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4 WAYS

TO IMPROVE
ORAL READING
FLUENCY
BY
JULIE VAN ALSTLEAVE A
COMMENT

Picked up a good book lately? Well, my shelves


are literally busting with school-related books
and I just organized them into categories.
During my organizational frenzy, I came across
Tim Rasinkis bookThe Fluent Reader. I read this
book cover to cover over spring break one year
and absolutely loved it! I reopened the book
once again, shook out some sand and read a few
chapters. Heres a little snippet from the book.

According to Rasinski, reading fluency refers to the


ability of readers to read quickly, effortlessly, and
efficiently with good, meaningful expression. Fluent
readers are able to recognize many words by sight and,
when coming upon an unknown word, able to decode the
word quickly. Because good readers read accurately and
effortlessly, their mental energy can be devoted to
figuring out the meaning of the text (comprehension)
rather than trying to figure out the words. Dr. Rasinski
outlines four ways to build reading fluency.

1. Model Good Oral


Reading.

Reading to students in a natural manner


models fluent reading. Model and
encourage students to pay attention to
phrasing, expression, and pacing. Too much
emphasis on word-perfect decoding sends a
message that good reading is nothing more
than accurate word recognition.

2. Provide Oral Support for Readers.


Research has shown that when a reader reads and
hears simultaneously a fluent reader read the
same text, reading fluency and comprehension
improves (Topping, 1995). There are several
different ways to accomplish this: choral reading,
paired reading and using recorded readings. The
book describes how to use these strategies and
the research behind them in more detail.

3. Offer Plenty of Practice Opportunities


As with learning any skill, such as learning to play
piano or riding a bike, time practicing the skill is
crucial. To become a good reader, readers need
practice reading. The repeated reading strategy
has been found to lead to significant increases in
students fluency. In our districts, we utilize the
Read Naturally computer based program as one
way to offer this strategy.

3. Offer Plenty of Practice Opportunities


Students begin with a cold read of the text, a words
correct per minute (wcpm) score is provided, students
practice reading the text with and without a recording
and when they feel they can read it fluently, theythendo
a hot read. The computer program tracks their
progress on each read. I love this program, and certainly
did not do it justice with that short explanation. Ill
devote a blog on the program at a later date.

4. Encourage Fluency through Paraphrasing


Students need to learn to chunk text into
phrases to help determine meaning. Meaning
lies in a texts phrases and not just in its
individual words. Disfluent readers tend read
word-by-word rather than chunk text into
meaningful phrases. Teaching students to
pay attention to punctuation helps.