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Teaching Fluency . in the early grades. http://www.reconnectioncompany.com. Leecy Wise. Today’s Agenda. Review What is fluency? Research on fluency Tested techniques for teaching fluency. A Focus on Fluency

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Teaching fluency

Teaching Fluency

in the early grades


Leecy Wise

Today s agenda
Today’s Agenda

  • Review

  • What is fluency?

  • Research on fluency

  • Tested techniques for teaching fluency

A Focus on Fluency

by Jean Osborn, M.Ed., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,Fran Lehr, M.A., Lehr & Associates, Champaign, Illinois, withDr. Elfrieda H. Hiebert, Visiting Research Professor, University of California, Berkeley


  • Students who do not develop reading fluency, regardless of how bright they are, are likely to remain poor readers throughout their lives (National Reading Panel, 2000).


  • This lack of instructional focus may help explain one of the findings of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (Pinnell et al., 1995): Forty-four percent of American 4th grade students cannot read fluently, even when they read grade-level stories aloud under supportive testing conditions.


  • According to NRP, fluency is “the ability to read a text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression”

Competing tasks
Competing Tasks

  • Word recognition

  • Comprehension

    The more attention readers must give to identifying words, the less attention they have left to give to comprehension (Foorman & Mehta, 2002; LaBerge & Samuels, 1974; Samuels, 2002).


  • Fluency, it seems, serves as a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers are able to identify words accurately and automatically, they can focus most of their attention on comprehension.


  • Even when children learn to recognize many words automatically and to read grade-level text at a reasonable rate, their oral reading still may not sound “natural,” because they do not yet read with expression – or prosody.


  • Prosody is a compilation of spoken language features that includes stress or emphasis, pitch variations, intonation, reading rate, and pausing (Dowhower, 1987; Schreiber, 1987).


On some reading assessments, elements of prosody are used to distinguish fluent from less fluent reading.

  • NAEP’s Integrated Reading Performance Record Oral Reading Fluency Scale

  • Teaching prosody

Two approaches nrp

  • Repeated oral reading

  • Independent silent reading

Repeated oral reading
Repeated oral reading

  • Samuels 1979 model – based on classroom observation

  • Reading is a skill that needs repeated practice

Repeated oral reading instructional procedures
Repeated oral readingInstructional Procedures

  • Teacher-student assisted reading using a teacher feedback technique - Can also be used with choral and echo reading.

  • Readers theater -students rehearse and perform a play for peers or others.

  • Paired reading - a fluent reader – generally a parent or other adult – reads with a child who is having difficulty.

Repeated oral reading instructional procedures1
Repeated oral readingInstructional Procedures

  • Tape-assisted reading (reading while listening). In tape-assisted reading, students read along in their books with an audiotaped fluent reader. (Outperformed teacher led group in comprehension)

Repeated oral reading instructional procedures2
Repeated oral readingInstructional Procedures

  • Computer-assisted reading - programs use speech recognition software and immediate feedback as students read aloud a text presented on a computer screen.

Repeated oral reading instructional procedures3
Repeated oral readingInstructional Procedures

  • Partner (or buddy) reading. Paired students take turns reading aloud to each other.

  • Computer-assisted reading - programs use speech recognition software and immediate feedback as students read aloud a text presented on a computer screen. Use student feedback technique.

Repeated oral reading all techniques
Repeated oral readingAll techniques…

  • (1) provide students with many opportunities to practice reading,

  • (2) provide students with guidance in how fluent readers read and with feedback to help them become aware of and correct their mistakes.

Independent silent reading
Independent Silent Reading

  • Struggling readers need many more practice opportunities than repeated readings in the classroom can provide

Independent silent reading the mathew syndrome
Independent Silent ReadingThe Mathew Syndrome

  • Matthew 25:29 – “unto everyone that hath shall be given . . . ; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” Or, in more familiar terms, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

  • Students who are good readers read more, get more practice, and so become better readers.

Independent silent reading1
Independent Silent Reading

  • Reading ability directly related to how much a student reads – Reading is a skill that must be practiced.

Independent silent reading2
Independent Silent Reading

  • Teachers have long been encouraged to use procedures such as free-time reading, voluntary reading, Sustained Silent Reading, Uninterrupted Sustained SilentReading, and Drop Everything and Read.

  • Incentive programs (such as pizza parties, free books, and class celebrations) as ways to reward students for reading a large number of books.

Teaching fluency

  • National Reading Panel (2000) did not endorse independent silent reading in the classroom as a way to build fluency. However, neither did it reject the practice.

  • Why? Limited research and results

Red flags to silent reading
Red Flags to Silent Reading

  • Unless students are held responsible for what they read, some may spend independent reading time daydreaming, talking, or engaging in other off-task activities (Kuhn & Stahl, 2003).

Red flags to silent reading1
Red Flags to Silent Reading

  • There is no way for teachers to evaluate the rate, accuracy, and prosody of their reading; thus, there is no opportunity for the teachers to provide constructive feedback (Shanahan, 2002)

  • Use of independent silent reading relies on students’ ability to improve their reading on their own – and most struggling readers simply do not have this ability.

Fact remains
Fact Remains

  • Struggling readers are unlikely to make reading gains unless teachers find ways to encourage them to read more on their own, both inside and outside of school. Indeed, research about the out-of-school reading habits of students has shown that even 15 minutes a day of independent reading can expose students to more than a million words of text in a year (Anderson, Wilson, & Fielding, 1988).

What can teachers do to encourage independent reading
What Can Teachers Do to Encourage Independent Reading?

  • Help students learn how to select books at appropriate reading levels and related to their interests. Make book selection a part of the regular reading group activity.

  • After silent reading, set aside time for students to discuss what they read. Have students recommend books to each other.

  • Involve parents and other family members by giving them tips on how to read with their children.

Next time

  • General Review of Concepts for teaching reading in the early grades.

  • Models of using technology to teach reading with assignments for presentations from each group.

Http www reconnectioncompany com click on the literacy resources pre k 5 teachers
http://www.reconnectioncompany.comclick on the Literacy Resources Pre-K-5 Teachers