Imagine a tennis teacher holding the tip of your racquet to trace the arc of your swing. Imagine a dance teacher walking through the steps of a routine along with a class of students. Modeling is necessary for mastering just about any complex skill. When we work alongside someone who has mastered a skill, we’re in a much better position to master it ourselves.

Learning to read fluently is no different. Research demonstrates that various forms of modeling are highly effective in helping students become fluent readers. Modeling teaches word recognition in a meaningful context, demonstrates correct phrasing, and gives students practice tracking across the page. Examples of modeling include:

  • - An adult, proficient reader reads a passage and the student reads it back, mimicking the phrasing and intonation.
  • - Two students (one a proficient reader) read in unison.
  • - A student reads along with a recording of a proficient reader.

Note that each of these scenarios requires active participation by the non-fluent reader. For modeling to improve fluency, students must be actively involved 100% of the time and in a multi-sensory way. Any student can do this once he or she knows at least 50 sight words and has a good sense of beginning sounds.

Modeling is one of the three main components of the Read Naturally Strategy. To learn to fluently read a passage, students read along with an audio recording of the passage several times. Teachers should take care not to call this the “listening” step. Students say the words quietly along with the recording, actively participating in the act of reading. This process allows students to read aloud without anxiety. When they come across words they don’t know, the audio recording teaches these words. The next time they read the passage, they’re able to master more of the words, building confidence.

Extensive experience has shown us that this method, when used correctly and with active participants, works wonders in building students’ reading fluency. Please let us know how we can support you in helping your students reach their full potential this year. We’d love to speak with you about your needs or set you up with a free trial of one of our many successful Read Naturally Strategy programs.