Reading fluency is one of the five core reading skills. Fluency involves the ability to quickly sound out or automatically recognize words by sight at an appropriate pace for a given type of reading. Fiction can usually be read faster than nonfiction informational text. More difficult text that contains many specialized terms needs to be read more slowly for full comprehension. An appropriate pace for reading a short story is different from that of an essay, a poem, a play, or a textbook.
Reading fluency includes reading smoothly and with good expression. While essential for reading aloud, this also carries over into the phrasing and pace of silent reading. Reading with natural expression and pacing often indicates that the reader is fully comprehending the text. However, many dyslexics are much better silent readers, so this definitely should not be seen as the only indicator.
There are other causes for fluency difficulty besides dyslexia. One physical cause can be weak ocular muscles. There are six muscles that control eye movement. You might notice a temporary difficulty with visual tracking after reading for a long period of time. Your eye muscles can become fatigued. While this is a normal experience, a developmental optometrist or ophthalmologist can help identify whether or not vision therapy is needed. Programs that help build visual-tracking efficiency can also help if this is the cause of a student’s reading not being fluent. (If concerns in this area are suspected, please refer to this article on visual tracking.)
The reading fluency strategies in this article can be used at home to help to build their reading speed (though never at the expense of comprehension).
At Wings to Soar Online Academy, we work with you to create a customized package that includes the programs that are just right for your unique situation. If you have curriculum that is already working for a particular learning area, we respect that and don’t want you to feel you need to enroll in more than you need with us. We want to come alongside you to help you fill in the gaps of what isn’t working. Please explore the menu of possible online programs that we offer at Wings to Soar that we could include in your child’s Path to Success™ Personalized Learning Plan on our Learning Solutions page.
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