How to Teach my Child to Read? Fluency Based Instruction Versus Motivational Text Reading


Fluency-based instruction is a behavioral method that aims to work not only on learning skills but also on their performance pace. Many children with autism have a slow processing time. It makes sense that our children will use a skill in real life once they perform it at the right speed. Fluency-based instruction is powerful in children (typically development) who have difficulty reading. Some studies (small) also show that it may be useful in children with autism. I personally used it with my daughter to acquire her imitation skills and execute a sequence of tasks at a reasonable pace. 

How do we use it with reading? We let the child work in one-minute intervals with a timer (a bit constructed). At each one-minute interval, we count the number of words he has read. Repeat this 3 times, i.e., 3-time one-minute intervals. Write down how many words he managed to read in each one-minute interval and calculate the average. Repeat this every day. At any one-minute interval, your child performs like his average or more, give him a small reward. It is important to emphasize that every time he reaches the average, he gets reinforced. He doesn’t need to break his record. That way keeps him reinforced in about 60% of the intervals he reads. The advantage of this technique: Short, non-exhausting exercises, the child gets a lot of reinforcement and gradually progressed. Repeat this 3-minute reading once or twice a day—the disadvantage: constructed and using arbitrary reinforcement.



Motivational-text reading: Planned to let the child experience reading as useful and fun. Enables the child to experience the reason for reading. How do I do it? By your child’s reading level:

  Suppose your child struggles to read one word. In that case, I will let him read single words that describe a fun activity and follow with the fun activity. Words like “ice cream” (followed by eating ice cream) or “tickling” (followed by tickling).

 If the child is still struggling with syllables, he can only read The S’ of the “slide” and then slide. If he’s at a higher level, I will lengthen the text accordingly. For example: “Mom and Danny read, and after they finished, they went to the supermarket”. Of course, do not forget after finishing reading the sentence, go to the supermarket. Let her learn in these first steps of reading that she is reading about something fun that will happen. I want to emphasize that this is not an arbitrary reinforcement but alternatively gives the child the feeling that reading is fun and functional. In the long run, it will make reading likable to him. The advantage: Gives a good experience on the direct function of reading. It can be combined throughout the day before fun activities.