Ready . . . Set . . . Read! Teaching Reading Fluency

There are many activities and lesson ideas that teachers can use to reinforce reading fluency skills.

By Dawn Dodson

Fluency Lesson Plans

Reading fluency is the all important literacy skill that encompasses both rate of words read per minute, as well as the ability to read with expression. As important as this literacy skill is to master, it can be tedious to teach. As a sixth grade teacher, I like to incorporate fluency instruction into novel studies, language reviews, and independent book projects. I view reading skills, such as fluency, as a personal journey where an individual student must take accountability and responsibility. The following are ways in which I incorporate reading fluency into my daily instruction.

At the beginning of the school year my students begin a language arts portfolio. In their portfolio they keep work they are proud of, as well as quarterly goal and assessment work. Students also track skills such as reading fluency and comprehension. There are online programs that I use as assessment resources. There are websites that include reading passages and questions at a variety of reading levels. It allows me to personalize reading assessment and instruction to fit all levels within my classroom. I specifically use the passages to test students’ accuracy and fluency, i.e. words per minute. Students see their results and create goals to improve accuracy rates for the following assessment.

Every literacy teacher understands the importance of practicing reading. In addition to assessing students’ reading fluency, I provide various opportunities for students to practice. A student favorite is Reader’s Theatre. I like to use Reader’s Theatre to introduce a new concept or unit of study, or as a Friday review session of skills/concepts covered during the past week. There are many online resources for Reader’s Theatre scripts. I use one by Aaron Shepard. You can choose from a variety of scripts, and there are tips for making the most out of the Reader’s Theatre experience. Not only do students perform the Reader’s Theatre for the class, but I also use them for partner and group reading. At times I use both poems and portions of these scripts for choral reading practice, which can also help improve fluency.

Excerpts of novels can also be recited and read as part of fluency practice. I choose important scenes, and have students read and perform the scenes as a group activity. Each group is divided into “readers” and “actors.” The readers practice reading chorally as the actors silently portray the scene. Each group presents their scene to the rest of the class. Not only are students reviewing important events, but they must read fluently together in order for the audience to understand what is being read. Opportunities for students to read aloud often present themselves in class, and taking advantage of that time to remind students about reading with expression and fluency can be well worth the time spent. Here are some more lesson plans that can help students improve their fluency.

Reading Fluency Lesson Plans:

Dividing Words into Syllables to Develop Reading Fluency

In this lesson students learn how to decode multi-syllable words in order to improve reading rate and accuracy. The concepts are reinforced through students’ performance of a Reader’s Theatre and an online quiz.

Off to the Reading Races

Students are taught various reading strategies in order to improve speed and accuracy, as well as expressive oral reading. Students evaluate reading with a partner as well as use a class novel to practice reading strategies.

Ready? Let’s Read!

In this lesson students are taught fluency through reading texts and practicing strategies. Students work with partners as they learn to evaluate the reading of others and begin to focus on comprehension of text.

Reading Lessons

In this group of activities students practice reading a selected text and read aloud with a partner. Student partners evaluate one another and set goals to improve personal fluency rates.      

Language Arts Guide

Dawn Dodson