For children to comprehend a text, they need to read it fluently. If the reading is disfluent, the reader will struggle to hold onto all the information to comprehend a sentence or paragraph.
We know that reading fluency has three components, as seen above:
- Accuracy – children need to be able to read words accurately. If they can’t read accurately, they will not be able to make meaning of the text.
- Rate – to hold the sentence in our short-term memory – we need to read at a suitable rate: too fast, and we might miss some details; too slow and we might not be able to hold on to the sentence.
- Prosody – this means correct pronunciation of words, expression, and phrasing using punctuation for intonation.
How can decodable books support reading fluency?
When children practise reading with decodable books, they consolidate specific spelling patterns they have learned. This helps consolidate the letter/sound bonds they need to learn to decode new words. With repeated practice, children can read the words quickly and fluently, gradually recognising them by sight. They also have an opportunity to develop word recognition of high-frequency words that will help to read fluently.
Rereading a decodable text is a great way to get children reading with confidence. Once they can decode the words, the teacher can focus on the phrasing, punctuation, and intonation. This will help children with comprehending the text. Comprehension in turn, will improve reading fluency. When the reader understands what the sentence is about, he/she can read the sentence with appropriate expression. Where new vocabulary in introduced – this too will develop comprehension as children become more confident pronouncing new words, weaving them into the phrasing of the text.
Below you can see all the elements that are integrated when children reread decodable texts.
A great way to develop fluency, comprehension, and reading engagement!