Do you want to build stronger readers in your classroom? Reading fluency is the best way to do this. But what is reading fluency? Why is it important? Read on to find out why using reading fluency passages is the key to unlocking your students’ reading potential.
Reading Fluency Definition
Fluency is the ability to read the words in a text effortlessly and efficiently with speed, accuracy, and expression. It is the ability to recognize words and understand them.
Why is Fluency Important?
When I entered the classroom almost two decades ago, I had no idea why fluency was essential. All I knew was that my fourth graders had to read 144 words a minute. Then, they were also supposed to be able to retell what they read in sequential order. No one ever told me why. So I started asking questions. What I learned was a huge surprise to me. Furthermore, it made complete sense.
First, think about the student who reads slowly and has trouble sounding out words. Not only does this child take a long time to read a text, but he/she will also have difficulty remembering details from the text. I am sure this student is exhausted!
Next, think about the child who reads quickly and has no trouble sounding out unknown words. This child often reads smoothly and quickly. He/she will likely remember most details in a text with no problem. The student will gain meaning from the reading, which is the reason that they read.
What do I do to Improve Fluency?
We need to give our students reading fluency passages to build their fluency and stamina. First, make sure that the passages are on their reading levels. Next, find passages that will interest students. Finally, track students’ growth. Check out the 7 signs below to see if you are using effective reading fluency passages. If you’re doing these things, you will see an increase in your students’ fluency!
7 Signs You’re Using Effective Reading Fluency Passages
- The reading passages are interesting. Give reading fluency passages about exciting topics! Students need to read about things they are interested in. I’ve written passages about unusual animals, famous people, and fast cars. They are always a hit with students! One favorite is my “Weird & Gross Facts” passage, where students learn that wearing headphones for an hour can increase the bacteria in your ears 700 times!
- You allow your students to do repeated readings. Let students read passages over and over again. This allows them to become familiar with the text. Each time they read, they will get faster and gain confidence.
- The passages use easy-to-read fonts. Find reading fluency passages with an easy-to-read font. I love a cute font as much as the next teacher, but not when I’m trying to read a selection. Simple fonts allow students to recognize words easily.
- Your students graph their progress. When students graph their fluency scores, they are able to see growth. This is huge for students. It shows them that they are becoming stronger readers as they see their scores increase. Everyone loves to see progress. Students will see an increase in their fluency by the end of the week. Trust me… they will be thrilled!
- The passages include comprehension questions. A child who reads fluently understands what he/she read. When I first learned about fluency, I was only concerned with the number of words that my students were reading. Then I learned that fluent readers are able to understand what they read. Ask students comprehension questions after they read to assess their understanding of a text.
- You encourage your students to read to each other. Print full-page passages and pair students together. Let them take turns reading the passages to each other.
- The passages have the word counts already listed. Students may get frustrated trying to count all of the words they’ve read. If you use passages that have the words already counted, it’s that much easier for students.
Need Interesting and Effective Reading Fluency Passages?
Check out some high-interest reading fluency passages below! All of these are available in my store!