Many reading selections and stories include names of characters, cities, and countries that the average student has never heard of. It’s pretty difficult to read fluently if there are words you can’t even pronounce. For example:
excerpt from An Early Bird: Does Ka-sim Morris Ever Sleep? 2006 ISTEP+ Grade 7
Utilizing their typical decoding strategies of sounding out every letter, students will get bogged down. Not only will it be difficult to get through the text in a reasonable amount of time, but comprehension breaks down when the reading fluency is too slow. That said, teach students that they don’t necessarily need to struggle through the decoding of all the proper nouns in the reading.
To help students maintain their fluency (and thus increase their comprehension), they could simply refer to the character or city as the first initial: Joshua K____, 11, and Marc N_____, 10, nominated K_____ Morris as their Hometown Hero.