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Reading Fluency Ideas

Are you looking for reading fluency tips to implement in your literacy block? Here is one of our faves.

Fluency Pairs

Are you pairing students to practice their fluency?

Fluency reading is paired reading, complemented by word lists aligned with your phonics sequence.

The words can include real and nonsense words, and all sounds should have been explicitly taught.

Why do fluency pairs?

Fluency is best practiced for short amounts of time regularly, rather than in one large block (or worse, once a week). Fluency pairs means everyone in the class reads for a set amount of time, every day.

How does fluency pairs worK?

  • The routine is quick, sharp and consistent – it takes 10 minutes. That’s it.
  • Use a timer.
  • Sudents are sorted into A or B groups, and then A + B students are paired together according to phonics knowledge (complete diagnostic assessments before pairing).
  • Use decodable readers, or short age-appropriate texts for students that can read extended code.
  • The text needs to be familiar so students are practicing fluency rather than decoding. ( I like to change texts every 2-3 days so students read the same text 3-4 times). You may even like to model reading the texts as w whole class before resading pairs.
  • Organise fluency pairs in your usual reading spot.
  • Students always sit in the same place.
  • One group reads first (As), while Bs need to read along and help if their partner gets stuck. They do this for 4mins. (or an amount of time that suits you) Then students swap and read for another 4 mins.

Practicing fluency using word lists (minimal code knowledge)

This is the same routine, however instead of reading a book, students are reading word lists. You could also reduce the time duration.

  • Students read through the list, reading the words straight away if they know the word, or sounding out if they don’t (e.g. b-e-d, bed). Their partner helps them if they get stuck on a word.
  • Take turns reading the words; down, then up, then down again; taking turns.

Setting expectations

Practice the routine and reward students for completing the routine in 10 mins.

Have an agreed set of expectations and success criteria. Our Fluency Pairs Word List resource includes handy posters to help.

Other useful activities and tips

  • Choose book at independent level (not instructional, so focus is on fluency and not decoding).
  • Students could record themselves reading on the iPad. They then listen back and see where they can improve.
  • Find free decodable readers on SPELD SA
reading fluency
Our Fluency Pairs Word List resource includes handy posters to help implement fluency pairs.