Lesson 7 - Reading Techniques for Adult Basic Education (ABE) Learners Illinois State Library

Instructional Methods to Increase Fluency

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There are several techniques that will increase the fluency of the new reader. The more experience a reader has reading, the more confident the reader will become. These strategies also increase the fluency and enjoyment of reading as well as pronunciation and grammar. Add one of these techniques to each tutoring session to vary the lesson, to create a relaxed atmosphere or to make a transition to another activity. For appropriate materials, see Lesson 11: Instructional Materials.

Duet Reading

Select reading material that is 2-3 grade levels ABOVE the student's reading ability and on a topic that is of interest to the student.

Method: The tutor and the learner begin reading together. The tutor reads with expression at a normal rate of speed. The tutor follows the text with a finger under the line. Continue even if the student hesitates or falls slightly behind. If the student stops completely, the tutor stops, takes a breath and asks if it is OK to continue. Begin again. If it is clear that the student was not able to participate, choose easier material next time. Spend about 10 minutes for this activity. Do not ask comprehension questions.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud allows the student to hear that reading flows in phrases and sounds just like spoken language. Many learners with reading difficulties may not have been read to as children, so hearing someone read can be a valuable experience. This experience can motivate the learner to practice reading on their own. This experience can introduce stories that parents can then tell to their children. Having a learner read aloud will also give a tutor information on the learner's ability to comprehend material.

Method: The tutor reads aloud a piece of material that interests the learner. Spend about 10 minutes and do not ask comprehension questions. Just enjoy.

Echo Reading

Echo reading encourages more independence on the part of the student. The tutor reads a phrase or sentence with the appropriate speed and expression. The student reads the same phrase or sentence, trying to read with the same fluency. The same passages can be rehearsed over and over until the student's reading becomes fluent. Alternate echo reading with other methods if this method becomes tedious.

Shadow Reading

The tutor and student begin reading together with the tutor's voice fading in and out, allowing the student to continue on his or her own. As the student becomes proficient reading a selection, the tutor reduces the volume of his or her voice until gradually becoming silent. The learner is then reading out loud on their own.

Taped Books

The tutor and student listen to a taped book together. The learner can follow along skimming a finger below the words. Listening to a taped book while following the words is a good homework assignment for a new reader.

Assisted Reading

Assisted reading can be a method to use before a learner reads aloud on his or her own. If you are going to have a learner read aloud, allow time for preparation and for the learner to read silently before reading aloud. Do not let the learner struggle. If the learner does not know some words, the tutor may say them quietly and allow the learner to continue without correction.

All of these techniques are focused on fluency, enjoyment and attuning the ear to expressive reading. Questions, if any, should come from the learner. The experience of using these reading techniques should be a positive one for the learner.