Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction: Kindergarten through Grade 3

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction: Kindergarten through Grade 3

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction: Kindergarten through Grade 3

Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction: Kindergarten through Grade 3

Excerpt

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy and plodding.

Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text and between the text and their background knowledge. In other words, fluent readers recognize words and comprehend at the same time. Less fluent readers, however, must focus their attention on figuring out the words, leaving them little attention for understanding the text.

FLUENCY

More fluent readers

focus their attention on making connections among the ideas in a text and between
these ideas and their background knowledge. Therefore, they are able to focus on
comprehension .

Less fluent readers

must focus their attention primarily on decoding individual words. Therefore, they have
little attention left for comprehending the text .

Fluency develops gradually over considerable time and through substantial practice. At the earliest stage of reading development, students’ oral reading is slow and labored because students are just learning to “break the code”—to attach sounds to letters and to blend letter sounds into recognizable words.

Even when students recognize many words automatically, their oral reading still may be expressionless, not fluent. To read with expression, readers must be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks. These chunks include phrases and clauses. Readers must know to pause appropriately within and at the ends of sentences and when to change emphasis and . . .

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