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Focusing on Fluency

Activities to improve student's fluency

Finding fluency for some students can be so difficult.  They may. read. so. slow whileothersreadingtoofast!  When reading too fast, their tongues trip up causing errors and their brains can't keep up causing them to lose comprehension.  Neither way of reading is good.

Activities for improving reading fluency

I became of fan of Timothy Rasinski a long time ago.  He has some really good ideas for helping students find their way to better fluency.  One of those ways is repeated readings.  And I am telling you it works!  I even did my action research project for my masters degree on repeated readings and the statistics showed how much my little readers improved.  I take a passage, model for the students how it should sound, then I send them off to different areas of the room to practice reading this same passage.  They must read the passage out loud (that is very important) at least 3 times.  I want them to be able to hear themselves reading to develop the metacognition of does that sound right?  A lot of struggling readers have never developed this skill.  They tend to just call out any word that may (or may not) be close and move on in an attempt to get the activity over with.  
Voice Cubes to improve reading fluency

When doing the repeated readings, kids like to use different voices.  It is just a simple thing of engagement and keeping them interested in the activity.  Using these voice cubes make repeated readings a lot more fun!  

Activities to improve reading fluency

The voice cubes can be used with any passage, book, poem, etc...  The student rolls the cube, reads the passage (again out loud is important) and marks which voice he/she used.  I also like for students to be mindful of what they are trying to improve, so they mark that on the recording page using the fluency rubric.  At the end of practicing the passage with the voices, the student gives a short summary explaining what the passage was about.  Improving fluency is all about improving comprehension.  

You do need to incorporate other skills when focusing on fluency improvement.  One big one for us has been multisyllabic words and being able to break them down to read them.  Practicing a LOT with these type of words really helps with fluency too.  I start with closed syllable words and then move on to open syllable words.  We practice and practice and practice.  Then I make sure they are applying these skills as they read.  It won't do any good if they can do the skill in isolation but not apply it to their reading and that is where the break down can sometimes occur. 

reading closed syllable words to improve fluency

reading open syllable words to improve fluency

weekly progress monitoring for fluency

Currently at my school, we are using Reading A-Z fluency passages for our RTI weekly progress monitoring.  I have the passages copied and placed in notebooks for our teachers to use.  

I hope these ideas help you with your students and improving fluency.  It is definitely a difficult skill for some readers.  What are you doing in your classroom to improve fluency?


Quick Formative Assessment Tools

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

It is Bright Idea time!  Once a month some of my blogging friends get together and share great classroom tips with you.  Great tips to make your life easier, more organized, and help you run your classroom smoother.  

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

Are you using formative assessments?  Who isn't, right?  We all need to do those quick checks on student learning to check their progress.  It lets us know if they really are understanding the material.  I need these checks to be super quick due to only having my students for 30 minutes at a time.  I don't want to fall into that trap of testing all the time at the expense of teaching and my students' learning.  

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

These quick check boards are great for formative assessments.  You can preload them so to speak with answers like yes & no, A or B, etc... They are wipe off so they can be used many times in different ways.  Ask your question, students flip their board to their answer and you scan the room to see how they did.  Super easy and versatile.

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

I use Show Me app ALL. THE. TIME.  I mean really, we use this app the most!  It is just basically a white board on the iPad.  Easy way for checking learning and not wasting paper or markers.

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

Dice are great too!  Write what each side would represent and ask your questions. Students roll the dice to their answer.  You can use all the sides or only a couple.

Quick Formative Assessment Tools

Most of us have wipe off boards and are already using them for quick checks.  If you aren't, start using them!  Here I was checking to see who could write their sentence with correct punctuation and capitalization.  

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and at TeacherspayTeachers to be notified of all the latest happenings like giveaways, freebies and great teaching ideas!


Be sure to take a look at my friends' Bright Ideas!  I am sure you will find lots of great ways to help you in your classroom!


Spring Is Here Poetry Hop

Hello Fonts, Educlips, and Epiphanous Clipart

Don't you just love spring? And April is poetry month!  

Poem Books for Kids

There are so many great poems and poem books out there for teachers and students to be using.

Poem Coding

One great way of teaching fluency with poems is using this coding system.  It is adapted from Georgia Heard.  You teach students the symbols to use when they read the poem.  You will be surprised how quickly they can pick this system up and how naturally they know when to slow down, stop or raise their voice.



Cowboy poems and activities

For kindergartners, pocket chart poems are GREAT!  Place in the pockets some picture clues and let them use a big pointer and they love it!  This is a poem from a cowboy unit.

Activities for poems

Activities for poems

You can pick up these coding cards, visualizing and comprehension pages by clicking here.


Now you are ready to hop on over to Andrea, from Reading Toward the Stars for analyzing poems!

Hens, Eggs & Plans

Fluency Phrases in Easter Eggs

Happy Easter!  I hope you are having a blessed day with your family.  The kids have been so excited this past week with thoughts about Easter, eggs, and family gatherings.  I got these eggs out and we practiced our sight words and fluency with them.

Practicing fluency with phrases
 Each bright egg contained a phrase for the kids to practice reading.  A couple of my groups are still reading word. by. word.  Rather than reading like talking, in phrases.  This was a fun way to get in some practice!


