Reading Fluency: Why It Matters in Raising Academic School Standards

Reading is a critical skill for all. Students are expected to assimilate most of their academic learning through digesting written words, and an inability to read can be a tremendous setback for a student in an academic school. Although the Waldorf teaching method may approach reading differently, important fundamental concepts, such as fluency, and comprehension are the same.

What is Reading Fluency

Reading fluency measures how well the child reads written text,, which is separate from understanding the text, and focuses on the actual act of speaking or decoding words. A child displays high reading fluency if they can read the text quickly and naturally with the correct expression and ease of identifying words or decoding them.

Despite the fluency, however, the child may struggle to explain the text or answer questions about it, and they may not remember much of what they read. Such a child would have high reading fluency but low comprehension.

Silent Reading and Reading Aloud

It is common for a child’s silent reading fluency to be stronger than their out-loud fluency. Unfortunately, it is difficult to gauge a child’s silent reading fluency. Waldorf education understands that both types of fluency are important for the child’s overall reading skills. This means encouraging the child to both read aloud and to themselves regularly.

The Impact of Reading Fluency

There is a strong correlation between reading fluency and reading comprehension. As students become more fluent, they spend less energy and attention on reading the words, leaving more energy for understanding, analysis and synthesis of the text. Fluency thus becomes the foundation for reading comprehension, and it is difficult to establish strong reading comprehension without strong fluency. Strengthening the child’s fluency with regular reading practice and decoding skills can lead to stronger vocabulary, writing and overall academic skill.


Why is Reading Fluency Important? Very Well.
Relations Among Oral Reading Fluency, Silent Reading Fluency, and Reading Comprehension: A Latent Variable Study of First-Grade Readers. NCBI.


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