How Reading Fluency Improves ComprehensionNovember 5th, 2018
The Connection between Reading Fluency and Comprehension
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand and retain the information given in the text as you read it. Reading fluency, on the other hand, is the accuracy and speed of reading without conscious attention to the mechanics of reading. A fluent reader has the ability to read and understand words automatically. They are able to more easily comprehend complete sentences and entire reading selections.
If you struggle to read each word in a sentence, it is much harder to understand the entire sentence. Slow, single-word reading leads to both poor reading comprehension and frustration. If you cannot read fluently, you typically don’t like to read because of how labor intensive it is. The more fluid and fast you read, your understanding of what you read becomes automatic and more fun. Reading can become an enjoyable activity for everyone. When you work on improving your reading fluency, you inherently improve your reading comprehension.
When you are a fluent reader, you are able to read without thinking about the mechanics of reading. S. Jay Samuels started doing research in the 1970’s. In 2006, he states, “Comprehension requires the fluent mastery of the surface-level aspects of reading.”
Read the sentence, “Sally can go to the store.” Then several pages later, you get to the questions and one question asks, “Why couldn’t Sally go to the store?” The question doesn’t make any sense to you, because you read Sally can go to the store. Upon going back and re-reading, you find that the sentence really said, “Sally can’t go to the store.” The whole meaning was lost by skipping the apostrophe t in the word can’t. That is one way that reading fluency problems impact comprehension.
Do you have room to improve your reading fluency?
Do you or your child:
- Enjoy reading?
- Skip, repeat, or mispronounce words when reading?
- Read as well as they should?
- Take a long time to read?
Cecil Mercer who has done extensive research at The University of Florida has proved short, daily practice of five to six minutes a day creates substantial reading gains. The key to overall success was doing repeated oral reading over a six month to a twenty-three-month time interval. Remember, reading fluency is a critical component to improving reading comprehension.
The process involved in 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills use the same methods as noted in Cecil’s research. This same process works with students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, slow reading, and those with visual processing problems.
How can you improve your reading fluency and comprehension?
Daily reading fluency training for only 5 minutes a day with the reading drills found in 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills can have one of the biggest impacts to improve your reading skills. Mary Ann Metzner says, “We are thoroughly enjoying the 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills program. I see improvement already. My 6th-grade son started at only 70 wpm but has already increased his speed to 115 wpm. He looks forward to trying to beat his time and sometimes insists on doing the drill more than once! Who can argue with that? My two high-schoolers are doing the program also to help with ACT scores. Their times are also improving, too.”
Everyone Can Improve Reading Fluency and Comprehension
One homeschool mom recently tried our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills out with her family:
“When I first heard of Bonnie Terry’s 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills program, I assumed it was only for beginning readers. Not so! It’s for everyone! My kids from 3rd to 6th grade are already benefiting from it and we’ve only been using it for a week. Their reading speed, confidence, and comprehension are going up by leaps and bounds!”