Fluent reading can be described as 'The ability to read expressively and meaningfully, as well as accurately and with appropriate speed' (Padak & Rasinski 2008) and fluent readers should be able to read 'quickly, accurately and with appropriate stress and intonation'. (EEF). At Front Lawn, we believe that fluency is integral to the reading process. It enables children to increase their level of comprehension, expand their vocabulary, and complete reading tasks more expediently. Children who are not fluent readers may have difficulty decoding words, recognising words, and distinguishing meaningful chunks in text. In essence, they are often not able to derive meaning from the text because their focus is on deciphering the words, rather than the message conveyed by the text.
Being a fluent reader is dependent upon the three skills of automaticity, accuracy and prosody. Similar to every other subject it is imperative that children are explicitly taught these skills, that they are modelled by the 'expert' and then that they can apply this knowledge to reading independently.
In order to help children with this, teachers and TAs from Y1 - 6, are all responsible for their own fluency intervention group. The group is made up of children who have knowledge of the initial code and can blend sounds together yet may have reading behaviours that need some support. This could be that they lack the ability to read punctuation or that they fail to use expression to show prosody or that they make errors and are unable to self-correct.
The intervention is formed of 2 20minute sessions per week - Session A and Session B. Session A consists of the teacher/TA as the expert and modelling how to read an allocated short text fluently. This text is always age appropriate and sets high levels of expectations of the children as readers. Children are encouraged to listen and echo/choral read the text back before practising in pairs and individually at home during the week. Session B focuses on a quick check for fluency but then the opportunity to discuss and comprehend the text is given.
Elements of fluency instruction are also taught as part of the whole class reading cycle.