The University of Iowa

Support Reading Fluency At Home-Part 1


Posted on: February 5, 2016

Reading fluency, one of the five building blocks of reading, is critical to a child’s reading success. There is a misconception that fluency is the ability to read fast, which is not the case. If a child reads fast, but makes many mistakes, it defeats the purpose of reading for meaning. While pace is involved in reading fluency, accuracy and reading with expression are important components as well. A child who reads with good fluency sounds natural, as if they are having a conversation.

There are many ways families can support their child’s reading fluency. Below you will find information on one way the IRRC Family Resources Collection can help improve reading fluency.

Recording Themselves

“Reading Matters” is an article that is part of the IRRC Family Resources Collection. It provides three different activities families can use at home to help their readers improve their reading fluency. One activity the article suggests is having children make an audiobook by recording themselves reading. In order to make their audiobook sound fluent, the child will need to practice reading the text multiple times before recording. Parents can compare this to actors who perform in a play. They need to rehearse their lines many times before actually doing a real performance.

My kids and I decided to try this activity over winter break, but we added a “live audience.” We got the idea from the article because it said that sharing homemade audiobooks with family and friends can motivate the children. Since we live far away from our family in North Carolina, we occasionally do video calls so the children can see their grandparents when we talk. The kids’ Nana is always eager to read with the children, so I knew she would enjoy hearing the kids read aloud. Likewise, Griffin and Ryan were excited to be able to show off to their grandmother. They each picked a book they wanted to read (I had to help Ryan find the right book, as she is in kindergarten and is just starting to read) and I had them practice reading it several times. They read to me the first few times so I could help them correct any mistakes (if they interfered with meaning).

It was very sweet watching them read holding the book “like a teacher” to show their Nana the pictures. They even asked Nana to tell them which part was her favorite. They each read their books about 6-7 times and we talked about how each time they sounded better and better when they read aloud.

This was a fun way for my children to practice reading with accuracy and expression.  Search “Reading Matters” to find this great article in the IRRC Family Resources Collection. Also, stay tuned for more ways families can support reading fluency at home.