Automaticity & Fluency: Pre-K–5
What are Automaticity and Fluency?
Automaticity is an inherent component of fluency. It involves the ability to identify letters, letter patterns, and isolated words accurately and quickly. Fluency integrates automatic word identification with the application of intonation, rhythm (prosody), and phrasing at the text level. In Lexia® Core5® Reading, automaticity is systematically developed through a series of warm-ups and review activities focused on speed of processing. Fluency is addressed through activities that involve analysis of intonation, emphasis, phrasing, and rhythm, as well as the timed silent reading of passages.
What are the roles of Automaticity & Fluency in learning how to read?
Automatic and fluent reading enhances effective reading comprehension. Fluency frees the reader’s attention and cognitive energy to focus on meaning and allows for more efficient application of higher-order thinking skills. To become a fluent reader, a larger number of underlying skills necessary for word identification and sentence processing must become automatic. As students acquire word identification skills and an awareness of the syntactic structure of sentences, they increase the speed at which they can process text until this processing no longer competes with comprehension but rather facilitates it. The faster text is processed, the easier it is to access meaning directly and integrate new information with prior knowledge.
What are the approaches to developing Automaticity and Fluency in Lexia Core5 Reading?
In Lexia Core5 Reading, automaticity and fluency are targeted through systematic activities that enhance the speed of processing.
Automaticity: A feature of Lexia Core5 Reading is the inclusion of warm-up activities and review units designed to consolidate previously learned skills and bring them to a level of automaticity. Students engage with warm-up activities at the beginning of each session for approximately two to three minutes. Since students differ in their processing speed, the pace of these warm-ups is based on individual performance and allows the students to increase their rate of response relative to their level of automaticity. The content of the warm-ups follows the same sequence as the activities within previous levels. Warm-ups begin with letters and sound-symbol correspondences and move to a recognition of both regular and irregular words, as well as key elements related to comprehension.
Fluency: Efficient readers learn to integrate automatic word identification with knowledge of sentence structure and meaning. In Lexia Core5 Reading, fluency instruction is built systematically by work that focuses on important aspects of sentence structure, as well as activities that involve the analysis of intonation, emphasis, phrasing, rhythm, and rhyme scheme. These activities are not timed and address critical elements of fluency related to prosody. Fluency activities also include work at the paragraph level through the timed silent reading of narrative and expository text that follows a maze format. These silent reading activities are designed to increase the speed of processing while maintaining a focus on meaning.
In the passage fluency activities, a maze task is used in which students are timed as they silently read a passage and choose words to complete the text, ensuring that they are monitoring for meaning. Progression through the activity is based on both accuracy and rate. Lexia Skill Builders® and Lexia Lessons® also serve as key fluency resources as they support the development of additional skills important for reading fluency, including oral reading with a focus on expression and appropriate prosody.