After reading the article “Reading Fluency Assessment and Instruction: What, Why, and How,” I learned a great deal about the importance of developing fluent readers and writers in the classroom. Many times I think it is quite easy to overlook the significance that fluency actually holds. So much of our attention in literacy is focused on letter/word recognition, comprehension, and vocabulary, that it is extremely easy to pass by fluency. Fluency creates skilled readers who can read accurately, rapidly, and with proper expression and intonation, which is vital to being a successful overall reader. As discussed in Tompkins article as well, Hudson, Lane, and Pullen discuss the importance of “the three elements of fluency-accuracy, rater, and prosody”. Without all three of these components, one cannot be a fluent reader, because each of these elements create and overall fluent reader. There are both high frequency words and low frequency words that students learn to read, and being able to automatically recognize words is a key component to developing one’s fluency. Obviously with time students will have an easier time with automaticity, but some words need to be memorized as sight words from the beginning stages of learning to read and write.
I had the experience to administer fluency tests in my junior year at MSU, as I worked in a resource room with third and fourth grade students who were struggling with their fluency and other aspects of reading and writing. I would give fluency assessments almost daily to see how well the students with automatically recognizing words when they saw them on paper. It was incredible to me how much progress the students made with their fluency as the semester went on, but obviously that did come with much practice and repetition. Without practice and seeing words on a consistent basis, it is hard to become a fluent reader or writer, so it is important that children who are struggling focus on reading and writing for a significant amount of time each day.
Another thing that I find particularly interesting about fluency is that it is not just with reading, but also writing. Personally, when I think of being fluent, I solely think about reading while disregarding writing all together. If you think about it carefully though, writing is just as big of a component of fluency that reading is, because it is not feasible to sit and think about every single word that you write or type out on paper or computer. Eventually, students start to develop the same automaticity with writing that they do with reading, because without even thinking about what is going down on paper, it is being written. This is one of the interesting aspects of fluency that seems to be overlooked quite a bit when talking about literacy.