"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.