Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reading Fluency Does Not Equate To Reading For Comprehension

Reading Fluency Does Not Equate To Reading For Comprehension

These two paragraphs below are from a Reading Study that is linked to this Blog. I think it talks to what we are seeing with some of our schools scores in the state of Michigan.  It talks about how fluency is important to comprehension but it is only a steeping stone to comprehension, it say in the second paragraph third sentence page 21 of the study,  " The students who seem to slip by teachers are the ones who read fluently, but do not comprehend what is read." This is exactly what Dr. Mike Schmoker talked about at the Student 5 success conference in Lansing. He said, After we teach them to read fluently some where around 2 grade we need to start working on short one to two page articles on reading for understanding and having group discussions on what they have just read. This can be brought into any core areas as Science, History, Math, besides just ELA classes. After that we then need to get them to then be able to write about what they have read. so with this we could help to take care of two of ares where many  School need Improvement.

(from Page 21 of study)
Fluency
While fluency is one of the five components of reading, there is controversy over the amount of attention that should be given to it. Some experts think that a lack of fluency has a greater impact on younger readers’ comprehension than those who are more experienced readers. Others believe it is necessary for all readers to be fluent to comprehend.

Experts do agree that fluency does impact comprehension at some level. Teachers should assess whether the lack of fluency is disrupting comprehension before spending a great deal of time working on it. The students who seem to slip by teachers are the ones who read fluently, but do not comprehend what is read. Words such as “quick”, “with expression”, “good phrasing”, or “reads in a meaningful way” are usually used to describe what listeners notice about fluent reading. Fluency is enhanced through repeated readings of familiar text. It is also important that the activities that engage students in rereading familiar text are enjoyable. In his book What Really Matters for Struggling Readers (2001), Richard Allington suggests several ways to engage students in rereading activities to improve fluency.


References
http://www.oakland.k12.mi.us/Resources/MeapWriting/Reading_Genre_Study_Grades_7_8.pdf

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I am the Director of Technology at a K-12 School system.