Teacher Toolbox
Learning Strategies - Reading

Reading Speed

To be fluent readers, children need to develop efficient word attack and have an adequate sight word base. Some children struggle to synthesize the skills required to read at an appropriate pace.

They may be able to decode words when reading lists or words in isolation, but struggle with reading text. This interferes with reading comprehension. It is important that children develop the efficient decoding skills needed to read fluently.

Activities to Support Reading Fluency
  • Provide opportunities for repeated readings. Have children re-read short sections or stories to practice with pacing. Select a book below the student’s independent reading level. This will remove the child’s need to process and to decode new words and will direct his or her focus to the rhythm of the speech. Have the child read using different tones and pitches to vary the exercise and to explore how mood relates to the voice.
  • Have children chase the instructor as they read. First the teacher reads the section out loud while the student listens to the way it was read. Then the child reads the section out loud. Next the teacher reads and the child verbally chases the teacher reading. The teacher needs to set the pacing. Typically, the child will remain one or two words behind the teacher. After the teacher and the child finish, the student reads the section orally again. Discuss with the child how their reading sounded after they practiced reading with the instructor.
  • Provide time in the classroom for the children to explore a variety of books.  When helping a student to select a book for independent reading, have the student read a page out loud from the book. If the student makes five or more reading errors, then the book is too difficult. Guide the student to make another selection.
  • Timed readings at an independent reading level can be used to help track a child’s reading fluency. Fluent readers by the age of 12 need to have a read rate of greater than 100 words per minute when reading at their independent level.