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Reading Research

What helps my child learn to read?



Part 1: Fluency


One important aspect of learning to read is automaticity: the ability to read accurately with expression.

Why?  If we easily recognize words, we don't have to stop to figure them out, which takes away from understanding what the words mean.
If we can easily recognize words, the ideas those words represent are more easily understood.

Reading fluency develops with repeated readings. So reading those books over and over helps children learn to recognize frequently used words and develop their ability to decode any word.

Here's the research behind automaticity, or fluency in reading:


 ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. This article explains:

"Fluency instruction leads to impressive gains when it provides regular opportunities for expressive reading through assisted and repeated readings coupled with coaching; it doesn't require explicit reference to reading for speed. Students' reading rates will improve as they become naturally more efficient and confident in their ability to decode words."

March 2004 | Volume 61 | Number 6 
What Research Says About Reading    Pages 46-51 

Creating Fluent Readers

Timothy Rasinski




Big Ideas in Beginning Reading

Center for Teaching and Learning

University of Oregon


This page is simple explanation of fluency, including a video clip explanation.


Key point: "Fluency is not an end in itself but a critical gateway to comprehension. Fluent reading frees resources to process meaning."



Jay Samuels Original Research Article

The Reading Teacher

January, 1979, Volume 32

Republished with Notes, February, 1997, Volume 50


This article explains the research behind the practice of developing fluent readers.  "Repeated reading is the most universal remedial reading technique used to help poor readers achieve reading skill."



Pacific Resources for Education and Learning

Timothy Rasinski

An in depth, but readable look at fluency.


"Fluency is more than reading fast: it is reading at an appropriately fast rate with good expression and phrasing that reflects solid understanding of the passage. Since fluency is multidimensional, methods of assessment must capture its multidimensional nature. This booklet provides a broad definition of reading fluency, one that shows its connection to word decoding and comprehension, and presents some simple but effective methods for assessing student reading progress both in fluency and general achievement."


The bibliography links to many good resources on fluency.




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