Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, at a good pace, and with good expression.
Fluency is tied to comprehension. If a student is reading at a slow pace, and having to sound out many words, the main focus is on decoding, and as a result, comprehension goes down.
To improve fluency, have your child or student read aloud a text that is below his/her instructional level. This can build confidence and show them what it is like to read smoothly. Another good technique is you read a page and your child reads a page. Also, try having your child record him/herself–kids love to hear themselves read!
Knowing high frequency sight words can greatly improve reading fluency.
High frequency sight words are the words that are most commonly used in English. It is not surprising that words like: a, an, the, of, said, etc. would be at the top of the list of high frequency words.
It helps to teach these words alongside phonics because of the sheer amount of times a child/student will encounter them when reading a passage. Phonics should be used for less familiar words. Knowing irregular words by sight is even more beneficial as they are difficult to sound out using the traditional phonics patterns.
Here is a list of the 100 most common words used in English (Fry’s List):
the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, from, or, one, had, by, words, but, not, what, all, were, we, when, your, can, said, there, use, an, each, which, she, do, how, their, if, will, up, other, about, out, many, then, them, these, so, some, her, would, make, like, him, into, time, has, look, two, more, write, go, see, number, no, way, could, people, my, than, first, water, been, called, who, oil, sit, now, find, long, down, day, did, get, come, made, may, part
(Click on my Reading Navbar for the first 300 words plus the Dolch’s word list.)
What are sight words?
There is some confusion regarding “sight words,” as this term can generally mean two different things.
- A sight word can be any word that is read by “sight”–that is, it is not sounded out but recognized and read as a whole word.
- A sight word is a word that is irregular in that it does not follow the typical pronunciation of letter sounds and thus can’t be sounded out. These kind of words are read by “sight” as well.
Most good spelling lists have the majority of the words following a spelling pattern (such as CVC) and then add a few high frequency sight words. These words can fall under either definition–some can be sounded out and some can’t. But all are so common so as to be beneficial to read by sight. Knowing sight words improves reading fluency.
There is something satisfying when your child or students begin to read CVC words; they feel good about reading!
CVC words are words that have a consonant-vowel-consonant sound pattern. Some examples of CVC words are: cat, jet, hit, pot, but. These words can be sounded out and blended (sounds /j/, /e/, /t/, and then blended together to make “jet”).
It is good idea to get a really solid foundation for your child when teaching CVC words. Sounding out these words is the building block of future reading. Also, it is helpful if your child knows the most common sight words to facilitate reading simple stories.
I have designed a unit on CVC words and the most common high frequency sight words. Some students need more time at this phase than the first grade curriculum allows. If you decide to purchase the unit, I hope you find the materials helpful, and I welcome any feedback.
My units are primarily in black and white so as to be printer and user friendly. Click on my Teacher Store button to view my items.
My students have loved Starfall!
Starfall is a FREE website for pre-k to first grade and you don’t need to sign up. It focuses on letter sounds, beginning reading, math, and has fun educational games too.
I really like this website; check it out at: http://www.starfall.com/