My Fluency Process

A long time ago, I use to have my kids practice fluency, I hated it. I hated the process, I never understood why reading for speed was so important. 

That was when I didn't understand what fluency was all about.

I have grown.

I have learned.

Since I started my new job one of the things the teacher's requested I work on is fluency.

I now teach fluency in a way that I think is meaningful and effective.

So now, I talk about fluency E.V.E.R.Y. D.A.Y. with my kids. We talk about the APE that makes up fluency practice. After 6 weeks they finally know what they are practicing and why.  

They can tell me that they practice their Accuracy, reading the words correctly by not skipping or changing the words the author wrote. 

They can tell me that when they practice their Pacing they don't read too fast or too slow and that they should pause when they see periods and commas.

They can even demonstrate their Expression by paying attention to quotation, question and exclamation marks. 

One of my groups even thought we should add an L to our APE and make it APE-L (apple) instead of APE. They wanted to make the L, Listening. I couldn't have agreed more and was so proud of them! Listening while practicing fluency is just as important as the APE because if you are just reading words and not listening to what you are reading, then you have done just that, read the words and not the "story".

Every day that my kids come to me they spend about 5 to 10 minutes practicing their fluency, sometimes alone and other times with partners.

I remind the kids E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y that they don't just come in and read their fluency page the same way, they need to practice it in different ways so when I test them I can hear, see and tell that they practiced their APE-L. I remind the kids all the time of the different ways they can practice. For example instead of practicing the whole story they might just practice the words that they stumble on or have trouble pronouncing. Another time they may just practice  reading the page for pacing, paying close attention to the commas and periods. The next read they do may just be practicing those sentences that require expression, the ones with quotation marks, exclamation and question marks. On at least one of the reads they should check their understanding of the story, asking themselves comprehension questions such as: What is the story about? Who is the main character? Is there a problem and a solution? etc. This helps to keep the kids from being bored reading the same story so many times.

About once a week I will do a timed read so they can see how many words they read per minute. They also need to make sure they are not reading for just speed, but for APE-L as well. After at least 2 timed reads they can put their clip up letting me know they are ready for me to test them.

I only test one or two students per day, because again we only do fluency for 5 to 10 minutes (I only have each group for 40 minutes or less). The students read to me for one minute. After that time I score them for each of the APE-L giving them a 1-4 depending on how they did (1 being they need lots of practice, 4 for doing an awesome job).

As we talk about their scores, I show them their accuracy (the marks I put on their page while they read) and we talk about the ways they can practice their pacing and expression. Once that is done I hand them a page with 4-5 questions and keep their fluency page. They need to go back to their seat and answer these questions without looking back into the story (I know, I know, this is so against Common Core). The purpose of this is to see if they are practicing the L. Did they actually listen to what they read or were they just reading the words. These questions are just simple questions that I made to go with each page. After correcting this page I give them their L score (1-4) and then we go over the questions with the story.

So this about sums up my process. 

I love it.

It is quick and easy, and so far pretty effective.
Do you do something different when you teach fluency? I would love to hear it.


  1. I so appreciate this post! I've also made a big push on fluency this past year. I've been using "APE" and even have a stuffed ape/visuals we refer to. Now I'm thinking we should be adding the L, too. I'm also going to try out the clip idea, thanks!

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment. I think you should give the L a try, you might be surprised at their comprehension while practicing fluency.
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  2. This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time! Thanks for the reminder!


    1. Thanks Jen!
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  3. Thank you Shawna! This is not just a great idea, but actually seems doable!!! (I really struggle with time management -this being my first year in 2nd grade.)


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!