Oral Reading Fluency and Speed: What is the Link?
Old measures of fluency such as informal reading inventories focused more on accuracy. The challenge with accuracy measures is that they tend to overrate fast readers who run through the words but still get them right.
DIBELS represented a vital improvement because it included accuracy and rate, which is ideal in the primary grades. It, however, gives more respect than it should to quick readers who can run through texts without visible expressions.
Fluency monitoring and instruction are vital, and it appears they are usually mis-assessed and poorly taught. There are a few reasons for this, however. Firstly, teachers seem not to have a well-defined fluency concept, and detailing its component based on their order of development won’t solve it. Note that fluency involves part comprehension and part decoding.
Children are not able to read if they are unable to recognize and decode words and pronounce them. This is why phonological awareness, sight words, and phonics are taught.
What Fluency Is and Isn’t
Recognizing words contained in a list is quite different from horizontally reading them in organized sentences. Speed hardly counts when you are reading a collection of words. However, when reading sentences, you need to be quick.
When a student reads slowly, it shows he or she is committing a lot of energy to understand the words. This implies that the cognitive resources will not be available when figuring out ideas.
It suffices to say the speed of word reading is vital because it indicates how much the reader will focus on the meaning of a text.
Fluency goes beyond quickly reading words as it contains aspects of reading comprehension. For example, fluency readers often pronounce homographs such as ‘effect’ and ‘desert’ without slowing down.
The Place of Assessment
One other part of comprehension, which is a component of fluency, is making sense of our sentences. A person listening to your oral reading ought to be able to comprehend the message being passed across.
This should be helped because you have grouped the words into the right clauses and phrases. To read this way, you should know how to quickly make sense of the sentences using meaning and punctuation.
Teachers who feel fluency entails reading the correct words or doing so quickly missed the point. Also, a lot of teachers do not understand the concepts of reading assessments.
The truth is that reading assessments help weigh the performance of the students based on behavioral samples. Therefore, the assessment tasks are often different from the total behavior in different ways.
There is a need to show the children how to go about the tasks properly. Here are some tips that could help boost their abilities.
- Teach the children to read aloud the texts not as fast as possible but by how well they can
- Also, let them know they will have to respond to the questions regarding the texts as soon as they finish.
- Pay close attention to the correct words per minute and whether the reading makes sense.
Teachers and instructors’ primary focus should not just be about teaching the ability to read quickly and with fluency to the children. Great efforts must also be taken to instill in them the desire to comprehend the words and make sense out of them.