Fluency in Reading: 12 Ways to Increase

how to increase reading fluency
Model fluency when reading aloud

Reading fluency is the ability to read with accuracy and expression when reading aloud.  Fluent readers read more quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on comprehension.  Since fluent readers gain more meaning from text, they seem to enjoy reading and therefore may read more often.

Students struggling with fluency sound hesitant when reading aloud. This could be due to struggling with the meaning of text or decoding words. Therefore, addressing fluency difficulties is important in learning to read proficiently.

12 Activities/Strategies to Promote Reading Fluency

  • Give students many opportunities to read different texts at their reading level. This builds confidence along with fluency.
  • Encourage silent reading where students can practice their reading without judgement. However, silent reading alone does not increase fluency with struggling readers. Adult supervision is necessary to assess progress.
  • Remind children of the characteristics of fluency so they understand what it means and how they can improve.
  • Allow children to use a whisper phone so they can hear themselves whisper read. The ability to self-correct is important in learning to read.
  • Model fluent reading when reading aloud to students so they can hear what it sounds like
  • Emphasize to students that fluency focuses on accuracy rather than speed.
  • Let students use a ruler or their finger to follow the words across the page while you read. This strategy helps students stay focused on reading, guides story rhythm and helps teachers identify hearing or vision (tracking) issues.
  • Encourage children to reread passages multiple times to build confidence.
  • Drill sight words to make children more familiar with common words in text.
  • Try different genres and book lengths to motivate students to learn.
  • Experiment with different font and text sizes. Students with visual difficulties may find larger text or text on different colored paper easier to read.
  • Preview new or challenging words prior to introducing a new text.

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