Fluency is the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. It is an essential, but often neglected, component of reading. Readers who have not yet developed fluency produce slow, choppy reading. This will naturally impede a child’s comprehension, so fluency is often seen as the bridge to comprehension. If a child does not need to concentrate on decoding, he or she can focus on the meaning of a text much better.
Fluency develops gradually with a great deal of practice. The most effective approach to improving a child’s fluency is repeated oral reading practice. This might include reading the same story aloud multiple times, practicing lines from a play or reader’s theater, or guided reading instruction in a classroom. Additional independent reading practice (silent reading) is also beneficial, however, research has not yet determined this to have a clear impact on overall reading fluency.