Fluency in speaking English is an important factor underlying fluent oral reading. Reading quickly, accurately, and expressively can pose a challenge to ELLs. They need rich opportunities to listen, speak, and internalize the sounds, rhythms, and patterns of English over a period of time.
If the vocabulary or the sentence patterns of a passage are unfamiliar, ELLs will find it difficult to read aloud fluently. With repeated exposure and practice, ELLs can develop the ability to automatically identify English words seen frequently in print.
Even ELLs who are quite proficient in reading comprehension and fluent silent reading in English may feel self-conscious about reading orally, especially in large-group settings. Criticism, ridicule, and public correction are likely to exacerbate anxieties that ELLs may suffer over having an accent or being different.
Effective teachers provide ELLs with opportunities to listen and follow along during read-alouds. Teachers prepare ELLs to read a text orally on their own by reading it to them a few times. This will help students understand the story better and to hear the sounds and rhythms of its language. Sometimes teachers move their fingers under the text as they read so that students can match what they hear with what they see. Sometimes students move their own fingers under the text as they listen. Such experiences give ELLs the linguistic information and the confidence they need to practice reading and rereading a book until they can read it fluently by themselves.