"This is the only program that has worked. She
is now reading above grade level. Thank you!"
- Christina C., parent of 2nd grader
Reading Fluency Programs
Improving Reading Fluency At Home
Reading fluency interventions are commonplace at schools because fluency -- the ability to decode automatically, at natural language speed -- is a challenging reading skill. It requires sound phonological awareness so that sounding out is effortless, as well as a familiarity with language -- structure, spelling and vocabulary -- processing skills that are beyond many students. Improving reading fluency is oftentimes a lifelong journey.
Our reading fluency programs take a sequential, comprehensive approach. The initial phase focuses on cognitive skills training, to strengthen phonological awareness, and language structure familiarity. These elements are refined in following phases, where reading fluency and comprehension are practiced together, leading the reader to push decoding down to the subconscious, making decoding an automatic, fluent skill.
Reading skills improved by our programs
Why Reading Fluency Matters
Reading fluency is more than just decoding or being able to sound words out. It is about automaticity: the ability to read subconsciously or effortlessly. If a child need to concentrate while decoding, it is detracting from reading comprehension, next on the pyramid, and it makes reading exhausting.
Automatic decoding -- where the brain acts like a computer, matching text to word memory -- is not only easier, it's faster. This is why words per minute is a fluency indicator. Since the brain can make automatic matches faster than natural language speed, reading fluency is defined as reading at natural language speed. Teachers also track prosody -- the ability to read out loud with the right emphasis and inflection -- since reading with expression is indicative of automaticity.
Steps To Reading Fluency and Comprehension
Here are the individual skills addressed by our reading fluency programs:
The most important, and time consuming, theme in our reading fluency software is to strengthen the student's cognitive reading skills foundation, at the base of the reading skills pyramid. Reading fluency is only possible once auditory processing, phonological awareness, and other fundamental cognitive skills are functioning at natural language speed.
Cognitive skills training
Ultimately, improving reading fluency requires all words to become sight words. The brain learns to recognize every word as text and matches it to its word memory. This gargantuan task is only possible if the brain is aware of spelling patterns -- spelling phonetically, then spelling rules, then spelling exceptions.
Exercises to help spelling
Fluency requires being able to sound out words effortlessly, every time. Many of our students have grown used to skipping words and even worse, guessing. So, for them, this is a new and demanding skill to which Fast ForWord devotes a large amount of time.
There are a number of so-called "red" words that can't be spelled phonetically -- words like would and because -- that just have to be learned. The Fast ForWord reading program introduces and reviews these high frequency words to ensure that students learn them.
Development of left to right eye tracking begins in the cognitive skills stage of our program but is perfected here.
Language Structure and Syntax
The fluent reader is familiar with the English structure -- syntax, grammar, verb tenses and language conventions. Skilled readers use their strong processing skills to listen and analyze the language as they hear it in early life. This natural learning process, the ability to learn the language through absorption is undermined by processing delays and other cognitive skill weaknesses. Fast ForWord assumes this is the case, and so devotes a large amount of time to developing language structure familiarity, using a slowed down, adaptive natural learning approach.
Sound reading fluency and comprehension skills go hand in hand. Our reading programs devote a great deal of time in the second phase to practicing reading comprehension with fluency, analytical tasks that can only be answered correctly if decoding is automatic, i.e., fluent.
Improving reading comprehension
Fast ForWord Programs
Fast ForWord is a series of research based programs that draw from cognitive research, neuroscience, linguistics and the science of natural learning, to build reading skills from the bottom up. In the first cognitive phase, it is a reading fluency program -- that is the primary goal.
Most students start with Fast ForWord Language which builds cognitive skills, then move to age-appropriate programs in Fast ForWord Reading which complete the training with spelling, vocabulary and other skills needed for reading fluency.
Fast ForWord programs in detail