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Unit rationale, description and aim

Reading fluency is identified as a critical target for literacy instruction in every Australian curriculum and the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) accreditation requirements mandate that teacher education programs include evidence-based instruction of reading fluency. Reading fluency is an essential component of overall reading development. Inability to read fluently ties cognitive resources to word and sentence level processing and can impair comprehension, motivation to read, and achievement across multiple subject areas. It is therefore essential that teachers working with developing readers understand how fluency is conceptualised in reading research, can analyse and assess research on effective instruction for diverse students, adapt their fluency instruction to meet the needs of all students, and assess their students’ fluency and evaluate the effectiveness of their fluency instruction. 

This unit analyses reading fluency as a multidimensional construct with different definitions and theoretical approaches and examines how it can be effectively taught. The participants will analyse different evidence-based teaching approaches aimed at increasing reading fluency and evaluate their applicability to different classrooms and contexts. They will examine different oral repeated reading practices that have strong evidence to support them, and less studied but promising wide/continuous reading practices. They will also examine effective silent reading practices in upper primary level (and for fluent readers in earlier years) and how to assess students’ fluency development, including progress monitoring. Finally, they will create lesson plans for fluency instruction and assessment schedules for their current or future classroom.  

The aim of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to lead their colleagues in developing effective reading fluency instruction and assessments for students with diverse needs.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Define reading fluency and compare different conceptualisations of it (APST HA 2.1)
LO2Locate and evaluate existing reading fluency research (APST HA 1.2, Lead 2.5)
LO3Design evidence-based reading fluency instruction for diverse groups of students (APST HA1.6, 2.3, 4.1, Lead 1.1, 2.1, 3.3)
LO4Assess which practices are best suited for different students and purposes (APST Lead 1.1, 5.2)
LO5Assess reading fluency at different performance levels and monitor the progress of their students (APST HA 5.1, 5.2)
LO6Evaluate the effectiveness of their fluency instruction (APST HA 5.4, Lead 1.2, 1.5, 3.6)


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.2 Understand how students learn 

Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.

1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability

Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs.

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting 

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

4.1 Support student participation  

Model effective practice and support colleagues to implement inclusive strategies that engage and support all students.

5.1 Assess student learning

Develop and apply a comprehensive range of assessment strategies to diagnose learning needs, comply with curriculum requirements and support colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of their approaches to assessment.

5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning

Select from an effective range of strategies to provide targeted feedback based on informed and timely judgements of each student’s current needs in order to progress learning.

5.4 Interpret student data

Work with colleagues to use data from internal and external student assessments for evaluating learning and teaching, identifying interventions and modifying teaching practice.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.1 Physical, Social and intellectual development and characteristics of students

Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.

1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities  

Lead colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and teaching programs differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.

2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies

Monitor and evaluate the implementation of teaching strategies within the school to improve students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy using research-based knowledge and student data.

3.3 Use teaching strategies

Work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking

3.6 Evaluate and improve teaching programs

Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/carers, students and colleagues.

5.2 Provide feedback to students on their learning 

Model exemplary practice and initiate programs to support colleagues in applying a range of timely, effective and appropriate feedback strategies.


Topics will include:

  • Theories and components of reading fluency 
  • What is reading fluency and why is it important? Compare research definitions and websites 
  • Multidimensional models of reading fluency and their components
  • Fluency for code-breaking: letter, part-, whole-word recognition
  • Fluency with phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and argument structures across different kinds of text
  • Prosody and expression

  • Instruction and assessment
  • Evidence-based instructional components
  • Teaching practices with evidence for different target groups
  • Effective silent reading practices in upper primary
  • Use of ICT to increase fluency
  • Assessment and progress monitoring of fluency at grapheme-phoneme correspondence, word, phrase, sentence and text level
  • Assessment of prosody
  • Progress monitoring and evaluation of program effectiveness

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The reading fluency unit is offered in multi-mode format and supported by a unit Learning Management System (LMS) site. In all modes, students are required to use the online learning platform that provides asynchronous access to lectures, readings, and quizzes. In a weekly attendance mode, students are required also to attend tutorials, presentations, and discussions in person in specific physical location/s whereas in an intensive mode the required in-person sessions take place during weekends or other blocks of time determined by the school. In online mode, students are required to participate in a series of interactive online workshops in addition to the regular online learning.

Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this unit. The unit will facilitate active participation in pedagogical approaches that demonstrate alignment of teaching, learning and assessment and incorporate: 

  • Online digital resources, including reference readings, database and document searches, and recorded lectures from experts
  • Online or face-to-face small group collaborative learning to foster reflective practice following the personal analysis, evaluation and synthesis of relevant literature and instructional and assessment practices in different schools
  • Online forum and chat tools to build a community of learners
  • Problem-based learning sessions to develop necessary skills and analyse and apply learning to school case studies.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, the students need to complete and pass all three assessment tasks. The first two tasks offer students opportunities to demonstrate knowledge of reading fluency theories, research, instruction and assessments, and the third allows them to show their skills in designing effective practices for their students and schools. 

The first task (20%) consists of weekly quizzes that assess understanding of the core content of lectures and readings and provides students an opportunity to continuously monitor their own learning. The second task (30%) requires students to demonstrate their understanding of issues associated with reading fluency theory and research by explicating their own instructional theory. The third task (50%) is related to knowledge of evidence-based instruction and assessments, and requires the students to apply their knowledge and skills to designing evidence-based reading fluency instruction and assessment for their current or future students.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 – Weekly Quizzes

Weekly quiz assessing comprehension of the content presented in lectures and readings.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2 – Written assignment

Analysis of current theories of reading fluency and construction of instructional theory that (1) is supported by existing theories and evidence, and (2) can guide differentiated instruction and assessment of students. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3 - Written assignment

Compose a plan for an evidence-based reading fluency instruction and assessment for one school year for your current or future students.


LO4, LO5, LO6

Representative texts and references

Begeny, J. C., Levy, R. A. & Field, S. A. (2018). Using small-group instruction to improve students' reading fluency: An evaluation of the existing research. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 34 (1), 36-64, DOI: 10.1080/15377903.2017.1328628 and    

Ehri, l., & Ehri, L. C. (2014). Orthographic mapping in the acquisition of sight word reading, spelling memory, and vocabulary learning. Scientific Studies of Reading18(1), 5-21.

Honig, B., Diamond, L., Gutlohn, L., Cole, C. L., Hudon, R. F., Lane, H. B., Mahler, J., & Pullen, P. C. (2018). Teaching reading sourcebook (3rd ed.). Academic Therapy Publications. 

Hudson, R. F., Pullen, P. C., Lane, H. B., & Torgesen, J. K. (2009). The complex nature of reading fluency: A multidimensional view. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 25 (1), 4-32.

Hudson, R. F., Torgesen, J. K., Lane, H. B., & Turner, S. J. (2012). Relations among reading skills and sub-skills and text-level reading proficiency in developing readers. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 25, 483–507 DOI: 10.1007/s11145-010-9283-6

Kuhn, M. R., & Schwanenflugel, P. J. (2008). Fluency in the classroom. Gilford.

Kuhn, M. R., & Stahl, S. A. (2003). Fluency: A review of developmental and remedial practices. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91 (1), 3-21.

Niedo, J., Lee, Y.-L., Breznitz, Z., & Berninger, V. W. (2014). Computerized silent reading rate and strategy Instruction for fourth graders at risk in silent reading rate. Learning Disability Quarterly, 37 (2), 100–110. Doi: 10.1177/0731948713507263

Ritchley, K. D., & Speece, D. L. (2006). From letter names to word reading: The nascent role of sublexical fluency. Contemporary Educational Psychology 31 (3), 301-327. Doi: 10.1016/j.cedpsych.2005.10.001. 

Suggate, S. (2016). A meta-analysis of the long-term effects of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension Interventions. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49 (1), 77-96. DOI: 10.1177/0022219414528540

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