TRT Podcast #141: 3 Things to remember about reading fluency
Today I’m answering three questions: Can we fast forward our way to fluency? When building fluency, what are the first steps? What does the Oral Reading Fluency assessment actually measure? Get the answers in today’s quick episode!
Listen to the episode here
Full episode transcript
Hello! Anna Geiger here from The Measured Mom, and today I'm going to share three things to remember about fluency.
According to Jan Hasbrouck and Deb Glaser, fluency is "reasonably accurate reading at an appropriate rate, with suitable expression, that leads to accurate and deep comprehension and motivation to read."
The first thing to remember about building fluency is that it takes time.
When I was a balanced literacy teacher, I had my early readers "read" predictable leveled books, and I loved how fluent they sounded because they could pick up the pattern very quickly and use the picture to help them figure out the words that weren't part of the pattern. For example, "This is a bear. This is a hippopotamus," and so on.
I thought that using those leveled predictable books was promoting fluency. I thought that decodable books would get in the way of fluency. But because they couldn't read those words in isolation, they weren't actually reading, so it wasn't REAL fluency.
Try as we might, we can't fast-forward our way to fluency. Children must build their reading brains by decoding words until they've orthographically mapped them.
The second thing to remember about fluency is that we want to start by developing automaticity at the letter and word level.
If I showed you a "No Parking" sign and asked you not to read it, you would read it in spite of yourself, right? Without conscious attention, you'd read it automatically.
The way we get our students to that level of automaticity is by starting with letters and sounds and individual words. We want to build automaticity at a lower level before we expect our students to build fluency in connected text.
The third thing to remember has to do with assessing fluency.
You may be familiar with ORF, which stands for oral reading fluency, and that's an assessment measure that's included in universal screeners like DIBELS and Acadience. In speaking with Jan Hasbrouck, you would find that she wishes they had called it something else. She wishes they had called it "oral passage reading," because many people think that ORF is a complete measure of fluency. It's not. It measures accuracy and rate, and if someone's words correct per minute or accuracy are low, that's an indicator that we need to dig deeper to figure out what the problem is. So ORF is extremely useful for alerting us that we need to dig deeper, but it is not a complete measure of fluency.
You can find the show notes for this episode, including some links to some YouTube videos about fluency, at themeasuredmom.com/episode141. Talk to you next time!
That's all for this episode of Triple R Teaching. For more educational resources, visit Anna at her home base, themeasuredmom.com, and join our teaching community. We look forward to helping you reflect, refine, and recharge on the next episode of Triple R Teaching!
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Reading Fluency: Understand, Assess, Teach, by Jan Hasbrouck & Deb Glaser
Building Fluency in Text with Dr. Stephanie Stollar
Fluency: Key to Comprehension with Dr. Jan Hasbrouck
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