When the National Reading Panel reviewed almost 100 research articles on teaching fluency, they made the important discovery that the programs that work most effectively and produce the largest gains share three key features. A focus on the child's oral reading opportunities for practice, allowing a child to read and to reread words aloud in connected text and ongoing feedback as a child reads. It is critical to appreciate that reading aloud makes feedback possible, silent reading does not. What is the best way to implement guided oral reading? Is it best to read new materials or repeat reading the same materials? Repeated reading of old materials, and reading new materials both have a positive influence on word recognition and reading fluency. Results of recent studies indicate that guided oral reading should focus on reading new materials rather than reading the same material multiple times. Results indicate that while both methods will increase word recognition and improve fluency, children who read new materials show greater growth in reading comprehension. As part of these studies, researchers had the opportunity to examine children who only listen to the teacher reading the stories instead of reading the stories themselves. These children did not make any gains in word recognition, fluency, or comprehension. Professor Melanie Kuhn of Purdue University College of Education notes that, "While reading aloud to students is important in fostering a love of reading, learners must actively engage in the reading of connected text if they are to become skilled readers." Reading should always be encouraged for pleasure and for knowledge. However, if a child is a avoiding what tenuous reader, simply encouraging him to read silently to himself will not make him a better reader. He may simply be repeating errors or daydreaming. It is only by reading aloud with feedback and correction that real gains in reading are noted. What can I do at home to encourage fluency? Parents with dyslexic readers can also help to improve their child's fluency. One evidence-based approach is referred to as paired reading, a variation of guided oral reading. It requires only 15 minutes in the evening. Parents read a brief story, or passage to their child. Both parents and child then read the same passage together a few times, and then the child alone reads the text back to his parents. Comparison show that children who read aloud with their parents made substantially larger gains and fluency than those who didn't. To reiterate, the overall technique of having the child read aloud to an experienced adult is referred to as guided oral reading. An approach mentioned earlier, paired reading as an example of guided oral reading, the guidance can come from a teacher, a tutor or a parent. I urge parents of dyslexic children to make fluency training, guided oral reading the number 1 priority, because it involves reinforcement rather than teaching a child to a new concept. It is ideally suited for the home. Fluency training is something all parents can do for the child. It requires a little time and minimal expertise, and it invariably works. You are training your child's brain and helping build the accurate neural models necessary for quick and accurate reading. There are very few activities for dyslexic reader that provide as much improvement for the amount of time spent as guided oral reading to us. You may ask, how can I determine the difficulty level of reading materials? Fluency training, one component of a comprehensive reading lesson takes perhaps 15 min or less per lesson. Keep in mind that a child must first read a word accurately before she can read it fluently. So in carrying out guided, repeated oral reading with a child, it is important to have her practice reading passages at her comfort level. As I said earlier, children are comfortable with the books texts when they can read about 19 out of 20, that is 19 out of 20 words correctly. Such a book is at the child's independent reading level. A teacher can recommend books that she feels are appropriate, or discovering a book your child might enjoy. When you are in a library, you can turn to children's books in print, which sorts books by title, author, and subject matter, libraries subscribe and are able to access this resource. In the appendix of Overcoming Dyslexia, second edition, you'll find lists of books for children, including picture books, poetry, easy readers, picture books with rhymes, a pattern recognition, and transitional chapter books. Consider that selection a starting point for further exploration. So you ask, can fluency be made fun? Yes. There are enjoyable ways to encourage reading aloud at home. Having a child practice reading poetry is an excellent method for improving his fluency. Poems are usually short. They have rhyme, and they are tailor made for reading out loud and with expression. Some parents stage a poetry party. The children select a poem, and for the next several days practice reading the poem aloud again and again. The day of the party, lights are turned out and flashlights or lamps provide dim light an atmosphere. After sufficient practice, even the most disabled readers seem to be able to read their poems with accuracy, smoothness, and expression in this environment. Alternatively, many students enjoy and benefit from staging dramatic readings of a selection from a script. They enjoy the drama and willing participants. Dramatic readings truly improve fluency. In one recent study, students participating in this approach called reader's theater, for just a 10-week period, made an entire year's gain in improving their reading rates. Students can face an audience or simply sit in a circle and read from a script. Readers theater is successful with children beginning as early as second grade and continuing through high school. What about older children, can they be helped? In addition to poetry and scripts, older dyslexic students also benefit from activities to support and increase their fluency. Reading passages aloud is helpful to students at all ages. But older students have difficulty finding suitable materials to read aloud. Whatever the material, students should practice reading aloud passages that are relatively short, preferably less than 200 words.