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Balanced Approach to Reading

Fluency

Hicks (2009) asserts: Reading fluency is defined as the ability of readers to read quickly, effortlessly, and efficiently with good, meaningful expressions. Reading quickly is only one of three required components of fluency: accuracy, rate, and prosody. While rate refers to reading speed, accuracy refers to reading words accurately by sight or by decoding and prosody refers to reading smoothly, effortlessly, and with proper phrasing and expression(pg. 319). If readers are struggling to decode text, comprehension and automaticity may be compromised. Griffith and Rasinski (2004) emphasizes “Fluent readers not only are appropriately fast but also read with good phrasing and expression—they are able to express or embed meaning into the text through their oral interpretation of the passage. In this sense, then, as students learn to read in an expressive and, meaningful manner they are also learning to construct meaning or comprehend the text. A recent review of the research related to reading fluency confirms that fluency is indeed a significant factor in reading and is related to comprehension and achievement (pg. 126). Not only does reading and writing complement each other, reading and spelling does the same. Moats (2006) affirms, “Nevertheless, research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge---such as the relationships between letters and sounds—and, not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, resulting in better reading. Catherine Snow et al (2005, p.86) summarize the real importance Spelling for reading as follows: “Spelling and reading build and rely on the same mental representation of a word. Knowing the spelling of a word makes the representation of it sturdy and accessible for fluent reading. In fact, Ehri and Snowling (2004) found that the ability to read words “by sight” (i.e. automatically) rests on the ability to map letters and letter combinations to sounds. Because words are not very visually distinctive (for example, car, can, cane), it is impossible for children to memorize more than a few dozen words unless they have developed insights into how letters and sounds correspond. Learning to spell requires instruction and gradual integration of information about print, speech sounds, and meaning—these, in turn, support memory for whole word, which is used in both spelling and sight reading (pg. 12). Activities that form the basis for instruction in fluency include word hunts, vocabulary book, word dictation, comprehension strategies, and fluency checks.