By Dr. Tyla Phillip

Did you know reading fluency is an important aspect for students? Literacy should start being introduced to children once they are born. A parent is a child’s first teacher, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly.

On average, children should start reading between ages 6-7 years old. Reading gaps in younger students could mutate into future academic problems. Students who read during the summer and during their free time gain an average of one month of reading proficiency. Students who don’t read lose an average of two to three months proficiency over time; those months add up to years. By high school, the number has doubled. Both parents and teachers are seeing an increase with students who struggle with reading.

What can be done? Expose students to a variety of books and materials. If the reader is showing signs of struggle, practice words of difficulty and introduce choice reading material that gets them excited. Here’s a mindful tip: Becoming a fluent reader means establishing a consistent rhythm and pace that help guide the reader through the text. Remember, it’s not about being the fastest reader but rather developing a reader who keeps a steady pace throughout their reading.

It’s all about strategy and finding the best strategy when it comes to developing a fluent reader. Developing reading fluency helps students grow as learners and with other core subjects. In order to do so, provide students with various opportunities to read the same passage orally. When a child reads, it helps when this is done orally. When a child can hear themselves, this will help progress the reader as they build reading skills.

Mindful tip: To do this, you should first know what your student is reading. Second, you should have your student read aloud repeatedly. Model fluent reading, then have students reread the text on their own. Allow a student to learn through examples and models. The first mistake is not showing and not correcting the development of a reader. Rather, give students the best chance at becoming a fluent reader. Introduce good models of fluent reading; giving examples of a reader’s voice can help written text make sense. Read aloud daily to your students; by reading effortlessly and with expression, you are modeling for your students how a fluent reader sounds. Reading is a gateway to academic success and can open the door for students in school.

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