Fluency connects automatic decoding to comprehension. Fluency consists of three components: accurate decoding, automatic decoding (rate), and prosody (reading with expression and phrasing). Once students can decode words with appropriate automaticity and accuracy, they become available to focus upon comprehending the text.
Surface level comprehension (i.e. literal comprehension) of the text enables students to read with prosody. Students must possess a basic understanding of the text in order to make decisions about phrasing, when to adjust the pace, and which words to accentuate. It is important to note that, while surface level comprehension can yield prosodic reading, prosodic reading does not always reflect deeper level comprehension.
Fluent reading is the gateway to deeper understanding (i.e. inferencing, cause and effect, drawing conclusions, etc.). Once a student can read a passage with ease, he can then focus his effort on critical understanding. Repeated readings are sometimes necessary to achieve this goal.