3 Fun Ways to Build FLUENCY & 2 FREEBIES!

01 May 2015 / 2 comments
We're nearing the end of the school year and my students are starting to lose focus on reading - -when I need them to put even more into it so they are ready for next year! Anyone else sharing this struggle? We've been hatching eggs in the classroom and having a great time (the chicks are super cute!) but getting back on track at the end of an exciting activity like that can feel nearly impossible. Time to bring in some fun! 

I teach 1st grade and the beginning of the year is highly focused on decoding - learning those phonics sounds and sight words. Those things are helping to creat fluent readers, but most are not beginning to get fluent until the middle or end of the year. Then, we can focus more on sounding like fluent readers. 

Last month, I shared about poetry reading. That is high on my list of fluency building activities. Plays and reader's theater are also very beneficial. What other things can we do to encourance repeated reading, accuracy of words, smoothness and expression?
Use beads to track repeated readings 
Beads are so much fun! I was tryinig to think of ways to encourage them to re-read books and this popped into my head. We use a modified Daily 5 schedule so during Read to Self I have the students pick out a book that is just right for their reading level and is short enough to read in about 5 minutes. They read the book and then get to wear a beaded necklace. They can do this up to 3 times and then they start again with a different book. 

Each time they read they are focusing on a different skill: 
1) work on the words 
2) work on smoothness 
3) Add expression

At the end of Read to Self time all the beads are returned. You will need to have enough necklaces for each student who will be using the station to be able to get 3 of the necklaces during their rotation time. I found a great way to store them - pocket charts! I had some extra pockets at the bottom of our attendance/hot lunch pocket chart. It works great. So far, we haven't had problems with tangles and the students can easily return the beads when their rotation has finished. 

***You can download the poster with the 3 steps HERE***

Use fun glasses and masks to "see" sight words
Learning sight words is an important step on the road to fluency. I've been having my students read through their sight word lists and highlighting ones they don't know. I use the Dolch lists. There are great printable lists at mrsperkins.com. I have some super readers who easily finished the 3rd grade lists and wanted a challenge. I've searched the internet for 4th & 5th grade sight words and they are having fun reading those words and learning some vocabulary. I have them read the lists until I've highlighted 8-15 words for them to practice. When they learn those words, they get to choose something from the treasure box (tiny toys and little pieces of candy). They frequently come up to me a few minute later telling me they know the words now. I ask, "did you practice them?" Sometimes, they are really honest and just tell me no. I'm not sure how they don't figure out that they can't possibly know the words they JUST missed if they don't have any practice time! So, this fun activity was developed to get students to spend time on those lists. They just choose fun glasses and practice reading their words. They can only use the glasses for sight word practice. They love reading the list to a friend! I found cute flamingo and pineapple sunglasses at Dollar Tree and some fun guitar and fancy sunglasses at Wal-Mart. They can also choose to wear a mask. I found a set of 8 for a few dollars in the Target party section. The masks are nice because they don't actually have anything covering their eyes. They love all the options!
Use a recorder to encourage repeated readings
Another fun way to get students to read something multiple times is using a recorder. I decided to use this method to help my students practice their phonics sounds. I made some cards that focus on a sound (i.e. - ar in star) and added more words with that sound to the card. Now, I just needed to offer some extra encouragement to practice reading those words! Now, we can Read to 3 and then Record. The students read the word list to themselves and then read it to 3 different friends. Then, they get to record the list on the iPad during their iPad rotation time. That's 5 times reading each list! I made a recording sheet for them to track the cards and the friends who listened to the list. They are then ready to record! I use the AVR - Awesome Voice Recorder app on the iPad. There are many recording apps available. You could also record on a computer or laptop. I've also used this recorder by Learning Resources. With the recording app, I have the students type in their name and sound after they record. I can easily go back and listen to the recording to see if they know the words.

I made these fluency cards for them to practice phonics sounds. I may add to the pack in the future and place it in my TPT store, but currently it's an exclusive freebie for our readers! ***You can download the Phonics Fluency Cards HERE

I hope that you've enjoyed reading these tips and found something useful! Don't forget to pin your favorite ideas so you can access them as needed. Please leave a comment and let me know your favorite strategy for building FLUENCY!


  1. Love all of these ideas!!! I am always looking for new ideas for fluency! Thank you!

    Allison @ Stuckey in Second :)

  2. Thanks for the cards! We are getting ipads! I LOVE the recoding app...I will BE BACK! THANKS! wendy 1stgradefireworks


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