How Dyslexics Can Improve Their Reading Fluency?

September 2, 2021
by Vanja Andrić

Dyslexic readers have a hard time achieving reading fluency because most of their brainpower and energy goes to decoding the words.

It is tough to work on fluency with dyslexic readers. They read less. They have language processing problems, memory, and reading comprehension problems often followed with poor vocabulary.

All of the above makes it tough to build fluency.

What Is Fluency?

Fluency may be defined as “reasonably accurate reading, at an appropriate (conversational) rate, with suitable expression, that leads to accurate and deep comprehension and motivation to read” (Hasbrouck & Glaser, 2012, p. 13). Meyer and Felton (1999) define fluency as “the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading, such as decoding” (p. 284).

Reading fluency is necessary for comprehension and motivated reading. It has been described as a bridge between early and later reading phases. If that bridge is closed, then access to the meaning of print and the joy of reading remains effectively blocked. 

So all of these issues are very interconnected.


Common Issues With Reading Fluency in Dyslexic Kids and How To Tackle Them

Common issues with fluency in dyslexic children are:


  • Ignore punctuation (in reading) 
  • Reading aloud is slow or choppy 
  • Cannot read out loud with prosody, is monotonous 
  • Wants to read below grade level books 
  • Has visual tracking difficulties 

Children usually become able to read fluently during the second grade. For dyslexics this develops much later, depending on the dyslexia manifestation and support a child received. Or not at all. Certainly, without proper effort and support, it won’t get better. Fluent reading is achievable for dyslexic readers. 

The key is to start reading words correctly. Structured literacy approach, tutors and reading specialists are an important part of the process of learning to read. But also parents supporting children in the right way, meeting their interests and slowly growing their interest to read no matter how hard it can be at times. 

As a next step, any intervention has to be systematic and with proper intensity. Don’t over do it with reading practice so a child wouldn’t develop resistance to reading. 

Set reasonable expectations for reading accuracy, rate and expression. Take reading level, words correct per minute, and type of text into consideration. 

Strategies and Tips About How To Strengthen Reading Fluency

These are a few suggested strategies improve fluency:


  • Let the child choose the text he/she wants to read. It can be a comic, magazine, or a list of jokes. It isn’t always important to read big texts. 
  • Encourage them to read aloud. That way you can hear what words are hard for them or what they are reading wrong.
  • Be sure to check if they remember what they have read and if they understand all the words. It is easier for them to read if they understand all the words and meaning of the text. 
  • If they get tired when they are reading, divide the text into smaller units and take turns in reading.
  • Monitor their reading – listen when they are reading and warn them of their mistakes.

What to have in mind:


  • If one wants to be better at a reading she has to read. 
  • Listening to audiobooks or text to speech apps will ease your learning but will not help you with your reading practice
  • Practice reading daily even if just a few minutes per day – even 15 – 20 minutes daily gives great results long term
  • Encourage them to read by giving them positive feedback
  • Celebrate even the slightest progress
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