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Concepts and Research
What is Fluency?
Fluency (automaticity) is reading words with no noticeable cognitive or mental effort. It is having mastered word recognition skills to the point of overlearning. Fundamental skills are so "automatic" that they do not require conscious attention.
Examples of automaticity:
- shifting gears on a car
- playing a musical instrument
- playing a sport (serving a tennis ball)
Point to Remember:
Fluency is not an end in itself but a critical gateway to comprehension. Fluent reading frees resources to process meaning.
For students to develop fluency, they must:
- perform the task or demonstrate the skill accurately, and
- perform the preskills of the task quickly and effortlessly.
Once accurate, fluency develops through plentiful opportunities for practice in which the task can be performed with a high rate of success.
Definitions of key Fluency terminology
- Automaticity: The ability to translate letters-to-sounds-to-words fluently, effortlessly. LaBerge and Samuels (1974; see References) described the fluent reader as "one whose decoding processes are automatic, requiring no conscious attention" (e.g., Juel, 1991; see References). Such capacity then enables readers to allocate their attention to the comprehension and meaning of the text.
- Fluency: The combination of accuracy and fluency. Fluency in oral reading includes additional dimensions involving the "quality" of oral reading including intonation and expression.
- Passage Reading: Structured activity in which students can read stories or connected text designed to provide practice and application of decoding and comprehension skills. Passage reading provides students the practice to become accurate and fluent.
|What Teachers Should Know||What Teachers Should Be Able to Do|
|(modified from Moats, 1999; see References)|
What Accuracy and Fluency with the Code and Connected Text Looks Like:
Children who are automatic with the code:
- Identify letter-sound correspondences accurately and quickly.
- Identify familiar spelling patterns to increase decoding efficiency.
- Apply maximum resources to the difficult task of blending together isolated phonemes to make words.
- Apply knowledge of the alphabetic code to identify words in isolation and connected text fluently.
Fluency Research Says:
- rely primarily on the letters in the word rather than context or pictures to identify familiar and unfamiliar words.
- process virtually every letter.
- use letter-sound correspondences to identify words.
- have a reliable strategy for decoding words.
- read words for a sufficient number of times for words to become automatic.
(Hasbrouck, 1998; see References)
Why Focus on Fluency?
To gain meaning from text, students must read fluently.
- Proficient readers are so automatic with each component skill (phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary) that they focus their attention on constructing meaning from the print (Kuhn & Stahl, 2000, see References).
- Component skills need to be well developed to support understanding.
- It is not enough to be simply accurate; the skill must be automatic.
|Dr. Reid Lyon:
|Video clip used with the permission of Reading Rockets, a project of Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA). More information is available at: http://www.ReadingRockets.org/|