Teaching Fluency

Teaching fluency involves providing opportunities to practice, rehearse and reinforce skills to the point of these being performed accurately, quickly, confidently, and subconsciously.

Teaching fluency involves helping learners develop automaticity and accuracy in speaking and listening first and foremost, but also in reading and writing; the more fluent a person is at speaking, the better they are at reading and writing. Achieving fluency is crucial for effective communication in the target language.

There are several strategies that educators can use to teach fluency. Here are some examples:

  • Scaffolding and support: Teachers create graphic organizers or sentence starters to help students generate ideas and organize their thoughts more quickly and accurately in controlled speaking activities.

  • Speaking in different contexts: To improve speaking fluency, teachers may provide opportunities for students to practice speaking in various contexts, such as whole-class discussions or small-group activities.

  • Question-and-answer: Teachers provide lists of questions that the students answer.

  • Pronunciation and intonation feedback: Teachers provide feedback on important aspects of oral language production such as pronunciation and intonation – and most importantly drill these.

  • Independent and peer practice: Teachers encourage students to practice speaking independently or with peers outside of class to further develop fluency skills.

  • Repeat-reading: Teachers may use this strategy to improve reading fluency; students read the same text aloud many times until they can read it smoothly and quickly. This also helps with speaking fluency.

  • Modeled fluent reading: Teachers read aloud to their students, who are then asked to repeat what the teacher has read. The teacher provides regular feedback on their performance to help improve their reading fluency. This also helps with speaking fluency.

  • Regular writing practice: To improve writing fluency, teachers encourage students to write frequently using prompts or free-writing exercises to increase speed and fluency. It also includes repeating the same writing a few times.

Overall, teaching fluency requires a combination of rehearsal and practice, supported by explicit instruction, modeling and feedback, all of which is tailored to the needs and abilities of each individual learner. By developing fluency in speaking, writing, reading and listening, students can become confident, proficient communicators in their target language.

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