CRITICAL ASPECTS of Skilled Reading:

The foundation of reading

Cracking the code

Speed matters

Knowing lots of words

Digging for Meaning

Thoughts to inspire and motivate when you're
feeling down about reading.

accuracy, speed and expression

Written by THRIVE Program Teacher, Tyson Schoeber • Last Updated: 11-11-2014

Does it matter how quickly you read? Are slower readers at a disadvantage when compared to faster readers? The answer to both questions is YES!

There has been a great deal of research in recent years looking into the importance of what we call fluency. One important finding of these studies is that people who have to put a lot of effort into figuring out what the words are often have difficulty understanding what those words mean. In short, we must learn to read quickly, accurately and with expression.

The good news is that problems with reading fluency can be improved. If you read slowly, it is worth the time and effort it takes to improve in this area.


The following table can be used to assess reading speed and set goals for improvement:

GRADE 1 N/A 23 53
GRADE 2 51 72 89
GRADE 3 71 92 107
GRADE 4 94 112 123
GRADE 5 110 127 139
GRADE 6 127 140 150
GRADE 7 128 165 177
GRADE 8 161 177 191

The data was mostly drawn from this article.


The goal is to develop instant recognition of as many words as possible. There are lots of ways to work on improvement in this area.

Repeated Reading

Practice a short passage over and over again and chart your reading speed over time.

A simple bar graph showing steady growth over time.

Complete directions and a printable
chart are included here.

Clip art showing a few flash cards on which a student has written words to study.
Flashcards for your hard words

While you read, make a note of any words that you struggle with. Write them neatly on small cards and practice reading all of your cards often. You want to make it automatic.

the academy of reading

THRIVE students have access to the Academy of Reading. Many of the activities in this program can help you to improve your reading speed.

Clip art showing the tennis-ball cartoon character which hosts the Academy of Reading software.

It is best to do a little of this work every day. Put your BEST effort into it!


Using our Drill Cards in a multisensory way helps to build your decoding skills — and that growth will help to improve your fluency.

A graphic showing one of our Drill Cards — a specially-designed flashcard based on the principles of the Orton Gillingham approach to reading instruction.

A graphic showing a few sight words.
work from a list of sight words

Many struggling readers have real difficulty with short words such as the, of, two and laugh. Daily practice that builds mastery of these common words can be very effective.


As a form of direct instruction, Glass Analysis for Decoding Only teaches word families and patterns in a multisensory way.

A photograph showing some of the flashcards in the commercially-available Glass Analysis for Decoding Only kit.