Reading fluency is the ability to read smoothly, easily, and quickly. Good readers can read words automatically without having to sound out each syllable (also known as decoding). In other words, you don’t have to spend a lot of effort and attention on the mechanics of reading. Reading becomes easy.
Why is Reading Fluency Important?
Your ability to read fluently contributes to good comprehension skills. When you can’t read quickly, it is hard to hold pieces of text in your mind and make sense of them. When that happens, you typically don’t enjoy reading. It is just too labor-intensive. This directly impacts reading comprehension. According to the research done by S. J. Samuels, “Comprehension requires the fluent mastery of the surface-level aspects of reading.”
How to Improve Reading Fluency
Mastery Guide Reading Rates (Words-Per-Minute) for Students
So, let’s first start off with what is considered being at grade-level for words read per minute. The following is a guideline you can use to gauge your child. These word-per-minute rates are based on reading passages of text at grade-level. Over the years I’ve been teaching, the reading rates for each grade level has risen progressively. This is where they currently are:
- 1st Grade (Spring): 40 – 80 wpm
- 2nd Grade (Spring): 80 – 120 wpm
- 3rd Grade (Spring): 115 – 140 wpm
- 4th Grade (Spring): 140 – 170 wpm
- 5th Grade (Spring): 150 – 195 wpm
- 6th Grade (Spring): 170 – 220 wpm
Why Do Some Kids Read Slowly?
One effect of kids reading slowly is that they may not enjoy reading as it takes them so long to read a selection. How fast kids can process what they see also impacts reading accuracy. Listen to your kids read aloud. If they skip, omit, or repeat words, phrases, or lines when they read, this is typically due to a visual tracking issue. Eye muscles aren’t moving as efficiently as they can. Visual tracking and processing speed are learned skills, and they can improve quite easily with simple activities.
Re-reading of text is quite common because kids are missing bits and pieces of what they’re reading. They re-read the selection so it will make sense to them. This can occur with kids at all levels of reading whether they are: above, at, or below grade level. Fortunately, this can easily improve, again, with simple activities. This can happen when your eyes are not working fluidly.
Does your child have room for improvement?
Your child can improve the number of words they read per minute with short, daily reading fluency training, like that in our Reading Program. With our training, you can not only reach the higher ends of these word-per-minute guidelines, but you can excel past them. We have seen some kids read twice as many words-per-minute as when they started within a couple of months.
The methods in our phonetic fluency training focus directly on improving 5 areas of visual processing, 6 areas of auditory processing, and the 2 areas of tactile/kinesthetic processing that are most critical for reading and learning. We train your eyes to track more efficiently. Our reading drills are different from other reading fluency programs in that we start by focusing on training your eyes at the most bare-bones level. We start with drills that speed up your letter and word recognition processes. Then, we build your rapid automatized retrieval, which improves the speed at which you can look at a word, recognize, and say the word.
We also make sure that students read the drills out loud to build their auditory processing systems at the same time. We have students chart the words per minute they read and mistakes per minute they made each day. They love competing against their previous records by seeing their words-per-minute go up and mistakes per minute go down.
What Do You Do to Improve Reading Fluency?
There are two types of activities that work hand and hand to improve reading fluency. One is rapid naming activities that work on improving processing speed. Rapid naming deals with your ability to rapidly name letters, objects, or words. It is the speed at which your brain retrieves information from memory. The other activity works on visual tracking, processing speed, and phonic reading skills. Our Reading Programs provide you with those specific activities, improving your overall reading skills.
What Does the Reading Program Include?
- Reading Fluency and Rapid Naming Activities
- Executive Function
- Brain-Body Connection Activities
- Reading Games
Who is Scholar Within?
Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie started designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Teachers kept asking what she was using with the kids that saw her because of the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From here, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.
Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home and on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kids’ overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.