Revisiting the Introductory Challenge

Our fast-reading students, Alan and Marta, might seem like they are reading fluently. But there is more to fluency than just speed. Accuracy, expressiveness, and naturalness are also important considerations. And comprehension is the most important consideration of all.

Just as we can use proven methods for helping students improve oral reading fluency, we can also use proven methods for assisting students like Alan and Marta with accuracy, expressiveness, naturalness, and comprehension. Alan, who read silently and quickly, seemed to have some trouble with accuracy. He got close to naming the main character correctly, but mixed up the first letter. Alan was probably reading so quickly that he did not retain this small but important detail. Marta, who read aloud and accurately, seemed to struggle with expressiveness. By reading the passage without any natural rhythm and respect for punctuation, she made it more difficult for herself and her audience to notice the sequence of events in the story.

The first thing a parapro might do for Alan and Marta is encourage them to slow down. Working on their pace might help them improve their accuracy and expressiveness. And improving both of those will, in turn, help both of them with comprehension, which is the whole point of reading.