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Chapter 8 – Fluency

Chapter Summary

Fluency in reading is the ability to read text accurately, quickly and with expression. Beginning readers need to learn to quickly and accurately identify letters and sounds in words. With reading fluency, the reader is able to focus on the meaning of the text rather than spend cognitive energy on word identification. Practising reading fluency means finding meaningful texts at a level where the child can achieve success with repeated reading aloud. 

Fluency is also important in writing: children’s writing speeds up if they know how to form letters and write many high-frequency words. 

Using teacher read alouds, shared reading, readers theatre, choral reading, echo reading and partner reading is an effective teaching strategy for increasing automaticity in word recognition and prosody.

Study Questions

Main ideas

What is fluency and why is it important in beginning reading?
Fluency is also important in writing, phonemic awareness and phonics. Can you describe why it is important in these areas as well as reading?
How does automatic word recognition, phrasing and awareness of syntax relate to fluency in beginning reading?

Application to a developmental stage

Can a child who is reading word-by-word develop fluency? Why or why not?

Diverse learners

The teaching activity readers theatre can be used with diverse groups of literacy learners. Explain the readers theatre procedure and how it may scaffold fluency.


Work with a child or use the videos on the website to learn how to assess reading fluency based on the suggestions in this chapter.

Teaching plans

Select one teaching activity for developing fluency. Could this activity incorporate audio recording technology in anyway?