How does fluency impact reading comprehension? Explain your answer.How does fluency impact reading comprehension? Explain your answer.
Fluency definitely impacts reading comprehension. The essence of fluency is the ability to recognize words and understand them. So that when someone is trying to comprehend something that is being read, being fluent in that language increases comprehension.
For example, if someone speaks/writes Spanish fluently, but only speaks/writes English moderately well, reading a book in Spanish will provide a more successful outcome that reading in English. Comprehension will slow down.
Leslie Pepper in "Does Fluency Affect Comprehension?" writes:
If children labor to decode words, then they do not have attention or mental resources left over to dedicate to comprehension and enjoyment, which means they are not really reading, only word calling.
The idea of "word calling" promotes a sense of recognizing the word, but not being able to string the words together so that understanding and comprehension take place. This is why when students say, "I read it, but I don't understand it," even though the reading is at their level, I suspect that reading is not truly taking place; only "word calling."
Reading comprehension is defined as:
...the level of understanding of a writing.
If the level of comprehension is not present, fluency in reading cannot take place.
Fluency, which develops gradually over time and through substantial practice, depends on at least three factors or variables:
- the learners’ familiarity with the words, that is, the automaticity of word recognition;
- the learners’ familiarity with the text structure and topic;
- the learners’ awareness of various reading strategies, and the conscious use and control of these strategies in processing a text.
As fluency is the ability to read aloud with accuracy, speed and expression, we can certainly state that having a large vocabulary plays a particularly important role in breaking free from the process of decoding each word. If the text has too many unfamiliar words, readers would divert so much attention away from comprehension that they could not make sense of what they read. Vocabulary and fluent reading are therefore interrelated.
To sum up, fluency is important because it creates a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When students are fluent readers, they do not have to concentrate on decoding words, but can rather focus on understanding the text.
The act of reading in itself directly improves fluency. I don't consider myself a linguist of any sort, but I have an above-average vocabulary in English and I can usually understand unfamiliar words based on my experience, context, and root words. However, I came to this state not through study or schooling, but through an immense amount of reading. The more you read, the more fluent you will be. I advise reading, reading and more reading; find genres you enjoy, or even textbooks, and read until your eyes fall out. Then read some more. (By the way, I would not come to this conclusion based on being forced to read; schoolwork never interested me as much as the works I wanted to read.)
Fluency in a language allows one to use all aspects of critical knowledge of a language. A person is only truly fluent if they are able to read, speak, and understand the spoken word. By including all three aspects of the language, one is sure to master not only formal but informal language.
The importance of one's fluency of a language, in regards to reading, is either heightened by their ability to read, listen (comprehend the spoken word), and speak the language. If one lacks the ability to do any of the three, they risk the change of losing some information which may be vital to the reading.
Fluent readers are able to pick up on an author's tone and are able to read in ways that express emotions. Fluent readers can also insert pauses and emphasize certain, necessary words. It is the writer's use of tone, emotion, pauses, and emphasis that give the writing distinct meaning. If a reader cannot read these things, then the reader misses a great deal of comprehension. Therefore, if a reader cannot read tone, emotion, pauses, and emphasis quickly, effortlessly, and automatically then the reader's comprehension level is greatly affected.
Reading depends upon the reader being able to derive meaning from phrases and sentences and paragraphs, not just isolated words. A reader who needs to spend lots of time decoding individual words has no opportunity to link those words together into larger thoughts that carry the meaning of the story or article or whatever is being read. If one needs to stop frequently to determine what a particular word is, the meaning of the reading up to that point gets forgotten in the quest to understand the newly encountered word.
Just from my own personal experience of learning and speaking Spanish, my lack of fluency means that I find it very hard to read Spanish texts quickly and to understand them, especially when it comes to literature. This is because my vocabulary range is low, so there are a number of words that I don't understand and impact by comprehension.
Proficiency in fluency directly correlates to proficiency in comprehension. The incidence in misunderstanding meaning because of complexities in grammar and syntax and vocabulary directly increases or decreases as a result of the correlated level of fluency.