Fluency Assessment

Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly and with prosody. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression.

Fluency is important because it connects word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text, and they can draw upon their prior knowledge as they read and draw inferences.

In both English and Spanish, repeated and monitored oral reading improves reading fluency and overall fluency comprehension.

You can help your students become more fluent readers by:

  1. Providing them with models of fluent reading
  2. Paving students repeatedly read passages as you offer guidance

The following activities provide repeated oral reading practices:

Student-Adult Reading: reading one on one with an adult, who provides a model of fluent reading.

  • Choral Reading: reading aloud simultaneously or as an echo
  • Partner Reading: reading aloud to a partner
  • Reader’s Theater: rehearsing and performing a dialogue-rich script before an audience
  • National Institute for Literacy (2001)

Fluency Assessment in a Biliteracy Context.

Student fluency should be formally and informally assessed on a regular basis to ensure students are make appropriate progress. In both English and Spanish measures of speed and accuracy, such as calculating words read correctly per minute, are appropriate.


Fluency rates for English should never be applied to Spanish reading. English fluency rates average 27 words more per minute than Spanish rates. (Larrea-Garcia & Ramirez, 2015)

A “total words per minute” scoring guide normed with English readers reading English passages is not a valid measure for Spanish reading fluency.

See Fluency rates comparisons for English and Spanish.