Reading Fluency is more than speed!! What!?! So you thought speed was the measurement of fluency….No?!? Then What Is Reading Fluency and how do we help little learners achieve fluency?

Fluency is the ability to read with accuracy, speed, and expression. Fluent reading is essential for tackling lengthy or complex texts. It acts as a bridge between word recognition and comprehension, allowing for a smoother and more complete understanding of what is being read.

How do we help our little learners obtain reading fluency? Here are some tips that have worked for my students.

Tip #1 Fluency Is Not SPEED!!

Throw out the notion that reading fluency is only speed!! If your little learner can decode the words, comprehend what the words mean, and read with expression–they have reading fluency!! Speed will come with practice.

Tip #2 Word Work

Provide many different opportunities for High Frequency Word Work.  Emergent readers must improve their automaticity when it comes to high frequency words. This helps them recognize anchor words in their text and decreases frustration. Purposeful practice with sight/high frequency words is imperative to strengthen reading fluency.

See post “Sight Word Activities For Kindergarteners“, “Word Work Activity Ideas For Kindergarten“, and “Teaching Kindergartners to Use the ABC Word Work Station” for activities and ideas.

Tip #3 Decoding

Effective techniques, strategies and activities are needed for quick and accurate word decoding. By instructing students on how to quickly decode words, and provide meaningful practice, their comprehension will improve, leaving more room to focus on other fluency skills like phrasing and expressive reading.

Go to “Decodable Books For Little Learners” and “Word Mapping For Kindergarteners” for decoding activities.

Tip #4 Punctuation

Little learners must learn to “read” punctuation. To help students enhance their reading comprehension, it is important to provide both whole-group and small-group lessons on punctuation. Many times, beginner readers tend to overlook punctuation marks, resulting in unclear comprehension and losing their place while reading.

“Writing Sentences Activities For Little Learners” has purposeful practice activities for your little learners.

Tip #5 Phrases

Learning to read in phrases is usually later in the kindergarten year, but must be taught. As students progress, it’s important to introduce them to reading in phrases. This approach helps them to construct meaning more quickly and effectively, as they learn to scan larger portions of the text instead of focusing on individual words.

Tip #6 Expression

Little learners need to learn how to read with expression. This helps students visualize what is happening in the story and aid in total comprehension.

Tip #7 Repeated and Modeling Fluent Reading

Start the day with modeling fluent reading. Then repeat throughout the day for reinforcement and reading fluency practice. This can be done with morning message, poems, and shared reading. Remember the I DO, WE DO, YOU DO formula for kindergarten instruction.

Tip #8 Echo and Choral Reading

In previous years, this method was not considered the most effective for enhancing fluency. Research has proven otherwise. Through this method, students will not only read the text but also learn to read with expression.

I hope these tips have helped you understand and implement reading fluency instruction into your kindergarten classroom. Remember–intentionally teach with purpose and fun!!!

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