Date
30 October 2020

Understanding how to build fluency

Automatic word reading (fluency) enables students to focus on the meaning of the text, instead of trying to work out key words.

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Teach strategies explicitly

Teach strategies explicitly

Fluency develops step by step. After systematically learning letters and their sounds, learners apply this knowledge to sound out words.

Teach foundational skills in the context of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Orthographic mapping

Orthographic mapping

Orthographic mapping is the mental process we use to store written words for immediate retrieval. It requires phoneme and letter–sound proficiency.

Students with dyslexia often have difficulty with phonemic awareness and phonic decoding, which affects their ability to read fluently and interferes with their comprehension.

Successful intervention needs to include:

  • teaching phonemic awareness (including blending, segmenting, and phoneme manipulation such as deleting, adding, substituting, or reversing phonemes)
  • teaching phonic skills and decoding
  • providing decodable readers so students can practise reading connected text.

Source: Cracking the ABC Code (opens in a new tab/window)

Word recognition

Word recognition

Fluent readers recognise words almost instantaneously.

With repeated decoding of the same word, the child’s brain makes a neural model, called a word form, which allows the word to be read far more quickly. Just seeing the word activates all of the necessary components at once, without any conscious thought on the part of the reader. This process is orthographic mapping. 

As more word forms collect, reading fluency and reading skill levels rise dramatically.

Source: Building a strong foundation for learning to read (opens in a new tab/window)

Teach the different syllable types

Teach the different syllable types

Learners need a strategy for chunking longer words into manageable parts.

Teach syllable-spelling conventions so students know whether a vowel is long or short, is a diphthong, or is r-controlled or whether endings have been added.

Fluency and comprehen­sion

Fluency and comprehen­sion

There is a direct link between fluency and reading comprehension.

When students read accurately, they solidify their word recognition, decoding, and word-analysis skills. Perhaps most importantly, they are likely to understand what they read – and, as a result, to enjoy reading.

Richard Allington & Rachael Gabriel

Useful resources

Useful resources

File

Orthographic mapping: Beyond the alphabetic stage of reading

Publisher: Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators

Download PDF

Building a strong foundation for learning to read

Building a strong foundation for learning to read

Publisher: Zaner-Bolser

Download PDF

Website

Six syllable types

Publisher: WETA Public Broadcasting

Visit website

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Understanding dyslexia and literacy acquisition”:

Return to the guide “Dyslexia and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Dyslexia and learning

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