Friday, March 19, 2010

Fluent Readers and Writers

"Fluency is the ability to read quickly, accurately, and with expression, and to read fluently, they recognize most words automatically and identify unfamiliar words easily" (Tompkins, 188). There is a huge difference between children who are learning to read word for word, and a fluent reader. Being fluent means that students are using expression when reading, and able to read accurately all while being able to derive meaning from what they are reading. Many times we think of being fluent as only applying to reading, but being fluent also transfers to writing as well. By reading and participating in spelling tests and vocabulary practice, students are not only furthering their ability to read, but also practicing skills that are necessary for writing.

There are several important strategies that help students to learn to read and write fluently. One of those is word recognition, because "students develop a large stock of words that they recognize automatically because its impossible for them to analyze every word they encounter when reading or want to spell when writing" (Tompkins, 189). Being able to use high frequency words is important to fluency, because students will then be able to read quickly and accurately if they have the knowledge of high frequency words. Word walls, word recognition, and word identification are all great ways to help students become more fluent.

It is very important that teachers promote literacy in various ways in the classroom. "Teachers [need] to model fluent reading for students, provide oral support while students are reading, have students do repeated readings of brief texts, and focus students attention on chunking words into meaningful phrases" (Tompkins, 209). These are all great approaches that students can take to helping students become more fluent readers. Fluency is so important for our students to work on, and these are some of the main points I found from the chapter on fluency by Tompkins.


  1. You're in a kindergarten class right? I remember when I was placed in a kindergarten classroom for TE 301 and I spent a lot of time working with the students on one important strategy that facilitates reading proficiency; memorizing sight words. I remember that at the time, I was so surprised at how early students were expected to begin acquiring automaticity in their reading. Were we even able to read in kindergarten, way back when?! I'm just curious what some of the things your kindergartners are working on right now, in terms of reading instruction/fluency? Have they been introduced to sight words already? I think it is an extremely beneficial strategy to introduce these basic aspects at an early age, it can only help. I have a lot of students in my fourth grade class who are majorly struggling with the concept of fluency and I feel like "What were their teachers DOING before?!" There's is absolutely no reason why certain aspects of fluency development shouldn't be introduced as early as possible.

  2. I know that you are working in a Kindergarden classroom this year but you don't reference it in your blog. I know that some of these strategies have to be in use in your classroom. I was wondering what strategies if any that you have talked about in your blog have you seen in your classroom? I would think that these readings would be extremely helpful to you seeing that kindergardeners are just starting to become familiar with high frequency words.