Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Those with dyslexia typically read at lower levels that expected, despite normal intelligence. Common characteristics of those with dyslexia are difficulties with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds) and or rapid visual-verbal responding.
That being said, you as a parent typically know when your child struggles with reading. They don’t like to read. Reading may be labored. Your kids may take too long to do their assignments. So, what can you do as a parent that will make a difference? Is there something you can do?
4 Steps to Improve Reading Skills
- Reading drills to improve reading fluency in 5 minutes a day.
- Improve spelling and learn the 8 different spelling patterns we use to make words.
- Improve reading comprehension by playing a reading comprehension game.
- Improve writing skills using specially designed graphic organizers.
Today I’m writing about the first activity…reading fluency.
Reading Fluency Training
M. S. Meyer and R. H. Felton (1999) defined fluency as “the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading, such as decoding”.
Dr. Sally Shawitz states that reading fluency training is one of the most important things parents can do to help their children improve their reading skills. The best part of this is that reading fluency training is one of the easiest activities for parents to do with their kids to improve reading skills, and it only takes 5 minutes a few times a week to make a dramatic difference. Reading fluency training works to improve reading skills whether you have LD, dyslexia, are falling through the cracks, or are even gifted.
You may not realize how important reading fluency and accuracy is.
How Reading Fluency Impacts Your Reading Skills
For example, you are reading a passage and read “Susan can go to the store.” You finish reading the passage, you go to the questions, and there is a question that asks, “Why couldn’t Susan go to the store?“ You think to yourself, “I thought I read, ‘Susan can go to the store.’” This question doesn’t make any sense to me. But, what the sentence actually said was, “Susan can’t go to the store.” Your eyes skipped the apostrophe t. The whole meaning was lost.
That is one of the things that the Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills reading fluency training program corrects. With improved reading fluency, you don’t skip or omit words or parts of words. You don’t miss out on important pieces that are critical to reading comprehension. You need to be able to read accurately to understand what you read.
How Daily Practice Can Improve Reading in a Short Amount of Time
Cecil Mercer, a researcher from the University of Florida, published his results from his study Effects of Fluency Intervention for Middle Schoolers with Specific Learning Disabilities in (2000) stating daily practice can be for as little as five or six minutes. Substantial gains in reading fluency came from repeated oral reading of various sorts such as letters or words for five or six minutes a day. The key to the success was doing the repeated oral reading over a period of time e.g. six months to twenty-three months.
Reading Fluency Research
The importance of reading fluency has been noted for many years. In fact, one of the first reading fluency researchers, psychologist William MacKeen Cattell (1886), discovered that you can read a word (like ‘tiger’) faster than you can name a picture of a pouncing feline creature! For more reading fluency research, head over to the research section.
Awaken the Scholar Within
Reading, Writing, and Study Skills Program
Reading, writing, and study skills problems are typically caused by one or more areas of perception that impact learning. Bonnie Terry, M.Ed., BCET, has developed a comprehensive reading, writing, and study skills program to address the root cause of your learning problems while improving your reading, writing and study skills in 20 minutes a day with simple activities. To learn more, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Bonnie Terry.