Modeling Fluent Reading
Researchers have found several effective techniques related to repeated oral reading:
students read and reread a text a certain number of times or until a certain level of fluency
is reached. Four re-readings are sufficient for most students; and
oral reading practice is increased through the use of audiotapes, tutors, peer guidance or
In addition, some effective repeated oral reading techniques have carefully designed feedback to
guide the reader’s performance.
Model fluent reading, then have students reread the text on their own.
By listening to good models of fluent reading, students learn how a
reader’s voice can help written text make sense. Read aloud daily to your students. By reading effortlessly and with expression, you are modeling for your students
how a fluent reader sounds during reading.
After you model how to read the text, you must have the students reread
it. By doing this, the students are engaging in repeated reading. Usually, having
students read a text four times is sufficient to improve fluency. Remember, however, that
instructional time is limited, and it is the actual time that students are actively engaged in
reading that produces reading gains.
Have other adults read aloud to students. Encourage parents or other family
members to read aloud to their children at home. The more models of fluent reading the
children hear, the better. Of course, hearing a model of fluent reading is not the only
benefit of reading aloud to children. Reading to children also increases their knowledge
of the world, their vocabulary, their familiarity with written language (“book language”),
and their interest in reading.
Have students repeatedly read passages aloud with guidance. The best
strategy for developing reading fluency is to provide your students with many
opportunities to read the same passage orally several times. To do this, you should first
know what to have your students read. Second, you should know how to have your
students read aloud repeatedly.
In the primary grades, you might read aloud from a big book. A big book is an enlarged version
of a commercially published book – big enough so that all students can clearly see the text. By
pointing to each word as you are reading (using either a pointer or your finger), you can show
students where and how you are pausing and how the text shows you when to raise or lower your
voice. Occasionally, you can also explain to your students why you are reading in a certain way:
Teacher: Did you hear how I grouped the words “Brown bear/ brown bear”?
That’s because the words brown and bear belong together.
And then I paused a little before repeating the words.
Teacher: Did you hear how my voice got louder and more excited right here?
That’s because the author put in this exclamation mark (point to it) to show that
the speaker was excited or enthusiastic about what she was saying.
Then, have the students practice reading the same text.
Independent level text
Relatively easy text for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 20 words difficult
for the reader (95% success)
Instructional level text
Challenging but manageable text for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 10
words difficult for the reader (90% success)
Frustration level text
Difficult text for the reader, with more than 1 in 10 words difficult for the reader (less than