Automaticity is an important aspect of fluency to keep in mind. This refers to how quickly a student is capable of identifying words. Due to the limited capacity of a student’s working memory…when they are capable of identifying words at a faster rate, their cognitive abilities are free to focus on the context of what they are reading as opposed to focusing on word identification.
Another important aspect of reading fluency relates to a student’s ability to accurately decode words. Decoding refers to the process a student goes through when they are reading…it is composed of: seeing a word, recognizing the letter-sound relationship, and blending the phonemes together to create a word. This is a process that, in a fluent reader, should take a split second; however, for a struggling reader, the process of decoding can be extremely difficult. It is the teacher’s job to explicitly identify word-identification/decoding strategies for the class.
One aspect of this article that I found surprising relates to the section covering the importance of prosody. I have never really considered how important a student’s ability to read with expression is in correlation to their reading comprehension. BUT, it makes sense. I mean, if a student reads a question in their text like a statement, then they obviously do not comprehend what they are reading. If they did, then that statement they just read would be phrased like a question.
Not only did this article give in depth details and information regarding exactly WHAT fluency is, but, what I found most interesting, was the amount of information given in relation to HOW to teach fluency and HOW to ASSESS fluency. There are numerous tables and resources given that an instructor can reference and utilize in the future, which I most certainly will; specifically on the fifth and eighth pages of this article, two tables are given with listed assessment strategies and instructional resources. One thing I want to point out is how important it is to be EXPLICIT in your instruction of fluency with struggling readers…for some, fluency comes naturally, but for a majority of students, it does not. We are severely impeding their learning progress by not giving these students ample instruction, opportunities for practice and repetition, and adequate assessments that detail their progress.
I really enjoyed reading this article and it is definitely something that I see myself looking back on in the future.