Reading is very important not only in the learning process but also in the personal development of an individual. In fact, it is through reading an individual receives a considerable amount of information from different sources which contribute to his or her personal development. At the same time, reading is crucial in the learning process since it influences not only subjects, which are directly related to reading, such as literature studies, for instance, but other subjects as well. In such a situation, the reading fluency is of the utmost importance but fluency should be based on accuracy and automaticity of reading. In such a way, an individual will be not only able to read fluently but also comprehend the information properly and process it adequately.
Obviously, the role of reading fluency in the learning process can hardly be underestimated. Students start learning reading at the beginning of their education and reading skills often lay the foundation to academic success of students. In fact, the reading fluency of students defines their ability to perceive the learning material and understand it, while reading problems, such as dyslexia, for instance, often evoke serious problems which prevent students from successful learning. The reason is obvious to perceive the learning material student should be able to read fluently, comprehend what they read and evaluate the information they have learned from reading.
The role of reading fluency and its impact on an individual should be taken into consideration by educators. They should develop efficient strategies which contribute to the development of reading fluency with a particular focus on accuracy and automaticity. In this respect, it is possible to suggest different strategies that can be applied in the process of teaching the reading fluency. In fact, students should learn how to read text fluently. For this purpose they should learn strategies that help them understand the content of the text and main ideas not only after reading and in the process of reading but also prior to reading as well. In such a situation, it is possible to recommend applying five strategies to the development of the reading fluency: oral previewing, guided repeated reading, neurological impress method, echo reading and reader’s theater (Rasinski & Padak, 2000).
Oral previewing is the strategy that aims at teaching students get prepared to reading. The application of this strategy implies that a teacher should begin by having a student preview the text by first listening to an expert reader. After listening to an expert fluent reader several times, the student reads the passage independently.
Guided repeated reading is the strategy which involves rereading the text, which is often self-selected, until it can be read fluently and accurately. It encourages the use of contextual meaning and sentence structure to predict upcoming words and correct miscues. In terms of this strategy, a student selects a text to be read or a teacher assigns a passage, which the student rereads.
Neurological impress method is another strategy for the development of fluency and reading accuracy and automaticity. In terms of this strategy a teacher and a student read in unison. It might be helpful to imitate this approach using short, rhythmic, and repetitive texts, such as poems or song lyrics. The teacher should demonstrate exact procedure of reading to help student to learn the technique of fluent reading.
Echo reading is, to a significant extent, similar to neurological impress method and other repeated reading strategies. In fact, this method involves teacher modeling and a student approximating or imitating the reading. At this point, it is possible to recommend this strategy for students who focus too much on the words in the passage rather than on the meaning or for those students who read without expression or attention to punctuation. Unlike neurological impress method, echo reading that a student reads after the teacher but not in unison.
Finally, it is possible to use the reader’s theater strategy. This strategy provides a realistic opportunity for students to read orally and practice their use of intonation, inflection and fluency. This strategy is helpful not only for the fluency but also for comprehension because students must decide how to convey their interpretation of the text ”“ through their oral or reading performance ”“ to the audience. It is worth mentioning the fact that students can self select the text which they read and reread before its presentation to the audience.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the reading fluency is very important but it should be accompanied by automaticity and accuracy of reading. In this respect, the aforementioned strategies can be very helpful not only in the process of reading proper but it can also help students to learn successfully. In such a way, the reading fluency backed up by accuracy and automaticity improve academic prospects of students and facilitate the process of learning at large.