Fluency for Early Readers

Fluency development for early readers is a vital task for establishing comprehension and creating advanced readers.

M any people are familiar with the term fluency when it means proficiency in a foreign language, but when it comes to reading, fluency has a different meaning that may not be as familiar.

R eading fluency, the fourth pillar of reading instruction, has to do with the ability to decode words—apply knowledge of letter-sound relationships and letter patterns—accurately and automatically.

F luency for early readers means that less time is spent on identifying and pronouncing words so that more time can be devoted to building vocabulary and attending to comprehension of the text that they are reading.

Learn more about the importance of Early Literacy from our other resources on the subject.

B ecause decoding skills are needed for fluency, and decoding skills depend on knowledge of the relationships between sounds and letters, students must have skills in phonemic awareness and phonics to develop fluency. Developing fluency for early readers is not just a good idea--it is essential for long-term academic success.

Fluency for Early Readers

F luency has real world implications, especially as students reach the critical period described by Jeanne Chall as the “fourth-grade slump”.

The national multimedia literacy initiative Reading Rockets notes, "As readers head into upper elementary grades, fluency becomes increasingly important. The volume of reading required in the upper elementary years escalates dramatically. Students whose reading is slow or labored will have trouble meeting the reading demands of their grade level."

Early Reading Activities: Improving Fluency for Early Readers