What is it?
Fluency is the ability to read text accurately and effortlessly, using appropriate expression and phrasing.
Why is it important?
If a child is not fluent, it means that he is spending most of his attention on figuring out (decoding) the words, and that makes comprehension difficult.
What can we do at home?
Repeated reading - Choose a passage that will note be very difficult for your child. Read the passage aloud to your child, and then read it together, helping your child figure out any tricky words. Next, have your child read the passage to you with a focus on accuracy. Finally, have your child read the passage to you again, paying attention to fluency and expression. The goal is to sound smooth and natural.
Use different voices - When reading a familiar story or passage, try having your child use different voices. Read the story in a mouse voice or a cowboy voice or a monster voice or a princess voice. This is another way to do repeated reading, but it adds some fun to reading practice.
Read to different audiences - Reading aloud is a way to communicate to an audience. When a reader keeps the audience in mind, he knows that his reading must be fluent and expressive. Provide a variety of opportunities for your child to read to an audience. Your child can read to stuffed animals, pets, siblings, neighbors, grandparents - anyone who is willing to listen. This is a good way to show off what was practiced with repeated reading.
Record the reading - After your child has practiced a passage, have him record it with a tape player or MP3 device. Once recorded, your child can listen to his reading and follow along in the book. Often, he will want to record it again and make it even better!