Fluency Focus is a carefully sequenced, fully resourced programme of twenty one-hour whole class reading lessons to be delivered once a week in Year 5.
Fluency consists of 3 key elements:
The Education Endowment Foundation’s Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2 report, states that teachers should support pupils to develop fluent reading capabilities. Recommendation 2 of
The recommendation draws a parallel with the teaching of phonics in Key Stage 1 and Early Years – as children become better able to decode words, they become more fluent at reading them and so become better able to access increasingly complex texts.
In much the same way, the evidence suggests that as children develop greater fluency in their reading, their cognitive resources are freed up to focus on understanding the text. As such, fluency can be regarded as a bridge from word recognition to comprehension. Without fluency, it is very difficult to fully understand a text as the experience of reading becomes so disjointed. However, without understanding it can be challenging to develop fluency and so the two elements of reading must be taught hand in hand.
Despite this, many children encounter little fluency work beyond Key Stage 1 and, as a result, at the end of Key Stage 2some pupils leave primary school with poor reading comprehension. This attainment gap continues to widen as these children move through Key Stage 3.
Fortunately, the evidence suggests that if children continue to practice fluent reading of the same material within a guided setting while the teacher provides timely, specific feedback (Bashir and Hook, 2009) then this issue can be tackled.
Fluent readers can read accurately, at an appropriate speed without great effort (automaticity), and with appropriate stress and intonation (prosody). This is quite a combination of skills to master!
Luckily, teachers can support children in this by modelling the various aspects of fluency then providing then appropriate scaffolds to enable children to apply them to their own reading, before, finally, providing a child with specific feedback.
By following a carefully sequenced programme of lessons which gradually build a child’s fluency skills, teachers can have a transformative effect on a child’s reading comprehension and confidence.