Repeated Reading – when done properly – is an evidence-based approach to fluency instruction. Repeated Reading in various forms has been studied extensively (see Padeliadu & Giatzidou, 2018, for a review of eight meta-analyses).
Several important characteristics of a Repeated Reading lesson must be present in order for it to be optimally effective.
- Modelling of fluent reading
- Positive feedback and correction from adults
- Goal setting, reinforcement, and self-monitoring
- Previewing potentially unknown words before reading
- Cueing students to focus on pace and meaning as they read
- At least four repetitions of the same text (standard Repeated Reading) or a sufficiently similar text (‘Varied Practice’)
Some methods of reading fluency instruction involve the use of a timer — having students read as many words as they can within a designated time period (usually one or two minutes). Sometimes it is the reverse — timing how long it takes for a student to read a list of words or a passage. When a timer is used, the student should be advised that speed is not the only thing to focus on in their reading – they need to be accurate and observe the rules of punctuation and other conventions.
How to teach a Repeated Reading lesson (Small group or one-to-one)
- Choose a passage that students can read with very few errors.
- The passage should be readable in 1-2 minutes (50-200 words).
- Model fluent reading of the passage.
- Listen to the student/s read the passage and provide unknown words after three seconds.
- Provide specific positive or corrective feedback to the student/s after each reading, mentioning accuracy, rate or expression.
- Have the student/s read the passage at least four times.
- Plan for 10 to 15 minutes per fluency lesson, ideally three times a week.
Example of repeated reading with one student