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Fluency Matters

My friend, Tammy, over at Forever in First has a great post on first graders and fluency. Fluency is such an important part of good reading. It is something that some readers continue to struggle with. Students need be able to read quickly with meaning, but not so fast that they are just spitting out the words as fast as they can go. Reading needs to be about comprehension. We teach our young readers to read to sound like talking. The younger readers are usually all for using expression and making the reading sound more interesting. I love hearing them practice reading with expression- they put all their effort into making it sound just like the character is talking through them. Tammy calls it using your storytelling voice. :)

But when students get older, their fluency, or lack there of, may keep them from being able to get through the material. The older, struggling reader is less likely to feel comfortable using expression when they read. They (the struggling reader) tend to rush through the material with the end goal of just get it read and done. 

 Timothy Rasinski has a lot of ideas for students who need to work on fluency. One tried and true method for me that I learned from him is the repeated readings. I model a small passage to the students so they can hear a fluent reading. They they go to different areas of the room and practice trying to sound like me as they read. After they practice at least 3 times, they can come back to me and read for me to see how they do. The key seems to be hearing a fluent read first and then practicing out loud so they can hear how they sound. Tying fluency with the purpose that it improves our comprehension of the story is important too, so they understand it isn't just about the speed. 

What ideas do you use to help fluency in either the young reader or the older reader?  I would love to hear about them!


  1. Thanks Lori for mentioning me. I'm thankful for a wonderful blogging buddy like you! Rasinski...I know that name but can't place where I've heard it. Is The Fluent Reader one I should read or is there something else he's written that you'd recommend even more?

    Forever in First

  2. Rasinski is the fluency guru. :) I have The Fluent Reader and it is great. I posted the other book because I think it is an updated version of the one I have. I did my action research paper in my master's classes on building fluency. His idea of repeated readings work!

  3. Love The Fluent Reader! Such a great book! Come join the fun! I just tagged you!

    Peace, Love and First Grade

  4. I love Rasinski. I'm going to his fluency workshop in February and I'm so excited! I'm a new follower. Love your blog!

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a comment. I am now YOUR newest follower. I LOVE your site! We were a Reading First school for 7 years so I'm all about the fluency! lol

    I am new to blogging. What does it mean to "grab your button?"


  6. Lori,

    I will have to check out the book above. Fluency was a big force at my old school! And by the way, I have picked you to be next in a game of tag going around in blogland. Head over to my blog to check it out!


  7. Laura and Ashley, I will come over to your blogs and see what this game of tag is about! :) Thanks!

  8. The Bubble Gum Tree: I am very jealous that you are getting to go to a workshop by Rasinski!! You will have to post some great ideas from it. Would love to be there!

  9. Cynthia: you should have a button on your blog (small picture of part of your blog banner) and a code to go with it. People can use this button (grab your button) when they post about you on their blog or if they want to put your blog button on their blog roll. I don't remember when I was on your blog if you had one or not. But that is what it is for. :)

  10. Hi Lori!! I tagged you too! :) You are a very popular girl!! :)

    I saw Rasinksi a few years ago at a SDE workshop.

    Live Laugh and Love to Learn

  11. Lori, I'm your newest follower! I love your blog!

    I agree, fluency is so important. I have one kiddo who is a strong reader, but doesn't understand what he is reading. Then, I have others who read slow, but do understand what they read! Such a fine balance.

    Living A Wonderful Life

  12. Thank you, Bonnie, for stopping by my blog and for the kind words! I follow you too. :)
    I agree, fluency with the young reader is about finding that balance.

  13. Hi Lori
    Im your newest follower and I just tagged you in my blog!

    Miss S
    Just Teaching...Kindergarten

  14. I am so glad that you found my blog, because now I have found yours!

    I really enjoyed reading your post on fluency...I can't wait to read more!

    I'm your newest follower!

    First Grade Magic

  15. Thank you Megan for stopping by and leaving me a comment! Will be stopping by your blog again too!

  16. I like the way you do repeated readings for fluency. I'm going to try that, too. And thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such nice comments :)

    Grade ONEderful

  17. I recently mentioned you in my blog I look forward to learning more about you

  18. Thanks for posting. I'm your newest follower...


  19. Barbara, repeated readings definitely work. :)
    Mrs. Schatz, I stopped by your blog too- thank you!
    Melly, thank you for commenting on my blog also!

  20. Great post - I am your newest follower and i've tagged you in a game. Come on over to check it out! YOUR IT!

    Kaleigh's Klassroom

  21. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Reading with expression and fluency is something that my kinders are just starting to learn. For really low readers, I read one sentence/page at a time and have them repeat immediately. Then, we go through the book again together, and finally they read it independently.

    "Kindergarten Kel

  22. Thanks for following me Kaleigh! Thanks for tagging me too!

  23. Kelly, I do the same thing with my struggling kindergarten readers and then do lots of familiar reading with the books they now know. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  24. TAG! I am tagging you too!


  25. Thanks for stopping by my blog, so I could find you! :) I look forward to following your blog!
    Stories From Second

  26. I am now following you as well, and I've tagged you!!!

    The Daily Alphabet

  27. Hi Lori,
    I'm glad you found me! Thank you for your encouragement! My problem at this point is trying to turn things into PDF files...I tried the CutePDF but it didn't load correctly or something? Any advice or another program to try?
    Thanks for your support!

    Kindergarten Bus

  28. You are TAGGED for the 12 Things meme, play along here:

  29. Fluency is so hard to teach and for kids to get good at. I'll have to check out these resources. I also tagged you. Hope you'll stop by.
     Chrissy

    First Grade Found Me

  30. Mona, are you trying to post something for others to be able to use? I upload my document to Google docs and link to that after posting the picture of the document. Is this what you were needing?


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