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What is Fluency? How to Become a Fluent Reader in 5 Minutes a Day

April 11th, 2017

What is a fluent reader?

Reading fluency is the speed and accuracy of reading without conscious attention to the mechanics of reading. In other words, a fluent reader has the ability to retrieve and read words automatically. Efficient readers are fluent readers. Slow, single word reading leads to both poor comprehension and frustration. If you can’t read quickly and hold the pieces of what you read in your mind, you typically don’t even like to read. It is just too labor intensive.

When you are a fluent reader, you read without even thinking about the reading process. Reading is easy and automatic. S. Jay Samuels started doing research in the 1970’s and continues to do research. In 2006, he states, “Comprehension requires the fluent mastery of the surface-level aspects of reading.” There are ways you can improve your reading fluency.

Do you have room to improve your reading fluency?

Do you or your child:

  • Enjoy reading?
  • Read as well as they should?
  • Take a long time to read?
  • Skip, repeat, or mispronounce words when reading?

Understand why some people are slow at reading.

Typically, when a child knows how to read, but they are slow readers, the actual problem is due to visual tracking difficulties. To tell if this is the case, listen to them read aloud. Are they skipping, omitting, or repeating words when they read or are they mispronouncing them?

It doesn’t matter whether a child is dyslexic, has an identified learning disability, or is even gifted, some children are slow readers. And, usually when a child is a slow reader it is because they are missing bits and pieces when they are reading, so they re-read the text to make it make sense to them. This happened often in my home with one of my children. He had tested to be gifted but took ‘forever’ to read his assignments.

The other problem could be that the child is a slow processor. Do they read accurately aloud but are slow when they are reading? Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN) is directly related to slow processing speed and information retrieval. Go to this blog post to learn more about Rapid Automatized Naming and for a free sample RAN drill.

So, what can you do to improve processing speed and visual tracking at the same time? To become a fluent reader in 5 minutes a day?

Reading drills that specifically designed to work on visual tracking and processing speed like those in our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills books address both problems at the same time. We have seen substantial reading fluency gains using our reading tools with hundreds of students in-house. Our results have been confirmed by an independent study on Bonnie Terry’s reading tools. This study was conducted by Dr. Debra Wilson with students grades 3-6 over a period of 5 years. The results of our in-house study are shown in the image below.

Reading Fluency Research and Results

Cecil Mercer’s research from the University of Florida has also proved short, daily practice of five to six minutes a day creates substantial reading gains. The key to overall success was doing the repeated oral reading over a period of time such as six months to twenty-three months. Remember, fluent reading is a critical component to improving reading skills.

This same process works with students with dyslexia, learning disabilities, slow reading, and those with visual processing problems.

Everyone Can Improve Reading Fluency and Comprehension

One homeschool mom recently tried our Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills out with her family:

Homeschool Mom“When I first heard of Bonnie Terry’s 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills program, I assumed it was only for beginning readers. Not so! It’s for everyone! My kids from 3rd to 6th grade are already benefiting from it and we’ve only been using it for a week. Their reading speed, confidence, and comprehension are going up by leaps and bounds!”

Read the Full Review

Read More Words Per Minute

reading fluency, read faster, reading speed Mary Ann Metzner says, “We are thoroughly enjoying the 5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills program. I see improvement already. My 6th-grade son started at only 70 wpm but has already increased his speed to 115 wpm. He looks forward to trying to beat his time and sometimes insists on doing the drill more than once! Who can argue with that? My two high-schoolers are doing the program also to help with ACT scores. Their times are also improving, too.”

5 Minutes to Better Reading Skills

The Awaken the Scholar Programs include Fluency Training

Karen Macy states, “My son was flunking out of first grade. We hired a private tutor, met with his teacher and his school principal. Nothing was working. The school was talking about holding my son back in the first grade. I felt that would have been devastating to his self-esteem. By chance one of the teachers mentioned the Bonnie Terry Learning System. I immediately went on-line and ordered it. Within weeks he was making progress. In fact, he just blossomed. He turned his school performance around so much that he was moved from the lowest groups to the middle groups and then the highest groups. It was amazing. He was so excited because work that he struggled with was now easy.  His teacher was surprised with the change in him and he passed on to the second grade with no more problems.”

Barb Acerbo states, “I love your ASW Programs and rave about it to everyone!!  I will be attending a “Learning Differences” meeting within our homeschool support group in a couple of weeks. I will certainly offer a strong testimony about Bonnie Terry Learning’s Awaken the Scholar Within Programs. Not only have my son’s reading, writing, study, and math skills dramatically improved, his self- confidence has improved too.”

Bonnie Terry, multiplication facts, number sense, improve comprehension, improve vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness

Are you interested in learning more about solutions to reading or spelling problems? What about solutions that also improve your auditory, visual, and tactile-kinesthetic systems? Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Bonnie Terry M.Ed., BCET.

Blog Topics

What is Fluency? How to Improve Reading Fluency