A very wise principal I once worked for described reading fluency activities as “the bridge between phonics and comprehension”. After teaching 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-grade reading – I believed her! Readers who cannot read fluently lack the ability to fully comprehend what they are reading.
In first grade, decoding is the thing. By mid-year, most students should be able to remember individual sounds and most letter blends that have been taught. By the end of the school year, the expectation is that they are able to comprehend a lot if not most of what they have read.
Second grade features more phonics instruction, but now comprehension is taking a more important role for readers. The expectation is that by the end of 2nd grade, students are reading fluently and comprehending most of what they read.
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What does reading fluently mean?
According to Reading Rockets, “fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression.”
If you have ever listened to a 1st grader read, you probably know what it sounds like when they read fluently and when they don’t. There is no consistent speed, they make errors in pronunciation of words, and they cannot read with any expression – because the first two things make that impossible.
Reading Fluency Activities That Can Help
If you have readers especially in 2nd and 3rd grade who do not read with fluency, you need to help them with targeted fluency practice. Sometimes in education, we believe that in order to improve fluency, readers need to read aloud more. But – does it really help? Not in my experience.
Sometimes readers who struggle with fluency have never mastered phonics. They continue to need to sound out words which slows them down. Because they lack phonics – they make a lot of mistakes.
This is where we have to start with our struggling readers.
This Reading Fluency Syllables & Blends activity is a perfect place to start. Like sight words, common syllables and blends need to be memorized, so that every time you see the syllable -ment – you know how to pronounce it. Or when you see -cial, you know it sounds like shull.
There are 216 cards in this set that covers most of the common syllables that a reader needs to recognize in order to read a word quickly. The Progress Monitoring pages will help you keep a record of a reader’s progress through the cards and also can be used as documentation of intervention strategies if needed.
Once you have completed the set of syllable and blends cards, you can move your reader to the Reading Fluency Common Phrases set. Being able to read phrases quickly by sight will improve fluency in a big way! This set includes 116 Common Phrase cards with Progress Monitoring pages as well.
Finally, when your reader has progressed through the Syllables & Blends set and the Common Phrases set – they are ready for Reading Fluency Pyramid Sentences! They are going to LOVE this practice set and will beg you to let them practice even more!
If you haven’t used pyramid sentences before – you are going to love them too – and you will see your students improve immensely!
Want to know more about fluency pyramid sentences? This post can help!
Does this sound like a plan that you can use in your classroom to help your struggling readers with fluency?
You can get all 3 reading fluency activities in a bundle that is discounted 20% from the list price of each resource individually.
This bundle of year-long fluency activities can be used one-on-one, with partners, in small groups, or in a literacy center. Just print, laminate, and you can use them for years!
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