Fluency ProjectReady … set … read! If you think the sprinting at the Summer Olympics is impressive, you should see the Team Read students in action.

Students in the Team Read summer program are building their fluency skills in one-minute intervals with timed “reading sprints.” Team Read teen reading coaches are timing students as they read, and also checking for accuracy during the sprints. Students will read and re-read passages, and re-read again, to improve fluency. Student progress is tracked on bar graphs, so it’s easy for coaches and students to see how a student is progressing.

“Reading fluently does not guarantee reading comprehension, but it is a piece of it,” says Julie Sutherland, a consulting teacher who has volunteered to help develop the fluency sprints. “Emerging readers often struggle to decode words one by one, making it difficult for them to put together whole phrases and sentences, which in turn makes the reading difficult to comprehend as a whole. Once readers can decode and read more fluently, they have a chance to put together whole ideas as they read, and then comprehension also improves,” Sutherland notes.


About Reading Fluency

Why Fluency is Important?

  • More fluent readers focus their attention on making connections among the ideas in a text and between these ideas and their background knowledge. Therefore, they are able to focus on comprehension.
  • Less fluent readers must focus their attention primarily on decoding and accessing the meaning of individual words. Therefore, they have little attention left for comprehending the text.

Improving Fluency

  • Model fluent reading, then have students reread the text on their own.
  • Have students repeatedly read passages aloud with guidance.
  • Have students reread text that is reasonably easy (at their independent reading level).
  • Have students practice orally rereading text using methods such as student-adult reading, choral reading, partner reading, tape-assisted reading, or readers’ theatre.

Source – Research-Based Instruction in Reading Student Achievement and School Accountability Conference October 2002, US Department of Education.

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