Fluency Training as an Instructional Strategy

Fluency Training as an Instructional Strategy

“Fluency is the ability to read text with satisfactory accuracy, speed, and expression, with attention to punctuation and intonation. Research has shown that there is a close relationship between fluency and comprehension.” (National Reading Panel Report, 2000).

Fluency develops along a continuum, from disfluent to fluent. Beginning readers operate, by definition, primarily at the disfluent end of the continuum. With instruction, time and practice, fluency gradually improves. (Rasinski, 1990)

There are three well-known methods for helping students improve their reading fluency. These methods are most appropriate for students reading at the first grade level and above (Morris, 2003).

1. Easy Reading: The student reads text at his/her independent level. The focus is on improving phrasing and speed with text that can be read with very few errors.
2. Taped Readings: A teacher/tutor records a story that is slightly above the student’s instructional level. The student then practices reading the story with the tape. This can be done at school or home. After several practice reads, the student reads the story without the tape to another person (teacher, parent, and so on).
3. Repeated Readings: The student reads the same text passage at least 4 times (Rashotte & Torgesen, 1985), optimally, on 2 different days . Students begin with an initial timing, several additional readings for practice, and a final timing. Students graph the results of both the initial and the final timing. Using the graph, the student is able to observe the improvement in reading rate attained as a result of repeatedly reading the passage. Over time, this repeated reading practice results in overall increase in student reading rates, as well as improvement in fluency (Dowhower, 1987, Herman, 1985).

References
Dowhower, S.L. (1987). Effects of repeated reading on second-grade transitional readers’ fluency and comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 389-406.

Herman, P.A. (1985). The effects of repeated readings on reading rate, speech pauses, and word recognition accuracy. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 553-565.

Morris, D., & Slavin, R.E. (2003). Every Child Reading. New York: Allyn & Bacon.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction. NIH Publication No. 00-4769, 3-1 to 3-43. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Rashotte, C.A. & Torgesen, J.K. (1985). Repeated reading and reading fluency in learning disabled children. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 180-188.

Rasinski, T.V. (1990). Effects of repeated reading and listening-while-reading on reading fluency. Journal of Educational Research, 83(3), 147-150.

Sample Repeated Reading Procedure as Used in the Instructional Plan

The student reads through a passage repeatedly, silently or aloud, and receives help with reading errors.

Materials:
Reading book
Stop watch (if readings are to be timed)

Preparation:
The teacher or peer tutor working with the student should be trained in advance to use the listening passage preview approach.
Procedure:
1. Read together the story title and key words.
2. The teacher reads the story to the students, they follow along silently, tracking with their finger
3. Students choral read the story out loud, all together.
4. Team the students up in pairs, have them time each other, reading the story through once. Students will graph the number of words per minute for this first timing. Their graphs are also under the red tab in their binders.
5. After the first timing is graphed, students take turns reading the story aloud to each other until everyone has practiced the story passae repeatedly until either the student has read the passage a total of 4 times (Rashotte & Torgesen, 1985) or the student reads the passage at the rate of at least 85 to 100 words per minute (Dowhower, 1987; Herman, 1985).
6. Each pair then takes turns timing each other again, and graphing.

References
Dowhower, S.L. (1987). Effects of repeated reading on second-grade transitional readers’ fluency and comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 389-406.

Herman, P.A. (1985). The effects of repeated readings on reading rate, speech pauses, and word recognition accuracy. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 553-565.

Rashotte, C.A. & Torgesen, J.K. (1985). Repeated reading and reading fluency in learning disabled children. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 180-188.