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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?


  1. I am in love with your blog style! Can't wait to read your posts!

  2. Great ideas Lori! I agree--repeated readings are so important for increasing fluency! :) I use this strategy all the time with my RTI kiddos.

    Mind Sparks

    1. Thank you Katie! Repeated readings are so great for fluency!

  3. It's so important to stress comprehension like you do. Fluency's end result should be just that. Your practice is always undergirded (that's a word, right?) with sound pedagogy.

    1. Thank you Tammy! I don't want fluency to be just about the speed they are reading at. It all goes hand in hand. :)

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  5. Hi...just came across this and love the cubes and recording sheet. Are those in your TPT store? I would love a set of them. Thanks.

    1. Hi Debbie! I somehow forgot to link the pictures of the cubes to my store. Here is the link or you can now click the pictures to find the voice cubes:

      Thank you for your interest in them! Have a great Sunday!


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