One of the areas of interest that came up during the needs assessment in my class this semester was the need to increase reading speed and fluency. The speed at which students are reading has started to affect comprehension. As materials get longer, students seem to have a harder time comprehending the material as a whole. In 2009, I attended a presentation at KOTESOL in Seoul, South Korea where a researcher by the name of Paul Nation was presenting his research on speed reading and it's benefits for ESL Learners. After attending this presentation, I used the materials provided in the link below to see if the students I was teaching at the time could improve their reading speed and fluency.
After competing the process for four weeks, a significant change in reading fluency could be seen. It is something I believe works and I do encourage everyone to have a look and see if it may be something of interest. "Reading for Speed and Fluency" by Paul Nation is available at the library in Both C.I.E.S. and the Welcome Centre for teachers' use. It is also available for purchase online. The themes covered in the book are different than the samples provided in the link above.
Essentially, the program aims to have the first 1000 words in English transformed into sight words so that the learner is able to increase speed and fluency. It is indeed beneficially and once familiar to the students, takes a mere five minutes per day.
Basically, the teacher's job is to time the students as they read the passages. Everyone starts at the same time and raises their hand upon completion. The teacher then jots down each students time on the board and students record their time on the Reading Speed Chart provided to them (See below).
Students then answer very basic comprehension questions to ensure that the material is also being understood. The number of questions correct is also recorded on the chart. This process should be repeated everyday.
Over time, students should be able to see an increase in their reading speed and fluency.
If you any questions, feel free to ask!