Understanding Fluent Reading Questions

What is a Fluent Reader?
What role does fluency play in reading?
What are characteristics of non-fluent readers?
What are characteristics of Fluent Readers?
What is Reading Fluency?
What is oral reading fluency?
What is Silent Reading Fluency?
What is dysfluency?
What are Prime Words?
What are sight words?
What are Dolch List words?
What is subvocalization?
What are some examples of fluency skills?

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What is a Fluent Reader?

A Fluent Reader is one who reads and understands what he or she is reading quickly and effortlessly.

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What role does fluency play in reading?

When reading is fluent (automatic), decoding requires less attention. This frees up the reader to concentrate on comprehension and making sense of the text. A Fluent Reader will read more because reading becomes more enjoyable. As more material is read, decoding skills, fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge, and comprehension skills increase.

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What are characteristics of non-fluent readers?

Non-fluent readers are more likely to:

  1. Read slowly and laboriously.
  2. See, read and process only one word at a time.
  3. Eyes fixate (stop) on every word read.
  4. Be interrupted whenever they make a miscue.
  5. Reread to regain comprehension. This is called regression.
  6. Stop often to sound out words letter by letter (decode).
  7. Use phonics exclusively as their cueing reading strategy.
  8. Read on whether it makes sense or not.
  9. Vocalize the words as they are read, either subliminally or by lip vocalization (Vocalization drastically limits the rate at which one reads to the rate at which one speaks. The average adult speaks between 160 to 220 WPM.)
  10. Have reduced or minimal comprehension due to slow reading rate. (When not engaged in fluent reading, one's mind tends to wander because the mind can think faster than the rate at which the person is reading.)

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What are characteristics of Fluent Readers?

Fluent Readers are more likely to:

  1. Have automatic decoding skills. (Words are decoded by patterns and chunks.)
  2. Not have a need to reread.
  3. Not vocalize words (lip or subliminally) as they are read. (The brain can process words at thousands of words per minute (WPM). Eliminating vocalization frees the brain from being slowed down to the speaking rate. The average speaking rate for a child is 125 to 190 WPM. An adult averages between 160 to 220 WPM.)
  4. See, process, and read two, three, four and more words with each eye fixation.
  5. Have a very large vocabulary of sight words.
  6. Focus on and monitor their own comprehension. (This occurs due to the fact that the reader is able to free their cognitive resources so that the meaning and message of the text can be the focus of attention rather than the mechanics of reading.)
  7. Are more easily able to obtain meaning of unfamiliar words from the context, thus enhancing their comprehension
  8. Have good "word attack" skills.
  9. Read accurately and effortlessly and with proper expression.
  10. Self-corrects. (Immediately recognizes when something doesn't sound right.)
  11. Use a variety of reading strategies.
  12. Find reading more pleasurable and tend to read a lot more!

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What is Reading Fluency?

For much of the 20th century, fluency was defined as the ability to read a text quickly and accurately, and with proper expression. Today we know that this definition only describes fluency as it pertains to oral reading. The changing concept of fluency has brought us past the definition of "freedom from word calling" to the more complex explanation that recognizes that fluency requires high-speed word recognition so that it frees a reader's cognitive resources so that the meaning and message of the text can be the focus of attention. In short, reading fluency today can be defined as the ability to read text accurately and automatically, and with sufficient ease allowing the reader to focus their attention on the meaning and message of the text.

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What is oral reading fluency?

Fluent oral readers smoothly read one word at a time, out loud and with ease. Comprehension and recall are not necessarily equated with oral reading since the focus of oral reading is on accuracy, pronunciation, and prosody (expression). Oral reading fluency has very little to do with silent reading fluency. Oral reading is hardly a skill that most of us will use extensively in our adult lives unless we are a radio or TV news announcer.

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What is Silent Reading Fluency?

Fluent silent readers smoothly read "more" than one word at a time without vocalizing (lip or subliminally). They read with ease, speed, and have greater comprehension and recall. The core of silent fluent reading is to be able to extract the meaning and message of the text read without thought to the mechanics of reading. Without fluency, comprehension is often impeded.

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What is dysfluency?

Dysfluency occurs when the reader's complete attention, effort, and energy, is focused on word recognition (decoding) that it drains all their cognitive resources, and thereby leaves very little room to devote to comprehension and interpretation of print. The good news about dysfluency is that it is not a permanent affliction.

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What are Prime Words?

Prime Words are commonly known as "high frequency words" - words that are found in print based on their frequency. The first 2,000 Prime Words found in print today make up approximately 75% of all the words we see and read in books, newspapers, and journals. Because these words hold thoughts together, Prime Words should be automatically recognized and processed without having to stop and figure them out before one can become a Fluent Reader and read with confidence.

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What are sight words?

Sight words are a subset of high frequency Prime Words that are learned by sight (memory) since they do not follow typical phonetic rules and letter-sound partnerships. Sight words, also known as "exception words" or "irregualr words", are memorized as a whole words without learning to decode them. Examples of common sight words include: was, the, one, of, shoe, said. Once a word is read without hesitation or conscious thought, it can also be referred to as a "sight" word. Fluent Readers are able to see, read and process the top 2,000 Prime Words as "sight" words.

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What are Dolch List words?

E.W. Dolch surveyed many children's books in the 1940s. From his survey, he came up with a hand tallied list of "service words" which included a total of 220 pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, verbs and 95 nouns that repeatedly where found in children's books of that time period. These 315 words became known as the Dolch Word List and are still in use today. Dolch words are not listed by word difficulty, but rather frequency with which these words are found in print. Children learning to read typically possess these words in their speaking and listening vocabularies. Dolch words have also been referred to as "sight" words because these words need to be recognized "on sight". Although the Dolch List has held up over time, learning the Dolch words in isolation does not make one a fluent reader but rather a "word caller". The Dolch List also falls short in only listing words that need to be read automatically up to and including the 3rd grade level. Fluent readers today need to have an automatic word bank of at least 2,000 Prime Words.

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What is subvocalization?

Subvocalization is the tendency to pronounce words to yourself as you read. The process of subvocalization (lip or subliminally) immediately activates the part of the brain that is related to the function of pronunciation. This activation imposes a reading speed limit of 160 - 220 words per minute (WPM), the rate at which the average adult speaks. Subvocalization is one of the common causes that contributes to a "limited" speed reading rate. The best way to prevent this is to develop a wider eye span. Not faced with this sound barrier and without special training deaf people often read above 1000 WPM.

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What are some examples of fluency skills?

1. Immediately recognizing letters and frequent clusters of letters. 2. Learning high frequency words by sight. Examples: and, the, at, in, etc. 3. Seeing phrases as whole word groups. Example: over the rainbow, black and white, or peanut butter and jelly 4. Using prediction skills within the phrase or clause. Example: "under the b... ", "the book that I r... ", or "eating a ham s..."

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