Little Red Hen

My first graders read The Little Red Hen.  They just cannot believe that the other animals could be so mean to Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen

My kinder groups also read Little Red Hen.  And they felt the same way.  How could the animals be so mean to the Red Hen they thought.  But it also bothered several of them about how sad the cat was at the end of the story when Little Red Hen didn't share the corn muffins with them.  That was almost too much!

Graph about Little Red Hen

In both stories, Little Red Hen does not share with the other animals since they did not help her with any of the work.  The classes each discussed both sides and why she might have shared and the reasons why she didn't share.  As you can see, very few voted that they would not make the same decision.  And this was before all the pictures were glued on.  It was an overwhelming choice to share anyway, despite the way the animals treated her.  According to one wise little first grade girl, you don't always help your mom cook dinner, but she shares it with you anyway!!  What wisdom and grace from such a young one!  When does the shift in thinking occur?  That if someone treats you badly, we should react to them in the same way?  I am thinking the world would be a whole lot better if we were to listen to the little ones and treat each other with grace and kindness even if they haven't done so to us.

RTI Reading Intervention Visual Plans and Resources

Visual lesson plans for RTI Reading Interventions are up for the week.  Resources are hyperlinked for you.  Just click the picture to download it and the links.


Small Group Materials Organization Made Easy

organizing your small group reading materials

Do you find yourself drowning in a mess of materials?  Looking for the books you used yesterday or the pointers your young readers need?  I have a lot of students coming in and out my door each day.  I kept part of their work in baskets on a shelf and books in another place.  It just wasn't working for me.  I needed a new system!  

organizing your small group reading materials

I had wanted one of the carts for some time.  This year I found it at Sam's Club for so much cheaper than anywhere else.  It has been a time AND sanity saver!

organizing your small group reading materials

Each drawer is for a specific reading small group, K-2.  I also have a drawer for my Tier II and one for Tier III RTI groups.  My materials slip right in and I know where everything is.  It all stays together, in one place, all organized and neat.  In this kindergarten drawer, I have our Sight Word Pockets (you can read about these here), plus the other materials needed by the students.

organizing your small group reading materials

I can just take the drawer out of the cart and take it with me to the table.  The drawers hold quite a bit.  This one holds the sight word pockets, a set of readers, Reading Notebooks, pencils, pointers, etc...  


At 5:00 eastern time, we will be having a fun time on Instagram!  Come join us!  You can find me at conversationsinliteracy.  See you then!

RTI Visual Plans & Opinion Writing


We are moving fast through this school year and through this cycle of RTI!  We only have about 4 weeks left of this last cycle.  I am pleased with the progress my groups are making and how hard they are working on their skills to improve themselves and their reading!  I will have to say they are motivated.  I don't do stickers or rewards at all.  We work hard and I cover them in praise as they work hard to improve their weekly graphs.  They want to improve!

Click the visual plans above to down load the plans and resource links.


Yesterday was our Bright Ideas blog hop.  If you missed it, you can click here to catch up on it.  I posted about where I get my reading comprehension passages for RTI and how I organize all those passages for my teachers.



Just finished these opinion task cards!  These What's Your Preference task cards are like the game Would You Rather?, but after making their choice, students then write about their opinion and give reasons to back up their choices.  You will get a lot of fun and interesting reasons with this activity!


If your students need a lot of practice backing up their opinions and this is a really fun way to do it!  Click the pictures to see it!

Checkout the other visual plans over at Mrs. Wills blog!



Organizing Comprehension Passages for RTI

ReadWorks Comprehension passages for RTI

Do you assess comprehension for RTI?  We do at our school and we don't use a computer program.  Therefore, I had to find a place to get comprehension passages for my teachers to easily use that had quality questions and a mix of question types.  ReadWorks was just the place!

Organizing Comprehension Passages for RTI in Binders

Once I found a place that had the passages that I liked, then I needed to have the passages ready and easily accessible for my teachers to use.  They do not have time to be hunting down passages.  Also, for RTI, I want consistency.  Each week, the teachers for each grade level need to be assessing on the same passages so graphing is more accurate across the grades.  I printed off the passages that we needed to get us through our cycles of 10 and 12 weeks.  Then all the passages were place into one large notebook to house them all.  The notebook is in a place that is accessible to all the teachers who may need it so it is easy for them to get their copies made.

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

To keep it organized, I used plastic tabbed dividers.  Each grade level is separated, plus I included literacy and informational text passages.  I try to make it to where teachers can go right in and find what they need quickly and easy for them to put the originals in the correct place too.

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

ReadWorks has really great passages and a LOT of them!  But even better is that they use a variety of questions.  Each passage that is in the book has multiple choice questions and short answer questions where students must prove their answers with evidence from the text.  One more thing about ReadWorks- it is free to use!  Just sign up and you are good to go!

Organizing Comprehension Passages into a binder for RTI

Having everyone using the same passages makes graphing student progress each week mean more because everyone is being assessed on the same text.  More fidelity in the results.  

Bright Ideas Posts

This has been another Bright Ideas Blog Hop!  I hope you will follow me on these places so you can keep up with all the latest happenings!

For more bright ideas from other bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!