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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.  

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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.


Free Resources