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Dramatically Improve Your Child's Fluency

Image of a stopwatchFluency is how fast and smoothly a person reads. Generally, the better the fluency, the better the reading comprehension. Lack of fluency occurs when a reader has to keep stopping to "sound out" (decode) an unfamiliar word. Stopping too often and for too long, causes the reader to loose concentration, which impedes comprehension. The goal would be to help your child read without stopping too often. This is a 2-prong process and can be done over the same time period.

1. Teach the instant words (see below), allowing your child to read them instantly without stopping at all. The lists are arranged in order of frequency, so the first twenty instant words are the most common words found in books. Start with those.

2. Reduce the amount of time it takes to decode (sound out) a word. Many words will look unfamiliar to your child simply because of letters added to the beginning or end of a simple, easy word he already knows. The letters stuck onto the beginning of a word are called onsets or prefixes. The letters added to the end of a familiar word are called suffixes. You can reduce the amount of time it takes him to decode the word, by teaching your child to pronounce the most frequently seen onsets and affixes (prefixes, suffixes) (see below). Once learned, your child will be able to recognize them in words and cover them with his fingers, so he is left with a smaller word to decode. It works like a charm! When the whole word has been decoded, he should read the entire word smoothly and continue to the end of the sentence. Then reread the entire sentence for understanding.

An additional help is to have your children/students reread short passages until smooth.

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300 instant words your child needs to know for reading, writing, and spelling fluency. If your child knows these words, s/he knows about 64% of all words in any book. Begin with the first 100 Instant Words list.

Onsets Button

Onsets are letter combinations found at the beginning of many words (bl, gr, gl, th, thr, st). It is important for your child to be able to recognize them in words and pronounce them, as this will help him sound out unknown words quicker. This generally leads to greater reading comprehension. The list below contains instructions for how to teach the onsets. This system REALLY works because the children put an action to each onset, helping him/her remember the sound of the onset.
Prefixes and Suffixes Button Here you will find a list of common prefixes and suffixes. Knowing how to pronounce these affixes will increase fluency. Readers can cover the prefixes and suffixes leaving a smaller word to read, then uncover the prefixes or suffix and say the entire word. A bonus is if your child can slowly learn the meanings of the affixes, it will increase his listening and reading vocabulary later. But first YOU must know them. If you go through our study unit, Word Analysis: Unlocking the Meaning of Words, you will be amazed at how often you can throw in little lessons that will help your children. For example, teaching a child that "un" means "not" will come in handy many times during conversations (unhappy= not happy) or tri = three (triangle, tricycle, triplets). You will be slowly helping him develop "word consciousness" which is a research-based practice for building vocabulary AND you will be giving him the tools to become independent learner.



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This page last updated 06/22/2016