Thursday, April 8, 2010

Creating Fluent Readers

Rasinski, T.V. (2004) Creating Fluent Readers. Educational Leadership, March 2004, 46-51.

In this article, Timothy Rasinski looks at the importance of reading fluency in student reading success. He points to three dimensions of reading; processing the text, comprehending the text, and reading fluency. Within fluency, there are three dimensions. They are accuracy in word decoding, automatic processing, and prosodic reading. Examples of assessing reading fluency are provided which will enable the teacher to accurately instruct students on the aspect with which they need assistance.

Two methods to increase reading fluency often used by Rasinski are assisted reading and repeated reading, which both have been shown through research to improve reading fluency. By assisted readings, he means having students listen and follow along as he reads aloud, then reading aloud together, reading with a partner either at their level or a fluent reader with a struggling reader, or by following along while listening to a passage on tape.

Rasinski notes that repeated readings can lead to both improvement in reading, but also to improvement in decoding, reading rate, prosodic reading, and comprehension, as proven in research. He states poetry, scripts, speeches, monologues, dialogues, jokes and riddles are perfect for developing fluency.

Besides providing the avenues of repeated readings, teachers also play a key role by coaching (discussing oral interpretations) the students as they perform. Giving students feedback is important in moving readers towards a deeper level of interpretation and meaning.

One pitfall Rasinski sees with assessing reading fluency is when teachers emphasize accuracy over meaning. Speed is often valued more over the prosodic and meaningful reading. He feels reading rate will improve as the students become better decoders through repeated readings.

“ … reading fluency has taken a front seat in discussions about student reading success and effective instruction in reading.”

“Developing fluency in reading requires practice; this is where the method of repeated readings comes in.” (48)

“… existing scientific research on reading fluency indicates that it is an important factor in reading education and thus should be part of any comprehensive and effective reading curriculum.” (50)

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