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What Role Does Fluency Play in Reading

What Role Does Fluency Play in Reading

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Published by: api-3742445 on Oct 15, 2008
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What Role Does Fluency Play in Reading?
Nirra L. Poret

In much of the research that\u2019s been done, there is the indication that

reading fluency is indeed an important part of comprehension. Although there are
those who advocate the importance of reading fluency and those who do not, I
believe that monitoring and teaching reading fluency is a best practice in
education. There is much more evidence to support the idea that reading fluency
is an indication of comprehension than is suggested otherwise.

For the purpose of having a complete understanding, the definition of reading fluency that I believe is most widely understood is that fluency is\u201cthe ability to read quickly, accurately, and, when oral reading is considered, with

expression\u201d (as cited in Schwanenflugel, 2006). In other words, if a child is

considered to be fluent it means that he or she is able to read with speed and
accuracy. It makes perfect sense that if a child is able to read with fluency, then
most likely he or she will not have as much trouble with comprehension as the
child that struggles with reading. This is because a child is not spending time
trying to decode words, but is instead able to take in a complete picture of what

the chosen passage is about. These children don\u2019t have to rereadpa ssa ge s
multiple times to gain comprehension because of not knowing words. They can
read a passage and pronounce most of the words without difficulty, which frees
up their brain to work on comprehending what they\u2019ve read. On the other hand,
students who lack fluency struggle with comprehension because they spend so
much time trying to decode words that once they\u2019ve moved on to a new
paragraph they\u2019ve forgotten what was in the previous one.

Some have stated that fluency can become a problem if students do not
understand that the point of fluency is to read with speed AND, more importantly
accuracy. Students can get into the mind frame that they are taking a reading
race when they are being assessed for fluency. What is the answer to this? Make
sure that students understand that they are not being checked for how fast they
can read, but that it is very important for them to be accurate.

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