Fluency in Primary

Fluency is such a difficult task for first grade.This post includes suggestions for supporting your kids.

Fluency is such a difficult task for first grade. Personally, I find it one of the most difficult concepts to teach at this level and it is becoming such a high priority with DIBELS and AIMs Web testing.  I have never fully understood how a child is supposed to be a fluent reader before they have actually become a reader.  But I suppose, it isn't really being a fluent reader; it is being fluent with reading skills.

When I think of fluency, I think of all of those wonderful things I learned at the Timothy Rasinski workshop I attended a few years back.  You know, Reader's Theater, incorporating poetry and nursery rhymes, practice, practice, practice! Using strategies to build expression, prosody, and automaticity. These are all so many great strategies.  Implementing them in first grade, however, is difficult.

Why Fluency Folders?

I decided to look at it a little differently.  I have been doing some research on fluency folders and decided to adapt it some to fit my own students.

First of all, I used spiral notebooks.  Personally, I do not like spiral notebooks because firsties ALWAYS lose the pages out of them.  But, one of our local stores donated hundreds of them to our school, so I will take free any day!  Each student has their own notebook and each month or so, we glue new pages into our notebook to practice. 

Fluency with Letter Names and Sounds

For my lower students, I have them focusing on letter naming, letter sounds, and phoneme segmentation.  Now that it is the middle of the year, I have also added nonsense words and short rhymes and poems.  I found these fantastic resources for FREE from Simply Kinder!

Fluency with CVC Nonsense Words

As the student become proficient with letter names and are able to decode CVC words, then I use these nonsense word boards for paired practice. I can easily slip them into the child's fluency folders, and they know what to do.

Students At Work:

Phoneme Segmentation

For the phoneme segmentation, I created my own fluency pages.  You can find a sample of one with this freebie!

My average and high students have been working on phonemic segmentation (even great readers can still use practice with this skill), nonsense words, and short stories.  My school has a set of fluency passages that I make copies of for the stories.

As my students have become better and better with this, I decided to also add their individual sight word lists and even ADDITION facts!!  I love combining curriculum!

You can see in the picture that when we glue in the page, the next page becomes our Lucky Listener's Club (totally a Timothy Rasinski steal! hehe). Each time that a student reads their page to a friend, the friend becomes a member of the Lucky Listener's Club (and I let them read to the same friend more than once if they like).  They love seeing how many names they can get on each page!

At this point, I do not have students track one another's progress or time each other.  I don't know how accurate it would be for first grade, and I am afraid (especially this year) that it would just turn into a silly game.  My biggest focus with this is merely to get them to practice, practice, practice!  After all, that is what makes great readers!  And you know what?  They LOVE it!  This is one of their favorite centers in our class.
Fluency is such a difficult task for first grade.This post includes suggestions for supporting your kids.
Every few weeks I will assess each student on their progress so that I can track their growth.  And the thing I love the most about this?  I can differentiate their folders merely by changing the pages that go in them and the kids don't even realize it!  In their minds, they are all doing the same activity!

So, do you have any strategies that you love for teaching fluency to the little guys?
Thanks for hanging with me!

Jessica from The Primary Treehouse