The leading advocate for family literacy in Hong Kong

Sign up now to receive your free book guide, and receive updates on our upcoming events!

Raising Fluent Readers

As we read, our eyes scan across each page from left to right, and at the end of each line, our eyes glance back to the left to begin the next line.  Reading fluency is the ability to read phrases and sentences smoothly and quickly from left to right, while understanding the complete ideas of the text.  When children learn to read, the speed at which they read becomes an important measure of fluency.  Struggling readers with poor ability to track words are slow in reading which affects their fluency; it disturbs the understanding on what they read. A fluent reader doesn’t have to stop and “decode” each word.  Rather, most of the words can be read automatically. This means the reader can focus his attention on what the story or text means. For that reason, fluency is critically important — it is the bridge between decoding words and understanding what has been read.

Parents can help their children to develop reading fluency by sitting with them to read aloud every day.

  1. Parents can model reading fluency by reading aloud to children so they can see and hear what fluent reading looks like.
  2. Parents can read aloud in unison expressively, not to worry even if children are slightly behind you, move your finger along the print so that your children can follow along easily and bring them to read the words accurately.
  3. Taking turns reading aloud with children provide chance for them to practice reading orally at a right speed as well as reading with expression. When taking turns, it can start from sentence by sentence and move to paragraph by paragraph, then upgrade the level to page by page.
  4. Repeat reading the same book where children would read correctly, quickly and automatically that helps to build confidence to read aloud individually.

Reading fluency in a way is a great help to comprehension, as children decode fast enough to keep the content in the short-term memory so meaning can be constructed.  If a reader stops constantly to decode and figure out unknown words, the likelihood that the meaning is disrupted.

BMABHK Smart Tips:   When children enjoy reading and turn the habit into a ‘love of reading’; it is the time for parents to foster ‘fluent readers’.  Children learn best through ‘modeling fluency’ by their parents, the daily reading aloud moment does play a key role to bring children reading fluently.  A fluent reader can spend more time to visualize, infer, question and create connections through the story they read; he/she would likely be inspired to read more.

Percie Wong, Trainer of Bring Me A Book Hong Kong