Reading Fluency for Children: How to Help Your Child Become a More Fluent Reader

Being able to read fluently is an important skill for almost all academic fields. Are you interested in helping your child increase his or her reading fluency? If so, keep reading for a handful of tips on how you can.

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Helping Your Child Improve Reading Fluency

What Reading Fluency Is and Why It Matters

The speed, smoothness and ease with which someone can read is called reading fluency. Beginning readers often do not read fluently because they have to sound out each individual word in a passage. Eventually, your child should be able to recognize words and start to develop a reading rhythm. Improving a child's ability to read fluently is important because it can help increase comprehension.

There are three major components to reading fluency: accuracy, prosody and automaticity. Accuracy refers to how well your child is able to pronounce the sounds spelled out on a page. Prosody is the tone, rhythm, volume and timing your child uses when reading. Finally, a lot of reading fluency comes from automaticity, or word recognition.

Sight Words and Repetition

A common way to improve automaticity, and therefore reading fluency, is to memorize common words, often referred to as sight words. These words, like 'the,' 'you' and 'what,' appear frequently in the English language. Once your child has memorized some sight words, he or she will read texts more fluently. At a certain point, your child will be able to move on to learning harder sight words and common phrases.

Rereading passages is another way to improve reading fluency. When your child rereads passages, he or she has multiple opportunities to go over unfamiliar words. After repeated readings, these words usually become familiar. Your child will then be more likely to read these words fluently when they appear in other contexts. Prosody is also improved through repetition.

Comprehension Strategies

Context clues are the words surrounding a new vocabulary word that gives the new term meaning. If your child can use context clues, his or her reading will likely become much more smooth and fluid. Comprehension strategies, like context clues, can also increase your child's confidence in his or herself as a reader, which can lead to increased reading fluency.

Reading at Home

Reading frequently is usually a powerful way to improve reading fluency because it's a skill that improves with practice. Your child can improve his or her reading fluency by reading independently on a daily basis. Create an environment at home where reading is encouraged in a positive, fun way. For example, have a family reading time every day when you sit and read with your child.

You and your child's teachers can help him or her select books that are at an appropriate reading level. There are many book lists for kids available from local libraries and online. Empower your child to read for fun by allowing her or him to choose books from lists like these.

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