What is Fluency in Reading? A Fluency Guide for Parents

Fluency is essential for academic success and brings more joy and satisfaction when reading.

But what is fluency in reading?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss

  • what fluency in reading is,
  • Its main components
  • and practical strategies you can implement today to help your child become a more fluent reader.

After reading this post, you’ll understand how to help your child become a better reader and make them feel more confident in their ability to comprehend and understand their reading material.

What is fluency in reading featured image of a girl sitting in a field while reading her story book

What is fluency in reading?

Reading fluency is the ability to read quickly, accurately, and with proper expression.

It involves recognizing words rapidly, understanding their meaning, and reading them with expression. Good reading fluency allows readers to comprehend texts more quickly and easily.


What is an example of reading fluency?

An example of reading fluency would be a child who can read a text accurately and at a rate consistent with their age level.

This child could read the text without having to stop and sound out words or reread the same passage multiple times to comprehend the material. They would also be able to read with expression, making the reading more engaging and exciting.

Reading fluency makes it easier for the child to understand what they are reading, as they can read the words quickly and correctly.

Instead of struggling to decode the words, they can concentrate on the meaning of the text. Fluency also helps to build the child’s confidence in their reading ability and can make reading more enjoyable.

See our Children Learning Reading program review for a home-based reading program to increase your child’s overall reading and fluency skills

The 3 Components of reading fluency

There are 3 components of reading fluency:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Speed
  3. Prosody



Accuracy is the ability to read words correctly and without making mistakes.

This means that your child must be able to accurately decode words, recognize sight words, and understand the meaning of the words.

When measuring accuracy, a child is typically asked to read a passage out loud and then have someone score the reading. The scorer looks for errors in the words as they are read and counts them.

The accuracy score is then based on the number of errors.

For example, if a student reads a passage that contains 100 words and makes three errors, the accuracy score would be 97%.

When a child can read accurately, they can focus on understanding the text they are reading and make connections between the words and ideas instead of focusing on decoding the words on the page. This helps them build their comprehension skills to make sense of what they are reading more easily.


The speed component of reading fluency is the rate at which your child reads a text.

It’s measured by having the student read a passage aloud and then counting the number of words read in one minute.

Speed is vital for a child’s reading fluency because it allows them to identify words quickly and accurately without having to apply too much effort.

Instead of focusing on individual words, they can concentrate on the meaning of the text. Faster reading also allows children to read for extended periods, as they are spending less mental energy on the word identification process.

This helps to build their reading fluency, comprehension skills, and overall confidence in reading.


Prosody is reading text with the appropriate expression, intonation, and phrasing.

It involves recognizing and using punctuation, phrasing, emphasis, and other elements of language to demonstrate an understanding of the author’s intent.

Through prosody, your child can bring the text to life and add emotion and expression to the words they are reading.

For example, when reading a sentence that ends with an exclamation mark, your child should be able to read with an appropriate amount of emphasis and excitement.

Similarly, when reading a sentence that ends with a question mark, they should be able to read with a questioning tone.

Prosody isn’t limited to punctuation marks. As seen in the following passage:

“The wind was blowing fiercely. Its force was so strong that the trees swayed dangerously, threatening to break and fall. The sky darkened, and the air was filled with the sound of thunder.”

When a student reads this passage with prosody, they will vary their tone and volume to express the intensity of the wind, the danger of the trees, and the ominous atmosphere.

They might start with a low, intense tone to capture the power of the wind.

Gradually increasing the volume and pitch to emphasize the danger of the trees.

And then lowering their voice again to convey the dark and foreboding atmosphere.

Using prosody when reading helps ensure that the reader can accurately interpret the text and understand the author’s intent.

It also allows the reader to make the text sound more natural and expressive, making it easier to understand and remember.

Oral fluency in reading comprehension

The two skills are closely related. To understand written text, kids must be able to accurately and quickly decode words.

Fluent readers can recognize words and phrases quickly, so they can focus on the meaning of the text instead of struggling to identify individual words. Additionally, they can process the text more quickly and efficiently, so they can better comprehend the author’s meaning and remember the information.

Students who can read quickly, accurately, and with expression will be more likely to understand the text they are reading.

Overall, reading fluency is an essential factor in reading comprehension because it allows the reader to

  • recognize words more quickly and accurately
  • process the text more efficiently
  • stay engaged with the text
  • draw meaningful connections between the different parts of the text.

Why fluency is important in helping children with reading disabilities

Reading fluency helps readers to read more quickly and accurately, which increases their understanding of the material.

As discussed earlier, fluency also helps develop strong reading comprehension skills essential for academic success.

Here are some of the main benefits of reading fluency:

  • Improved confidence in reading
  • Increased comprehension and understanding of complex texts
  • Increased ability to read aloud with expression
  • Improved speed of reading
  • Improved ability to retell stories
  • Improved ability to make inferences
  • Increased ability to identify and pronounce new words
  • Increased ability to self-correct mistakes

Reading fluency challenges

The challenges faced by non-fluent readers can be divided into three main areas:

  • Comprehension
  • Decoding
  • And fluency


Comprehension refers to the ability to understand a text’s main ideas and details.

