We all know that reading fluency is an important part of becoming a good reader, but there are many components to fluency. One of those important pieces of reading fluency is accuracy. Having good accuracy is the ability to read the text with very few or no mistakes. Accuracy truly is the most essential skill of reading fluency. If a child is “reading” a passage quickly, but they are skipping over or changing every other word, they are not getting the full meaning and will not be able to comprehend what they have read, which is the main purpose of reading.
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There are many factors that go into improving accuracy.
First and foremost, students need to be able to decode and read words quickly. Explicit phonics instruction is so important in improving accuracy when reading. If students cannot quickly decode words, they will continue to struggle while reading. Students also need to be able to quickly read undecodable sight words in order to improve their accuracy.
- Develop letter-sound fluency. Students must know letter sounds quickly.
- After students are fluent with letter sounds, they need to know how to blend them together to read decodable words.
- Students need to be able to quickly recognize and read sight words.
Strategies and Tips for Improving Accuracy
- Use letter sound timing sheets and word timing sheets to help students increase their fluency. Grab these FREE Letter & Word Timing Sheets.
- Practice sight word fluency.
- Use fun pointers, finger highlighters, highlighter strips, etc. to help students stay focused on the word they are reading.
- Encourage students to look for parts they know in a word.
- Do not let students practice reading words incorrectly. If you are focusing on accuracy, immediately stop a student when they mispronounce a word. Say the word correctly. Then, have the student repeat that word before continuing.
- Teacher Tap Method – While listening to a student read, tap a pencil or your finger on the table when the student makes a mistake. When they hear the tap, they will go back and reread to fix their error. Praise the student for the correction.
- Students need to listen to themselves read. If they do not know that they are making mistakes, they will not be able to fix them. Whisper Phones are great for letting students hear themselves read. It’s also very helpful to record them reading and have them listen to it.
Here are some materials that I use in my classroom to help students with improving accuracy in their reading.
As students become stronger at reading sight words and phonetically spelled words, they will not have to invest all of their thinking into decoding. They will be able to transition into improving their reading comprehension.