• Why is fluency important?

    Developing the ability to read a text accurately and quickly, or reading fluency. Children must learn to read words rapidly and accurately in order to understand what is read. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. When fluent readers read aloud, they read effortlessly and with expression. Readers who are weak in fluency read slowly, word by word, focusing on decoding words instead of comprehending meaning.

    Research Base for Fluency (Key findings):

    • Fluency can be taught and learned.
    • Through repetition and progress monitoring of oral reading skills, student fluency can increased.
    • Researchers have found guided reading and rereading of text until a certain level of fluency is reached to be effective.
    • Fluency instruction should be explicit and systematic.
    • Practicing oral reading through the use of audiotapes, tutors, and peer guidance is beneficial for increasing fluency.
    • Developing fluency skills increases comprehension skills.
    • Reading must become automatic for students because accuracy alone does not lead to strong comprehension skills.

    For more information regarding the research base for fluency, visit:


    Instructional Design for Teaching Fluency (Considerations):

    Students with strong fluency skills are able to:

    • identify letter-sound correspondences automatically and accurately
    • identify familiar spelling patterns quickly
    • identify isolated words and connected text effortlessly

    Teachers who strive to increase student fluency should:

    • select appropriate instructional tasks
    • schedule sufficient time for practice
    • set student fluency goals

    For additional considerations on the instructional design for teaching fluency, please visit:

    Instructional Strategies for Fluency (Key Elements):

    • Instruction should be explicit and systematic to increase fluency.
    • Give students opportunities to reread passages out loud.
    • Provide feedback on student fluency skills.
    • Ensure passages are within the learner's decoding range, 94% accuracy or higher.
    • Provide daily opportunity for fluency building.
    • Allow students to listen to books on tape.
    • Identify target reading rates.
    • To determine an appropriate text level, have a student read a passage from the text. Calculate the number of words read correctly and divide by the total words read. This will give you the student’s accuracy level.
      • Higher than 97% accuracy = independent reading level.
      • 94-97% accuracy = instructional level (when working on fluency, materials should be at this level or above).
      • 93% or below = frustration level