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Strategies for Improving Fluency

using phrases to improve fluency

We do a lot of work during RTI to strengthen and improve reading fluency in our students.  For students who struggle with reading, fluency can be a major block for them.  I have made it a goal to work on improving fluency in both RTI groups and my guided reading groups.  

One way to help this problem is working with phrases.  You can find fluency phrases or you can make your own.  One of the best ways is to take passages from your students' reading and use phrases right from there!  No hunting in other places needed- you've already got what you need- so just use that!

Write some of the phrases you find naturally in the passages on to sentence strips.  Then draw an arrow underneath each phrase.  Have student practice reading as they slide their finger across the arrow to remind them to keep reading without pausing until they get to the end.  Students can practice this way (instead of word by word reading) until they are ready to remove the finger sweeping across and replace that with just their eyes sweeping across the strip. Read it without stopping.  

using phrases to improve reading fluency

Another effective way to improve fluency is highlighting the phrases inside the passages.  I have found that some students can almost naturally find where they need to pause for a phrase.  It also teaches them to pay attention to the punctuation.  But for some students, they just don't hear where to naturally pause.  So we highlight together for a while.  Then I turn the highlighters over to them and with guidance they highlight the phrases themselves.  Always trying to work towards not needing the highlighting because ultimately they will not have the highlighting on tests.  They must work towards independence.

Fluency Strategies and Activities

I refer to this speech bubble all the time in my class when we talk about fluency- Reading sounds like talking!

no prep just print cvc intervention binder for RTI

When you practice fluency at lower levels, add in some colorful pointers to up the engagement!

Fluency Activities

These Scoop It Up! Fluency Binders are great for engagement while strengthening fluency!  Lots of activities and the binders are No Prep- Print and Go!!  See them by clicking here.

Fluency Binders

Place students in the activities that best fit where they  are- so easy to differentiate!  Sets A-E are available.  Select binders according to student reading levels.  Click here to see the bundle.  In the description, you will find links to each individual binder.

RTI Lesson Plans and Resources

We've got a short week this week for RTI due to having this Friday off.  We will be working on our fluency strategies along with these other activities too.  Just click the links to see the resources:


  1. thank you for this very reasonable idea! I have many word by word readers, or those that sound out every word even though they know the word! sometimes just saying "you know this one" will get them going faster, but it's not a solution. I will try this out. thanks again, Paula

    1. I hope the fluency ideas help you, Paula! Fluency can be so frustrating for both the student and the teacher. :)

  2. I've enjoyed adding the scooping strategy to my list this year too. Some kids really get it. It's nice to have a collection of strategies like you've got here, so hopefully there's something for everyone.

    1. I like the scooping too, Tammy. For those who can do it, it can really help them!

  3. Your post reinforces the rationale behind tracking test. It is key even when kids are beyond the decoding stage. Thanks. I just pinned this post to my collaborative Pinterest board called Pointers and Trackers Kids Want to Use.
    Great minds think alike!


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