to become more familiar with the text and build their confidence in reading it. Encourage your child to read a passage several times until they can read it fluently.
  3. Partner Reading: Partner reading involves taking turns reading with a partner. This strategy helps improve fluency because it provides opportunities for feedback and support. As your child reads, provide positive feedback and assistance with difficult words or passages.
  4. Audio Books: Listening to audiobooks can help your child develop fluency. As they listen, encourage them to follow the text and pay attention to the reader’s expression and pacing.

How can parents help struggling readers with fluency

Read with your child.

Reading with your child is one of the best ways to improve fluency. As you read with your child, encourage them to read along with you, and model fluent reading by using expression and emphasizing important words. This will help your child develop their own fluency skills and begin to recognize how fluent reading sounds and feels.

Provide opportunities for independent reading.

Independent reading is an excellent way for your child to practice fluency independently. Encourage your child to choose books at their level, and provide them with a comfortable and quiet space to read. Set aside time each day for independent reading, and let your child choose the books they want to read. This will help them develop a love for reading and improve their fluency at the same time.

Use technology

There are many technology tools available to improve fluency. Websites and apps such as Reading Eggs, Star Fall, and Epic! offer a wide range of leveled reading materials and activities to help students practice fluency skills. In addition, many e-readers and tablets have built-in features that can help with fluency.

Play games

Games are a fun way to help your child improve their fluency. For example, you can play word games such as Scrabble or Boggle or create your own games using flashcards with sight words or everyday phrases. This will help your child recognize and read words more quickly and improve their overall fluency.

Seek professional help

If your child is struggling with fluency despite your efforts to help them, it may be time to seek professional help. A reading specialist or tutor can provide your child with individualized instruction and support to help them improve their fluency and overall reading skills.

Fluency is essential to reading comprehension, and improving fluency can significantly improve overall reading skills. As a parent, there are many things you can do to help your child improve their fluency, such as reading with them, providing opportunities for independent reading, using technology, playing games, and seeking professional help if needed. In addition, by working with your child and their teacher, you can help them develop the fluency skills they need to become successful readers.