How Do You Teach Fluency?

Apr 3, 2015

Fluency instruction.  I have to admit there are some things that I am doing well in this category and some areas that I need to strengthen and grow.  Fluency is in the forefront of my mind today because we just had our end-of-the-year Aimsweb assessments.  Yes, these should not be given until May.  But we are evaluated on the growth that our students make; therefore, the tests are given in March.  Looking at the results gives me the motivation to reflect back and think ahead.

I feel like I do a good job of introducing fluency and what it is.

Through movement, we model what fluency sounds like.  Students squeeze together and stand far apart to visually show what different readers may sound like.  Then swoops are introduced with a ribbon.  Anchor charts are created together to help us gather our thoughts about skateboard versus robot readers.  You can read more about this procedure by clicking HERE.

There is modeling... repeated modeling. Choral, echo, and independent reading are all incorporated into my guided reading lessons and Karen's whole group lessons.  Poetry, nursery rhymes, and songs are all part of our daily routine.

I try to make sure I am using high interest, colorful books from our leveled book room. Students complete interest surveys at the beginning of the year and I observe carefully throughout the year to the books that they respond best to.

Recently, I found these F&P leveled passages by Learning to the Core.  After using them for a few weeks, I really love them.  I use them in my reading group as a quick choral read and a quick independent read.  I know the exact level of the texts, the graphics are appealing, and the stories themselves are engaging.  They have been very helpful to me and I will be using them right away next year.


Fluency is one of those things that you can only attain by reading.  You can introduce it, model it, practice it, encourage it.  But, in the end, they just need to READ.  The following excerpts are from Richard Allington (click on the links to read the whole articles).  He is right, completely right.

Self-selected reading activity seems to be about twice as powerful at generating reading development as teacher-selected reading (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004; Lindsay, 2010).
Struggling readers need precisely what good readers receive—lots of high-success reading experiences (Allington, 2009). These experiences provide evidence of the self-teaching hypothesis (Share & Stanovich, 1995), which proposes that children develop a variety of reading skills—such as phonemic segmentation, decoding, and vocabulary building—when they engage in high-success reading.
-Educational Leadership (ASCD) March, 2011

In typical classrooms, it is not unusual to find that kids read and write for as little as ten percent of the day (30 minutes of reading and writing activity in a 300 minute, or five hour, school day).
-Reading Rocks, originally found in Phi Delta Kappan, 2002
So looking ahead...
*I would like to do more high-success reading (Allington says this is reading with 98% accuracy) with lower leveled guided reading books and the engaging passages I shared above.
*I would like to ensure that I optimize the amount of time students are reading in my guided reading groups.
*I would like to look into using some reader's theater stories.  A Teeny, Tiny Teacher has some partner passages that I have heard are really good and already highlighted (thank you!).  I also received a Robert Munsch book of plays that could be helpful.
*I would like my students to just read, read, read, read, I will keep thinking creatively to make this happen as much as I can when they are with me and hope that I can make it happen in their homes too.

How do you teach fluency in your classroom?


  1. Creativity to the Core also has some fantastic phonics based readers' theatre partner passages. So far, she only has ones for short vowels, but long vowels are in the works. I do everything you are doing for fluency. My students also like Sarah Paul's story cards (found in her super hero reading pack and her guided reading packs). :)

    1. Thanks so much Erin! I will check out those resources. I can always get better! And I look forward to a new year to try some things out!

  2. All great ideas, and I'm a big Allington fan. Lots of easy reading makes reading easy. When my kids ever need something to do, I don't use packets or challenge materials. The just head for a book and read.


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