Reading Foundational Skills: Fluency

This is the last post on reading foundational skills. Anita Archer, Ph. D had such a great presentation, that I had to share. The last component of this mini-series is fluency.

Fluency has 3 components: accuracy, rate, and expression. You have to build up fluency in that progression. In order to pick up the rate you need to be reading accurately. You can't add it the expression unless your reading at a decent rate. Each component builds on one another.

Factors that Effect Rate
  • Porportion of words in the text that are recognized as "sight words"
    • Sight words are any words that readers have practiced; often read from memeory
  • Speed of decoding strategies used to determine the pronunciation of unknown words. 
  • Speed with which word meanings are identified. 
  • Speed at which overall meaning is constructed. 
Why Fluency? 
  • Fluency is related to reading comprehension.
  • When students read fluently, decoding requires less attention. Attention can be given to comprehension. 
  • Laborious decoding and low fluency results in little reading
  • As a result... the rich get richer. The poor get poorer. 
Fluency How? ... Pretty simple... practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and more practice!
  •  Provide extensive reading practice. Utilize procedures such as augmented silent reading, choral reading, cloze reading, and partner reading. Read a lot! At the least, read together. 
  • Encourage wide independent reading
  • Provide repeated reading practice at the word level. When reading word lists, have students reread word lists until competent.
  • Utilize repeated reading exercises in passages to increase fluency. At least 3 times to get better. 
Passage Reading: Silent Reading
  • Pose pre-reading question
  • Tell students to read a certain amount and to reread material if they finish early. 
  • Monitor students' reading. Have individuals whisper-read to you.
  • Pose post-reading question.
Passage Reading: Echo Reading
  • Teacher reads a word, phrase, or sentence.
  • Students "echo" read the word, phrase, or sentence.
  • Useful for building fluency and expression.
  • Fade as students grow in reading skills. 
Passage Reading: Choral Reading
  • Read selection with your students.
  • Read at a moderate rate.
  • Tell your students, "Keep your voice with mine."
    • You may wish to have students pre-read silently before choral reading.
    • All students are reading--modeling rate/expression
Passage Reading; Cloze Reading
  • Read selection.
  • Pause on "meaningful" words. 
  • Have students read the deleted words.
    • Excellent practice for reading initial part of a chapter or when you need to read something quickly.
Practice Reading- Individual Turns
  • Use with small groups ONLY
  • Call on an individual student.
  • Call on students in random order.
  • Vary the amount of material read. 
Passage Reading: Partner Reading
  • Reader whisper reads to partner.
    • Narrative: Alternate by word, sentence, page, or time (5 minutes).
    • Informational Text: Alternate by paragraph.
  • Coach corrects errors.
    • Ask-- Can you figure out this word?
    • Tell--p This word is ______. What word? Reread the sentence.
  • Alternatives to support lowest readers:
    • Lowest readers place on triad.
    • First reader (better reader) reads material. Second reader reads the SAME materal.
    • Students read the material together.
    • Before reading, students can say ME (I will read.) OR We (Please read with me.)
Repeated Reading
  • Student reads the same material a number of times (at least 3)
  • General procedure:
    • Cold-timing (one minute without prior practice)
    • Practice (rereading material to increase fluency)
    • Hot-timing (one minute timing)
      • Often coupled with modeling by teacher, self-monitoring of progress through graphing. 
In my reading groups, we have "Fluency Fridays" these days have a specific block of time to work on fluency through practice and games. At the very lesast we are working on this component of the "Big 5" at least once a week. The students enjoy the change of pace. It's also easy to implement into reading skills centers, and "catch-up" days. 


  1. Loved reading this informative post! You have fluency very structured and productive :) Do you just use reading passages or books or do you use a specific pack for fluency? I had parent volunteers offer to come in and work my kiddos on extra fluency time.. I am excited but that means more to plan for me!


  2. Hey Christy, what types of games do you use for Fluency Fridays?
    Grade 4 Buzz


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