How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Fluency

How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Fluency

Do you watch your child struggle to read a book that you feel is just perfect for their age and reading level?  Is the reading choppy and slow?

Reading fluency is the process where a child reads aloud expressively and with understanding.  When a child reads fluently, the words flow smoothly and at an efficient pace.  Reading fluency is a critical component in the reading process.   Stumbling and hesitating over words undermines reading comprehension given that by the time the child gets to the end of a sentence he or she will have completely forgotten what was at the beginning of the sentence!

 

How do you measure reading fluency in your child?

 

  1. Ask the child to read a grade level passage that they have never seen or read before.
  2. Using a timer have the child read this text for one minute.
  3. While reading the passage, tally the errors the child makes while reading.
  4. Stop the child after one minute.  Count the number of words read in the minute and subtract any errors made by the child.  For example: if he or she read 120 words in a minute and made five errors then the child’s reading fluency rate is 115.
  5. Use the chart below to determine if your child’s reading rate is on target.

 

Mean Words Correct Per Minute “Targets” for Average Students in Grades One through Eight

 

Grade Fall Target Winter Target Spring Target
       
1 Not applicable 20 50
2 50 70 90
3 70 90 110
4 95 110 125
5 110 125 140
6 125 140 150
7 125 140 150
8 130 140 150

 

Johns, J. and Berglund, R. (2006). Fluency strategies and assessments. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishers.

 

How do you determine a child’s reading level to test for fluency?

 

Probably the easiest ways to determine if a book is at an appropriate reading level for your child is the Five Finger Rule.  Have the child begin reading a chapter, and put down one finger each time he struggles with a word. If they reach the end of the page before you get to five fingers, the book is written at a comfortable level for independent reading.

 

What can you do to increase and improve your child’s reading fluency?

 

The very best way is through practice, both through oral and silent reading.

One approach to practicing reading fluency is for the child to repeatedly read the same passage or text either with a parent or teacher three to four times.  Rereading text gives the child multiple opportunities to read unfamiliar words.  After repeated reading, those words become familiar.  The child should practice rereading aloud texts that are reasonably easy for them and at their reading level and include words that the child already knows and can decode easily.  A text is considered at reading level if the child can read it with 95% accuracy.  This text should also be relatively short consisting of 50-200 words.  First, the parent or teacher reads the text aloud to the child.  Then the child reads the same passage to the adult or chorally with the adult.  Finally, the child rereads the passage again independently.

 

Reading frequently will also improve reading fluency since reading is a skill that improves with practice.  Children can improve their reading fluency by reading independently each day for at least 20 minutes.  Again it is important that the child read a book or text that is at their grade level or slightly below their grade level.  Children should be encouraged and allowed to read a book of their choice – even if this doesn’t involve classic novels for their independent reading.  For gaining fluency, quantity is more important than quality.  Whenever possible, use their interests to guide their reading choices and give them some power in making decisions about what to read.

 

Memorizing Dolch sight words is another method to improve reading fluency in children.  By memorizing common words like “the”, “said”, “what”, “you”, the child will read texts and stories more fluently.  Many of these words are in almost anything they read.  Readers will have more experiences of success if they know these words.  Dolch words are service words; they give meaning and direction, which are necessary for understanding sentences.

 

Model good reading for your children.  Share what you read with them or read what they are reading.  Have discussions and talk to them about the things you find important in what you read and why.  Parents and teachers need to read themselves and read in front of their children and students.  Children will imitate you and will be more likely to read and read well in a house and classroom filled with all kinds of interesting books, magazines and texts.

