Five Ways to Help Struggling Readers Build Reading Fluency

Reading fluency is the ability to read with sufficient ease, accuracy, and expression, providing a bridge between word recognition and comprehension.

Five best practices for building fluency among struggling readers.

Model fluent reading.

Students can hear what reading aloud should sound like and can gain a better understanding of natural prosody, which involves elements such as pausing at the end of a sentence and using rising intonation with a question mark.

Conduct student read-alouds. 

Digital guided reading tools can help. One example is the Fast ForWord program, which provides a guided reading tool that uses speech verification technology to give real-time corrective feedback to students as they read aloud, like a guided reading coach. This type of technology can be particularly helpful with hard-to-engage students who may be more willing to practice reading aloud with a digital tool that listens without bias or judgment.

Preview key vocabulary

Before reading the text, practice the words in isolation outside of the text. Teach the correct pronunciation and meaning of the words.

Host a Readers Theatre

This is where students perform a play for their peers, is a fun twist on reading aloud. This strategy works well with stories that can be broken down into parts or characters.

Compliment students when they read fluently. 

Reading fluently for some students is hard work, so it is important to offer encouragement and to recognize the effort they are putting forth.

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