As with other parts of reading, what happens in the brain when someone reads fluently is complex and interesting. One reason that fluent reading is a goal of reading education is that, when students read fluently, they have more of their brains freed up for reading comprehension—for understanding the meaning of words, paragraphs, and whole texts. And comprehension is the whole point of reading in the first place. Not surprisingly, recent research has found links between reading fluency and reading comprehension (Sabatini et al., 2019).
Fluency is often the payoff of instruction in things like phonemic awareness and decoding. And research on fluency instruction has shown that it can also help students strengthen and consolidate those other skills (O’Reilly et al., 2019). Parapros can support students in their work to become more fluent readers. For example, they can use what’s called guided oral reading.
Here are some guided oral reading activities for students who can decode a text accurately and are ready to practice reading it more fluently:
- Practice reading a passage, and then read it aloud to a student. Practicing will help you read it fluently. Next, ask the student to read the same passage aloud to you. Provide encouragement. For instance, if the student reads haltingly, describe how you improved your oral reading by practicing the same passage. Then, ask the student to try reading it aloud a second time.
- Work with two students at the same time who take turns reading a passage aloud to one another.
- Find a short script for two or three students to read aloud. Give them opportunities to practice their parts. Then, give them a chance to act out the script by reading their parts in the right sequence. This approach is sometimes called readers’ theater.