Fluency is one’s ability to read a text smoothly without little to no hesitation, pausing correctly at punctuation, while reading with expression. Fluency is not something most readers just have naturally. It takes time and practice. Usually the more one reads, the more fluent they become.
Vocabulary is such an important component in becoming a successful reader. It expands our minds in more ways than one. It can help us visualize a scene in a story, feel an emotion from a main character, express our own self in our writing, and gives new meaning to many unknown words. It is the bridge between emergent readers and fluent readers. It is how we communicate.
After introducing and explicitly teaching young students phonemic awareness, phonics instruction follows naturally as the second step necessary to produce good readers. In this blog, we will continue digging deeper into our “The Big Five” blog post, focusing on the second skill - Phonics.
Phonemic awareness is the ability for students to hear and manipulate sounds. It is a precursor to reading, but does NOT involve any reading of words in print. Studies support that a young reader’s ability to manipulate the sounds heard is an indicator of early reading success.
From 1997 – 2000, the US Department of Education formed the National Reading Panel. The purpose of the panel was to determine the most effective way to teach reading. They reviewed over 100,000 reading studies to make their evaluation and put forth a recommended plan. Their plan is known as the BIG FIVE.