Successful readers must be able to fluently decode words they are reading independently and with automaticity. Once they can decode words fluently, they are able to comprehend what they are reading more easily. This action research study describes how reformatting traditional fluency instruction paired with additional student practice time increases the reading ability of first grade students.
The highlighted research was conducted in a first grade classroom with six and seven year old students. Each student was given explicit fluency instruction within a small group setting in addition to whole group fluency instruction, at their specific reading level, with independent fluency practice. Fluency strategies were taught during whole group times, and reinforced in small groups. In addition, each student was given fluency passages or Readers’ Theater scripts at their individual reading level to practice at home nightly. This action research project shares the benefits of specific, focused fluency instruction within a small group setting and how fluency instruction in first grade can help to close the reading achievement gap.
Five reading assessments were used to determine the growth of each student before and after the instructional changes in fluency were put in place. The results show how the small group that participated in the reformatted fluency instruction, increased in words per minute, number of mastered sight words, increased comprehension, and overall reading level at twice the rate as that of students not in the group in the same class.
Bell, Lydia L. (2017). "Fluency Instruction that Makes a Difference." Fluency Instruction that Makes a Difference .