Accurate word reading is not enough. Provide guided and repeated oral reading practice every day to develop fluency!
Reading rests upon a hierarchy of skill development. Students must become capable of reading words both accurately and fluently. Guided and repeated oral reading practice, therefore, consists of two distinct activities.
Students read the words in each lesson accurately. (See Procedure to Follow When Sounding Out an Unknown Word.) The teacher must carefully monitor each oral reading exercise to make sure students accurately read the words on the page. If a student misreads a word, the teacher should immediately intervene by telling the student to read the word again, and if necessary the teacher should provide step-by-step instructions to the student in sounding out the word. Never allow a student to guess at the identity of an unknown word. Teach students to apply their knowledge of the relationship of letters to sounds to identify unknown words by sounding them out.
Reading words accurately is not enough.
Students read the words in each lesson fluently. The ability to read words accurately is a necessary skill that must be mastered by all emerging readers and a skill whose acquisition is justifiably celebrated both by teacher and student alike. But reading words accurately is not enough; a student must also be able to read fluently. Fluency is an essential skill strand that has often been neglected in reading instruction; yet research overwhelmingly and consistently emphasizes the relationship between reading fluency and comprehension. All too often teachers conclude that once students are able to read with accuracy, they will be able to read fluently. Research on the other hand has established the fact that the transference between decoding accuracy and reading fluency is not automatic. Fluency is a skill that can and must be taught, and students who receive fluency training experience marked improvement in their ability to read with accuracy, fluency, and understanding. Students who read and then repeatedly reread text while receiving guidance and feedback become better readers.
Explicit instruction in fluency aids struggling readers of all ages from elementary grades through the middle school and high school grades and adults as well. Without the ability to recognize text automatically, the student’s primary focus while reading is on decoding words instead of comprehending the meaning that the flow of words on the page conveys. Fluency is the bridge that connects a student’s ability to decode words accurately with the ability of that student to read with understanding. For this reason fluency activities are organically interwoven into virtually every page within this book.