What is Automaticity?

Posted by Brainspring on 25th Aug 2016


Hi everyone,

Summer is coming to an end. I hope those of you who started school already are enjoying a great start to the year. And those of you who haven’t, I hope you’re enjoying the last of summer vacation!


Today’s video is about automaticity. It’s a crucial piece for helping beginning and struggling readers develop fluency and comprehension, yet it’s often overlooked. Students need to automatically recognize and decode words, without conscious effort. Only then can they work on fluency and comprehension. Often struggling readers will know skills in isolation and be able to accurately decode words, but if that process does not become automatic they will constantly be focused on decoding, not meaning.

How does automaticity develop?


Repeated practice.

Just like riding a bike or tying shoes, students must read words over and over again to build automaticity for reading. For struggling students, this could mean encountering a word over 40 times before they can recall it automatically. Repeated reading of word lists, sentences or short passages will help students build this skill. The more students read, the better they will get at it; then we can move on to teaching fluency and comprehension.

Reading Rockets has a nice, short article on automaticity and fluency you can read here.


More Videos to Come

Any ideas for providing opportunities for repeated reading in the classroom or at home? Share them in the comments below!

I’ve been getting a lot of requests from teachers for videos on using Phonics First. Those of you who have been trained in Phonics First, what videos would you like to see first?


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