Being able to speak English fluently does not guarantee that a student will be able to use language effectively in academic settings. Fluency must be combined with higher order thinking skills to create an “academic language,” which allows students to effectively present their ideas in a way that others will take seriously. The author, an ELL teacher, describes her use of “protocols” (a cheat sheet of sentence starters) to build students’ cognitive academic language proficiency.
The best strategy for developing reading fluency is to provide your students with many opportunities to read the same passage orally several times. To do this, you should first know what to have your students read. Second, you should know how to have your students read aloud repeatedly.
Fluent readers can read text accurately, smoothly, and with good comprehension. Students who get bogged down in the mechanics of reading have trouble with this skill. With proper instruction, struggling readers can improve their fluency.
Dysfluent readers are so consumed with word identification that they cannot focus on extracting or constructing meaning from the text. Here are some activities to develop students’ fluency skills, so that they may move on to access content. See also Develop Fluency Using Content-Based Texts.
At any age, poor readers as a group exhibit weaknesses in phonological processing and word recognition speed and accuracy. When a student’s reading comprehension is more impaired than their listening comprehension, inaccurate and slow word recognition is the most likely cause.