Focus on Fluency

Well…hello there!

Today's topic is all about fluency.
  Reading fluency to be exact.
 One of my favorite skills to watch my kids develop.  Not just the rate of reading, but the expression and voice in which they read!  I love watching my kids turn into little storytellers right before my eyes.
I’ve had a fluency center in my classroom for several years.  Each year I seem to add a little something new to my little back of tricks.  We start out the year with sight word rings….tons of poetry…and fun little games.

This is my favorite resource for poetry…

We’ve progressed into fluency phrases and short stories and my kids are obsessed.  Completely and totally OBSESSED.
It was really important to me to make sure my kids were practicing full on sight word phrases…and a lot of them.  I wanted them to have opportunities to be successful at reading…even independently…without my help.  I also wanted the phrases to be leveled so that I could differentiate independent learning.  We use the Dolch lists, so I created a Pre-Primer and Primer set of fluency phrases using the words off of those lists…plus several common nouns.  The kids have to work their way through 7 Pre-Primer sets of fluency phrases before they can move on to the Primer sets.  I divided both sets into different colored tubs so that the kids would know the difference between the two sets.  And they know exactly where to go and on which set of phrases they should be practicing.


Each time my kids fluently read their way through a set of phrases, they get a little certificate.  As Abby would say, “STOP.THE.WORLD.”  They about DIE!  They will do ANYTHING for a little paper piece of praise!!!


In addition to the fluency phrase rings, we also have a fluency folder.  This is a little bit different than our poetry folder, but it serves a very similar purpose…to increase sight word recognition automaticity and improve voice {expression, intonation, etc.}

The poetry pages are great for fluency practice, but I don’t time the kids with them when they read.  I wanted something separate for that.  So…I took all the words from the Pre-Primer and Primer Dolch Lists and made up fluency stories using those words.  I introduce a new story at the beginning of the week {sometimes 2-3 depending on the student} and time their first read and record errors, time, etc.  This is a SUPER quick activity and takes very little time given that the text is mostly sight words.  Right before our guided reading lesson, I have my kids read their fluency story to me and time them on it then record it in their fluency folder.  They love seeing how quickly they can read each day and how their fluency/time improves throughout the week.  This doesn’t take the place of their guided readers though.  They still get a guided reader every day.



When my kids practice their fluency independently, they’re not just reading their fluency phrases.  They’re reading their fluency stories, too.  I keep a few rings of these voice cards in the fluency tubs so that the kids can practice reading their stories {and phrases} in different voices.  They LOVE this.


My kids keep their fluency folders at school so that they have lots to choose from when they read, but they could easily be sent home for practice, too.
Here’s a little peek at what my fluency tubs look like.  They all contain a set of fluency phrases {a different level in each tub}, voice cards, sand timers, stopwatches, fluency/whisper phones, a microphone {for my little rock stars} and some glassless glasses {just for kicks}. 


The kids are responsible for keeping track of their fluency folders because we’re a bit limited on space.  So far, so good. 
We also LOVE playing games to help us improve our fluency.  This is one of our favorites!  Roll, Read, & Highlight! 


We play a few different whole group fluency games, too…but I really want to take pictures of those before I share because if you’re anything like me, you’re a visual learner and you’ll need some pictures to go along with the explanation!  Sometimes I just can’t articulate it like I can show it!  HA!

In honor of April being Poetry Month (another great way to build fluency!!!), I thought it would be fun to offer my fluency resources at a discount!!  
This offer is only good through Wednesday, April 6th. 

Pre-Primer - Primer set 
Original Price = $10
Sale Price = $6

First Grade Fluency
Original Price - $10
Sale Price = $6

Dolch Phrase Fluency - First Grade Set

Second Grade Fluency
Original Price = $10
Sale Price = $6

Dolch Phrase Fluency - Second Grade Set

Third Grade Fluency
Original Price = $10
Sale Price = $6

Original Price = $35
Sale Price = $20

So tell me, friends.  What wonderful activities do you do to help improve fluency?!  Reader’s Theater??  Poetry??  DO TELL!!!!  I’m always looking for more ideas!!!


  1. SO I have to tell you- I love your Rock Your Fluency bundle. I teach 3-5 grade ESL but I use your bundle with my newcomers, especially the fluency passages and sight word phrases. We use your fluency passages as reading practice at home, and I listen to them read the same passage every day all week and they love to watch themselves improve. I have the full bundle because we need to know all of those sight words (pre-primer - 3rd grade) as quickly as possible for them to catch up to their peers in reading. One of my third grade girls has read of your fluency passages since August. She can read ABOVE grade level now (but we're still working on vocabulary and comprehension). Anyway, just wanted to give you a shout out and a THANK YOU for such a great resource!

    The Cozy Learning Cottage

  2. Okay this blog thing is new to me and I am wanting to purchase your pre-primer & primer fluency activities and can't figure out how? Can anyone help me? I'm sure it is right in from on me but it just seems to be taking me to dead ends...

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