What is a Nonfluent Reader?
Reading Rules! Which words can help your child become a better reader?
What You Need To Know
Every child’s reading level is different. Some first graders with dyslexia are considered ‘dysfluent’ – they have difficulty recognizing words automatically and decoding them by sound segments.
Here are some abilities common to fluent readers:
- Decode words without effort.
- Understand words within the context of a sentence or paragraph.
- Identify a large number of words.
- Deal with reading errors.
- Decode and understand text at the same time.
- Adjust their reading speed to the project demands.
By contrast, here are some characteristics typical of nonfluent readers:
- Decode words with difficulty.
- Figure out words without recognizing context.
- Limited sight vocabulary.
- Rely on one or two ways to handle reading errors.
- Spend more time on decoding than understanding text.
- Have difficulty adjusting reading rates according to project demands or text level.
How You Can Help
Parents who want to help a nonfluent first grade reader have a number of options.
- Word walls. Have fun making cards for frequently used words and adding them to your kitchen wall. At mealtimes practice on these words (see the list in the article linked below). With time and encouragement, your child will add these words to his or her sight vocabulary. As a result, they will stumble over fewer words.
- Make sentences into speeches. For some children, words on a page seem scarier than words spoken out loud. Choose a piece of text with your child, then read it over and over again. After several readings, it will start to sound like people talking. The more your child can ‘hear’ the words, the better.
- Read aloud. Build on this idea of speaking words, by singing them, or reading simultaneously. Click on the television for the morning news over breakfast, then repeat the headlines with your child out loud.
- Summarize. At bedtime, after you read to your child, ask him or her to tell you what the story was about. You don’t even need to review the whole story, maybe just one page. The important thing is your child is developing skills of listening and understanding.
Fluency comes with work and attention. Parents can make a big difference if they commit time to read with their first grader. Talk to your child’s teacher about options for intensive word study support, and ask them and your local library for book recommendations.
For more information on the characteristics of fluent versus nonfluent readers, please see the full article:
For the 100 most commonly used words, check out our article:
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