Non-fluent readers may have difficulty comprehending the text due to its complexity or lack of familiar words. They may also struggle with inferring meaning from the text, as they may not be able to recognize context clues or pick up on the author’s tone.



Decoding is the ability to recognize and pronounce words accurately.

Non-fluent readers may struggle with identifying words due to poor phonemic awareness or difficulty with sight words. They may also have trouble pronouncing words correctly due to challenges with phonics.


Reading fluency

Non-fluent readers may struggle with this due to difficulty decoding words and comprehending the text.

They may also struggle with maintaining a steady reading rate or varying their speed to match the meaning of the text.
Non-fluent readers face many challenges, but with the help of teachers, tutors, and parents, they can become more successful readers.


Signs to look out for when identifying fluency problems. If your child:

  • Struggles to decode unfamiliar words
  • Reads with choppy or monotone intonation
  • Requires frequent pauses and rereads
  • Takes longer than expected to read
  • Struggles with accuracy
  • Difficulty understanding and recalling content
  • Difficulty comprehending text
  • Difficulty expressing ideas and opinions about the text

Reading strategies to improve your child’s fluency

Read aloud to your child daily

Reading aloud to your child daily.

Start by reading with expression, using different intonations and pauses. Show your child how to do this by modeling it for them.

 It’s also important to check your child’s comprehension after reading to them. This could involve asking questions about what you read, asking your child to retell the stories, or having them complete activities related to the text.

This will help them better understand the text and improve their comprehension.

Reading aloud to your child every day will help foster a love of reading and improve their reading fluency.

Implement assisted reading.

Assisted reading is an instructional technique that involves you reading a text aloud to your child while they follow along silently.

During assisted reading, you’ll pause periodically to allow your child to read a sentence or a phrase out loud.

This helps them become more familiar with the text and gain confidence in their reading abilities. It also allows them to recognize words more quickly and better understand the material.

Practice phonics and phonemic awareness

Practicing phonics and phonemic awareness in a systematic, explicit way with a home-based reading program will improve a child’s reading fluency by providing them with the foundational skills necessary to read accurately and quickly.

Through this approach, children learn the relationship between sounds and letters and can identify the sounds in words.

This will help them decode the words they read and recognize them more quickly, enabling them to read more fluently.

By practicing phonics and phonemic awareness, children will become more confident in their reading abilities, allowing them to take on more challenging reading materials.

Audio tools to support reading fluency

Audio tools can help with reading fluency by providing auditory feedback and support.

For example, audiobooks and online reading applications can help children practice reading aloud by providing them with a model to follow. Many audio tools also feature text-to-speech technology, which can help children with pronunciation, intonation, and pacing.

Some audio tools include games and interactive activities to help your child understand and use new vocabulary words.

Using audio tools, your child can gain confidence in their reading skills and become more fluent.

Repeated reading

Repeated reading is a strategy where kids read the same text multiple times.

Each time your child reads the text, they should be able to read it faster and with fewer mistakes.

Repeated reading helps your child become more comfortable and familiar with the text, which can help them better comprehend and remember the material.

It also helps build their confidence and improves overall reading skills.

Have your child practice rereading words, phrases, and short passages by having them read the material aloud multiple times.

When rereading, your child should read the material faster than their first reading and with fewer mistakes. Remember to give your little ones positive feedback after each rereading and encourage them to keep practicing.

Provide positive reinforcement and encouragement

When your child receives praise for their reading, it shows them that their efforts are being acknowledged and encourages them to keep improving.

Praise also helps to create a positive atmosphere for your child to continue to read.

Have your child practice reading with a timer

Timing your child as they read a passage encourages them to read more quickly and accurately as they try to beat their personal best times.

With practice, your child can become more confident in their reading skills and increase their reading speed. Additionally, this can be an enjoyable way for your child to track their progress, which can help motivate them to continue to strive for improvement.

Have your child practice reading aloud with expression

When a child reads with expression, they can more accurately pick up on the author’s intended meaning, tone, and emotion.

This helps to engage their critical thinking skills and encourages further exploration of the text. Reading aloud with expression also enables a child to monitor their own reading and identify any errors or mispronunciations they may have made.

This helps to build their self-correction skills and fluency in reading.

Reading aloud with expression helps build a child’s reading fluency by increasing their speech rate, comprehension, and understanding of a text. It also helps to build self-confidence in their reading abilities.

With expression and inflection, a child can better comprehend the text and make connections between the words, sentences, and paragraphs. 

Consistent fluency practice will lead to massive improvement

In conclusion, parents need to take steps to ensure their children’s reading fluency.

By implementing the strategies outlined in this post, parents can help their children learn to read with confidence and accuracy, thus setting them up for success in the future. Taking the time to work with your child on reading fluency can be an enjoyable experience for both parent and child.

It can make a significant impact on their reading abilities.

 Next Post: Why fluency is important