 

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headshot Karina GIF

 

Karina Richland, M.A. is the Founder of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.  Ms. Richland is a certified reading and learning disability specialist.   Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications.  You can visit the PRIDE Learning Center website at: www.pridelearningcenter.com

 

 

 

 

 

Reading with Dr. Seuss: From Easiest to Hardest

Reading with Dr. Seuss: From Easiest to Hardest

I LOVED reading Dr. Seuss books when I was a kid reading them over and over again.  I couldn’t wait for the day when my own children could finally read all those wonderful Dr. Seuss books from my childhood.  I learned very quickly though that Dr. Seuss books are not all clumped into one reading level.  As a matter of fact they span all the way from Kinder to Third and even Fourth grade reading levels!  To help other parents and teachers find the right reading levels for their kids, I put together a list of Dr. Seuss books by grade level.  I have linked the titles if you would like to purchase any of these books, So here it is:

Kindergarten:

The Foot Book: Dr. Seuss’s Wacky Book of Opposites

The Ear Book (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

Great Day for Up (Bright & Early Books(R))

The Eye Book (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

Bears in the Night

Beginning of First Grade:

The Berenstain Bears Inside Outside Upside Down

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Board Books)

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners)

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

Snug House, Bug House (Bright & Early Books(R))

Fred and Ted Go Camping (Beginner Books(R))

Fred and Ted Like to Fly (Beginner Books)

Go, Dog Go (I Can Read It All By Myself, Beginner Books)

Wacky Wednesday (Beginner Books(R))

Old Hat New Hat (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

Middle of First Grade:

Put Me In the Zoo (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

The Nose Book

Green Eggs and Ham

Hooper Humperdink…? Not Him! (Bright & Early Books(R))

Hop on Pop

Are You My Mother? (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

The Bike Lesson

End of First Grade:

A Fish Out of Water (Beginner Books)

Little Black, A Pony

Sam and the Firefly

The Big Honey Hunt, 50th Anniversary Edition (The Berenstain Bears)

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff: Dr. Seuss’s Surprising Word Book

I Want to Be Somebody New! (Beginner Books(R))

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You : Dr. Seuss’s Book of Wonderful Noises (Bright and Early Board Books)

Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

Robert the Rose Horse

The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone

A Fly Went by (Beginner Books(R))

The Bears’ Picnic

The Berenstain Bears on the Moon

The Berenstain Bears He Bear, She Bear

In a People House (Bright & Early Books(R))

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (I Can Read It All by Myself)

Beginning of Second Grade:

Flap Your Wings (Beginner Books(R))

I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words

Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow (Beginner Books(R))

Stop, Train, Stop! A Thomas the Tank Engine Story

The Bears’ Vacation

Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

Fox in Socks (Beginner Books(R))

Have You Seen My Dinosaur? (Beginner Books(R))

I Am Not Going to Get Up Today!

Middle of Second Grade:

The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back

The Tooth Book (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))

There’s a Wocket in My Pocket! (Dr. Seuss’s Book of Ridiculous Rhymes)

Thomas and Friends: Trains, Cranes and Troublesome Trucks (Thomas & Friends) (Beginner Books(R))

Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! (Beginner Books)

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet (Beginner Books)

Please Try to Remember the First of Octember! (Beginner Books)

The Bear Detectives

End of Second Grade:

Babar Loses His Crown (Babar (Harry N. Abrams))

The Bear Scouts

The Digging-Est Dog (Beginner Books(R))

Honey Bunny Funnybunny (Beginner Books(R))

It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny (Beginner Series)

Beginning of Third Grade:

Dr Seuss’s Sleep Book

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!  

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

Middle of Third Grade:

The Lorax (Classic Seuss)

The Sneetches and Other Stories

End of Third Grade:

Horton Hears a Who!

If I Ran the Zoo (Classic Seuss)

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic Seuss)

Happy Birthday to You!

 

That about covers it.  I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, and you might also enjoy my post Phonemic Awareness Explained.  Thank you so much for visiting my blog today!


 

Karina Richland, M.A., is the Executive Director of PRIDE Learning Centers, LLC, an educational company that works with children in special education and focuses on reading, writing and comprehension help. She is also the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers.  You can reach her at info@pridelearningcenter.com or visit the website at PRIDE Learning Center.

To learn more about Karina Richland and The PRIDE Learning Center click on the video link below:

 

 

 

 

 

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