A fluent reader recognizes most words by sight and is able to read with the ease, smoothness, and rhythm of natural speech. The achievement of fluency is an important milestone for young readers; once readers no longer need to focus on sounding out each word, they are much more able to turn their attention to meaning. Second graders are working toward fluency in Easy Reader books. Once they are able to read Easy Readers fluently, they’ll then progress toward fluency in more difficult books.
The best way to develop fluency is to build decoding skills and do a lot of independent reading in books at the appropriate level of difficulty. In addition to providing support for this independent reading, the teacher also provides fluency training in class. In this process, the teacher reads aloud a passage from the class book, modeling a fluent reading for the class. Students then practice reading this passage along with the teacher, line by line and as a whole, using the teacher’s pacing and expression as a model.
Students are able to hear the smoothness and rhythm of the teacher’s fluent reading and replicate it in their practice. With the teacher’s support, even the weakest readers are able to experience the fluent reading they’ll achieve later on their own. As students get better at reading aloud fluently, the progress they make transfers to their independent reading.