Teach Reading Fluency Every Day!
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
Your students have taken the DIBELS reading fluency test, so now what? Here are ideas to help their reading fluency and confidence grow.
Read The Fluent Reader by Timothy Rasinski — The Fluent Reader is my absolute favorite book about reading fluency, and one I recommend to colleagues. You can read it over a weekend and implement Rasinski’s suggestions Monday morning.
Model Expressive Oral Reading — We underestimate how much students listen when we read aloud and how much they model their oral reading on ours. Modeling intonation, volume, and expression shows students how stories come to life and inspires them when they read aloud. By the end of the year, you’ll hear your voice in their oral reading.
Engage in Poetry — Poems are written for repeated reading, and students love to read them again and again. There are so many poets, from Emily Dickinson to Shel Silverstein to Bobbi Katz, that selecting poems is a challenge. My students had three-ring binders filled with poems printed on card stock. They illustrated their poems and brought their poetry books to Morning Meeting, a great time to share poetry.
Practice Choral Reading — Choral reading can be a song, poem, or cheer. When students read together, they lose their self-consciousness and develop confidence in their ability to read. Building confidence in one’s fluency is a magical step on the path to fluent reading.
Reread Reader's Theater Plays — I’m always amazed that students who dislike repeated reading will willingly reread plays dozens of times. Any picture book can become Reader's Theater. Students take the roles of various characters and one or two students serve as narrators. My 2nd graders loved Ming Lo Moves the Mountain, The Bremen Town Musicians, and The Magic Fish. We scanned illustrations and projected them on a screen behind the student actors to add a visual element to our Reader's Theater.
Include Parents — Parents will become partners as they help their child practice reading fluency at home. Write instructions for parents about how to practice at home and make them available at parent conferences. Ask parents to first read aloud, with over-the-top expression, a short, familiar, easy-to-read book, like Green Eggs and Ham or a chapter from Gray Paulsen’s Hatchet. Then have them turn to their child and say, “I want you to read this book to me the way I just read it to you.”
Give Frequent Assessments — Students are usually assessed for fluency in September, January, and May, but less fluent readers need more frequent DIBELS assessment. Depending on a student’s fluency level, you may want to recheck his fluency as frequently as every three weeks.
Find Free Resources — Discover free poetry printables from Scholastic.