Fluency Teaching Strategies
It’s one thing to know what fluency is, but how does one teach it? Research supports several evidence-based strategies that educators can use to incorporate fluency instruction and practice into their reading lessons:
- Model fluent oral reading: The teacher reads the text aloud with emphasis on expression and intentional pausing.
- Guided oral reading: Students read a text aloud with feedback and explicit guidance from the teacher.
- Repeated oral reading: Students read and reread a text multiple (for example, three) times. This is most effective with a model. Guided and repeated oral reading have been shown to demonstrate improved oral reading fluency in both younger learners and older striving readers.
- Repeated reading practice for performance: Students practice reading the text in front of others as a performance (e.g., Reader’s Theater).
- Prosody development through teaching phrase boundaries: Students learn the appropriate placement of pauses around phrase boundaries, which contributes to understanding meaning.
When providing fluency instruction and practice, there are three categories of text: independent level (95% or higher word accuracy), instructional level (90% to 94% word accuracy), and frustration level (less than 90% word accuracy). For fluency practice, educators typically use texts at students’ independent or instructional levels. Challenging grade-level text is best during whole group class time, where teachers can provide explicit instruction, background knowledge, and essential vocabulary to facilitate comprehension.
Additionally, students can listen to audiobooks independently at the frustration level for greater exposure to grade-level content. It is important for teachers to provide a variety of texts to students and not limit them to one level: some for independent fluency practice and others to build grade-level content knowledge.
No matter the fluency instruction, it is important to ensure that it is in fact helping students become better readers! To learn more about oral reading fluency assessment—including how to administer it and use it to inform instruction—read the next article, Optimizing Literacy Instruction with Oral Reading Fluency Assessment.
Our AI-driven reading assistant Amira Learning is the first program to use students’ oral reading fluency assessment to automatically place them in powerful 1:1 reading tutoring.