Guiding beginning readers through the process of learning to read is a fun adventure. Every child’s path to reading fluency and comprehension looks different. It is our task as educators to create a plan that best fits the needs of each of our students. Easier said than done, but let’s look at some great ways to help our little learners.
Improving Fluency Through Oral Reading
Studies have proven that students who improve their reading fluency naturally improve their reading comprehension as well. To help build reading fluency, students should be practicing by reading aloud age-appropriate texts. By reading aloud, students are able to better hear any errors they may make. Rereading the text orally will then help build their fluency by building their confidence in the passage they are reading. Reading orally is also a great way for students to better comprehend what they are reading. Win, win!
High Frequency Words and Sight Words
Giving students the tools to help them during the reading process helps to build their fluency. One way we do that is by teaching high-frequency words and sight words. Being able to automatically recognize common words in a text helps to build confidence in readers. When students are tasked with reading aloud, having confidence in their reading ability helps build their fluency.
Provide a Variety of Ways for Students to Build their Fluency
Keeping fluency practice fun can be a challenge, but there are many ways to keep it interesting.
- Choose fun/funny passages that students will enjoy reading multiple times.
- Provide students with silly pointers to use while following along during their reading. (rubber witch fingers are a class favorite)
- Have students use a play microphone while reading. You can purchase one with voice effects that make reading aloud a blast!
- Provide a variety of short texts and passages such as music lyrics, poems and plays.
- Model reading fluency for your students. Provide opportunities for students to follow along as you read aloud.
Reading Comprehension Builds Alongside Fluency
As students start to read more fluently, their reading comprehension will improve as well but continue to monitor both of these skills. Every year I have students who have beautiful fluency but are not comprehending the text and vice versa. I am always amazed by the students who struggle with fluency but have amazing comprehension of what they have just read. Progress monitoring will help you to adjust your teaching to help your students to continue to grow both their fluency and reading comprehension.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like most things in life, we get better by practicing our skills. Continued fluency practice will help to grow confident readers who connect to and comprehend what they are reading. These free fluency and reading comprehension activities are a great way to sharpen your students’ reading skills.
Each fluency and reading comprehension worksheet includes practice for these skills:
- Fluency Practice – Students read aloud a short text 3 times, marking each time they complete a round.
- High Frequency Words – Students use different colored crayons to identify the given words in the text.
- Reading Comprehension – Students answer simple questions about the text they read.
For more reading tips and resources, check out these blog posts: