What is the main goal of teaching fluency to students beyond 6th grade?Should you teach fluency in isolation to students above 4th grade and beyond or should it be taught in tandem with comprehension?

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brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

There are two possible ways to view this question, so it depends how you mean.  I would assume since you mention isolation that you are referring to teaching English as a Second Language, so let me address that possibility first. This is a matter of opinion, but I believe teaching in tandem with comprehension is a better method, as I think we tend to overemphasize pure fluency, and in the years that takes, we sacrifice a lot of learned basic skills, especially for those in younger grades.  For example, I would think learning basic math would be more important to a 4th grader than fluent sentence structure.  Math is universal in language.

If you are referring to teaching foreign languages to English speakers, then  I believe the Rosetta Stone isolation method is the most effective for achieving rapid fluency and language mastery at any age, but very much so with young learners that acquire language more easily than adults.

lynnetteholly's profile pic

lynnetteholly | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I know this question is kind of old and you probably have already gotten the answer you were looking for, but I couldn’t resist the chance to talk about reading!  Your question seems to be asking about the role fluency plays in adolescent literacy.   As I am sure you know, fluency is a bridge to comprehension.  If a student is struggling with fluency, their comprehension of the piece will be negatively affected.  This might be especially true for ELLs.

To help students struggling with fluency as adolescents you might consider implementing any or all of the following:

  1. Identify words in the piece the students are reading that might cause trouble.  Explicitly teach those words as part of your vocabulary instruction.
  2. Facilitate partner reading of difficult pieces.  Put a more fluent reader with a less fluent reader.  I take my class list and order my students from the most capable readers to the most struggling.  I then split the list at the mid point and partner the student at the top of the list with the student at the middle of the list.  If you had a class of twenty, number 1 would be paired with number 11 and so on down the list.  That way you aren’t putting number 1 with number 20, which could be discouraging for number 20.
  3. There are some researchers that believe wide reading is the best way to promote fluency.  Provide plenty of class time for independent reading.  Be sure that students are reading books on their independent reading level.
  4. Teach morphemic elements and Greek and Latin roots.  This will not only help students quickly identify unknown words, but will also aid in comprehension if they know the meanings of these pieces of words.
  5. Be a model of fluent reading.  Even adolescents love to hear their teachers read!

I hope this helps.  Here are some sites that I have found helpful.







tiffinyjackson's profile pic

tiffinyjackson | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Fluency is often confused with speed or rate of words read. Yet in reality it also includes understanding what one is reading enough to read with prosody. it is an important skill for people to be aware of the rhythms of language and therefore teaching fluency can be important for students beyond 6th grade. I would not teach it in isolation without comprehension because in face without the comprehension the student cannot read with the intended tone to fit the text's meaning and author's purpose.

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