Goal-Setting: Fluency (and a Freebie!)

Let me begin with this very clear point: fluency is MORE than just reading fast. It is so much more. The rate of reading (words read correctly per minute) is only ONE MEASURE of fluency. So whenever I address the concept of fluent reading with my students, I am careful to stress that they always do their best reading and that their oral reading should be comfortable, much like having a conversation with the text. It's not a race; it's not about speed.

For our struggling readers, though, reading with accuracy, at a smooth, comfortable rate is a huge hurdle. For students with dyslexia, or similar disorders, it is important to provide a visual representation of their progress. Not only does it help them better conceptualize their reading, but it also gives them a significant visualization of their successes. This is so important; I cannot stress it enough.

Here's why...

Struggling readers need to see evidence of success, even in the smallest form. Oftentimes, their performance on classroom assessments is discouraging. These readers are still developing foundational reading skills; they are still developing as fluent readers, and the comprehension tasks required on most assessments is beyond their present ability. For this reason, they are often discouraged with their reading performance. When you can help them see their progress, it is paramount to their continued sense of motivation.

That's why these graphs are important -Not because we are stressing speed-reading, but because we are highlighting progress.

My graphs are very simple in design and include the basic elements for progress monitoring: student name, dates, space to document words read correctly per minute (in the form of a bar graph), a "notes" section (to be used as needed), and a space for the student to document their own goal for fluency.