Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Continuum of Fluency

“Fluency is not a stage of development at which readers can read all words quickly and easily.  Fluency changes, depending on what readers are reading, their familiarity with the words, and the amount of their practice with reading text” (Put Reading First, 23).

When students first begin reading, learning the Alphabetic Principle and the sounds of all the letters is essential in establishing a firm foundation. Once students have become fluent with individual letters and sounds, then working with groups of sounds and syllables becomes a priority. As students are able to blend sounds together, they become more fluent reading individual words, building vocabulary knowledge. Fluency advances to reading increasingly larger chunks of text moving from phrases and sentences to longer passages. Although the development of fluency includes these steps, teachers will need to adjust instruction backward or forward along the continuum to meet the needs of students.

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