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Bldg. Fluency


Full Member
I'm looking for some ways to build fluency with a few of my students. Is choral reading something that will help? I kind of want to do a whole class program, but really looking for something I can give a few students that I'm concerned with.


Choral reading for fluency

It IS something that will help, but keep in mind that those students you are particularly concerned about also need fluent reading modeled for them. I usually use choral reading with my whole class for that reason. We chorally read the basal selection each week. Sometimes I time them reading it two times and we compare our times; we always discuss the other aspects of fluency as well to see if we improved the second time. I've done this activity for a few years and every class has loved it. I also use a lot of poetry for choral reading. I got a book with Scholastic bonus points a couple years ago which has poems for building fluency. Another suggestion for those few you're concerned with is to have them practice phrases rather than just single sight words. Tim Rasinski's book The Fluent Reader may be useful for you--that's where I got the idea for phrase practice in addition to learning basic sight words. I even spent $10 on fluency phrase flash cards--very expensive but I've used them a lot with my struggling readers. Hope some of these ideas help.



I use a program called read naturally in my classroom. It is GREAT for building fluency. If you don't have the program or the means to get it the basic concept is to have a grade appropriate reading passage and "cold" time the student reading the passage for 1 minute. (cold time meaning they read the passage without ever having seen it.) After practicing the passage several time during the week they read it again for a "hot" time. I usually average the two to come up with an oral reading fluency grade. I love this especially for those students that don't read that fast. They can really see their growth at the end of the week and are always so proud that they have improved.

I also use a lot of poetry in my room to help with reading fluency. Most poems really lend themselves to the phrasing practice the previous poster mentioned. Two good resource books with reproducibles are Fluency Lesson for the Overhead and Building fluency with poetry. I have my students draw lines to phrase their sentences and then read the word chunks. (Ex: The black dog/ ran up the hill.// He sat/ on a window sill.// ) After a few modeling lessons they can phrase on their own and then they read the phrases to me, choral read the poetry, have students practice reading the poem to present it to the class, etc..

There are also flash cards called phrase cards that help with fluency.
Hope this helps.


Full Member
Poetry Journals

One of the ways I build fluency in my classroom is by using poetry journals. I introduce a new poem on Monday. We talk about the imagery and language used in the poem and recite it several times together. On Tuesdays, I give them a copy of the poem to cut out and glue into their pj. On Wednesdays, they are to copy the poem in their pj. On Thursdays, they illustrate what the poem means to them. We read the poem several times over the course of the four days. Their homework on Thursdays is to take their pj home and read the poem to an adult at least twice. The adult then needs to write a response back to the child about the poem, their handwriting, their picture, or their fluency while reading. For the most part, this has been a very successful project. Students and parents both enjoy finding out what this week's poem is. I've had a lot of great feedback from parents that the poems seem to be helping their child in fluency and I have seen a difference in almost all of my students.

I did get a bit tiffed the other day when one of my boys came in and said, "My dad says there's no such word as fluency. His teacher told him the correct word was fluent." Grrr...


Senior Member
Poetry Journal

I like the idea of the poetry journal. Do you use this as part of a center or whole group activity??? Thanks for your help


Love the idea

I love the idea of a poetry journal. I was wondering if you could tell me where you find the poems to use?


New Member
building fluency

Take a passage that is somewhere between instructional and independent level in difficulty...closer to independent. Have students read silently only the first sentence. Then have them very slowly read each word of the sentence orally. Tell them that this reading is to be sure that they have every single word correct. Continue through the passage (limit passages to maybe 100 words or less). Then have students read the entire passage in a soft voice that allows you to monitor their reading orally. Tell them to read at their own speed and to be very careful to read accurately. Next have them read the passage silently, this time telling them to read for understanding, still at their own speed--possibly even a little slower than before because it takes a little longer when you're trying to understand what you read. Now have students take turns reading portions of the passage "in an interesting voice", using parsody. Lastly, tell them that now they will read for speed, and time each one for one minute. Have them point to their last word read. Time them about two more times and let them see if they can get further on each timing. I have heard it said that you cannot build fluency in less than four readings. I really like this method because it doesn't sacrifice accuracy for speed--which many of my struggling readers will do if left to their own strategies.

Mrs. G

Senior Member
Whisper phones

Have you heard of "Whisper Phones?" You can purchase them made or make them yourself from PVC pipe. The students whisper into them like a phone receiver and listen to themselves as they read. I just learned about these at the FRA convention I was at this past weekend and they sound great! You use 2 PVC elbows and 1 straight piece a few inches long. Attach the elbows to each end so it looks somewhat like a phone. They can really hear themselves well and don't disturb the class when they are whispering.


New Member
Self-phones didn't live up to expectations

I made the PVC pipe phones--spent about $35+ on them, and was very disappointed. It sounded like such a great idea, but I couldn't see that they really did what I was expecting them to. It was cumbersome for the kids to hold a book and a phone, and they weren't really wild about using them. I used them as I introduced letter sounds to get them to hear their own pronunciation better, and that seemed to have more value, but overall I wished I hadn't invested in them. You might want to try out only a couple before you make a big investment like I did.


Senior Member
Whisper Phones

My dad made a class set of whisper phones for me this year, and I love them! The students use them for reading test as a whole class, and it really keeps them focused, b/c they are mainly hearing themselve read, as opposed to the entire class.

I also really stress the high frequency words with my class to increase their oral reading fluencye.