Helping Your Child Read with Fluency: Accuracy

What is Reading with Fluency?

Reading with fluency is the ability to read words automatically in a manner that flows naturally as if speaking. Fluency encompasses a number of skills: speed, accuracy, expression, and comprehension. Each of these skills are equally important and are developed in different ways. One question that parents ask is, how do I help my student read more fluently?

I will be writing a series of posts and making videos in which I explain each of the four components of reading fluently and describe ways you can better help your student succeed in reading fluency.

While speed is the first skill listed, and many people consider speed to be reading fluency, I think speed is the last skill to be developed. First, students need to read with accuracy.

Reading with accuracy is the ability to read all of the written words correctly. Even fluent English speakers struggle with this. There are many types of errors that can be made: inserting words, leaving out words, pronouncing the words incorrectly, saying the wrong word. All of them affect your child’s rate of accuracy.

What Can You Do to Increase Your Child's Accuracy?

Practice Sight Words

Sight words are the words that someone can recognize and read within two seconds of seeing them. There are many different sight word lists, such as the Dolch list. Any of them would be a good start. They go up through different reading and grade levels. Start with the most basic level and see if your child knows the words. Then increase in increments until your child starts missing words. If your child misses 3 in a row for a level, or more than 5 for the whole level, stop. This is where you need to begin working. Making paper or digital flashcards is a good strategy for learning sight words.

Practice Segmenting Words

Segmenting words is the process of breaking them down into the syllables and parts of the words. For example, the word “experiences” can be broken down into ex-per-i-enc-es. Breaking down the syllables or smaller sound parts of a word can help students to learn the correct pronunciation of a word. When practiced enough, these words that students need to decode will become sight words that they recognize immediately.

Listen to Audiobooks While Reading the Book

Listening to a native English speaker read the book aloud can help students attach spoken words to print and understand how to pronounce the words correctly. This will not only increase their vocabulary and sight word recognition, but they will also be able to associate the way a native speaker wo