At Windmill, we understand that fluency is an essential element of reading comprehension.
Fluent readers recognise words automatically. Because they do not have to decode each word, their attention is focused on understanding what they read. Their ability to group words quickly and read with appropriate phrasing and adherence to punctuation helps them to comprehend the text. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly, naturally and with expression – their reading sounds as if they are talking.
Therefore, at Windmill, once children have learned their letter sounds, are starting to blend and are developing their sight vocabulary, they experience a fluency lesson each week where fluency skills are explicitly taught and practised, in addition to the teacher modelling fluency each day. The teaching of fluency encompasses the following areas:
1. Accuracy: focuses on reading the words correctly and checking what is said matches the words on the page.
2. Sense: focuses on thinking about what is being read and employing a range of strategies, including rereading, if it does not make sense.
3. Pace: focuses on the speed and rhythm at which we read – not too fast; not too slow.
4. Punctuation: focuses on the adherence to and understanding of the mark an author has placed upon the page. E.g. stop at a full stop; pause at a comma; appropriate and context dependent intonation for question and exclamation marks; change your voice as appropriate for the characters when inverted commas are used.
5. Expression: focuses on reading smoothly and the audience’s enjoyment of the reading.
6. Phrasing: focuses on chunking words together into meaningful phrases – the ability to read like you are talking.
7. Performance: focuses on reading with appropriate pitch, power, pause (for effect) and passion.