Fluency has traditionally been viewed as a goal of reading taught and mastered in the elementary grades. This article challenges that notion by exploring reading fluency as a contributor to reading proficiency (and difficulty) among ninth-grade students. The authors assessed reading fluency development among a large number of ninth graders and found a moderately strong correlation between fluency and overall reading proficiency as measured by a standardized achievement test. Moreover, a significant number of students were substantially below norms for fluency. The findings suggest that reading fluency is a significant variable in secondary students' reading and overall academic development. More research is called for into the role of reading fluency among older students, especially those experiencing difficulty in achieving high levels of literacy.