5 Easy Fluency Strategies for Young Readers

Long before children even start school, looking at books and reading together is a part of many families daily routines. When they officially become kindergarteners and continue through elementary school, so many children are excited to learn to read, and it gives them a new found independence and confidence. In order to become strong readers, mastering fluency strategies is everything. 

The Importance of Fluency and Fluency Strategies 

So why is fluency important when it comes to learning how to read? Literacy fluency is what ultimately makes reading enjoyable, for both new readers and seasoned readers alike! When children are able to read with fluency, they are then able to comprehend whatever it is they are reading which helps expand their language, knowledge, and hopefully their willingness to want to continue reading. If you are wanting to strengthen your young readers’ literacy fluency, here are 5 strategies you can incorporate into your classroom.

el education kindergarten fluency

Practice with Poems

One of the best ways to increase literacy fluency with your little readers is through age appropriate poems. One way you can integrate this into your literacy lessons is by starting off each week with a different phonics poem. Every day you and your students can practice reading this poem either by echo reading, reading with a partner, or they can practice on their own. I’ve previously shared how I also incorporate poems into low-prep centers using the the EL Education Kindergarten Skills Block poems.

Why this Fluency strategy helps:

The natural rhythm and flow of poetry helps young readers practice their fluency while reading, even if they don’t actually know each and every word of the poem yet. Practicing the same poem throughout the week allows for students to become more familiar with both individual words and full sentences which builds confidence when reading. 

Read and Reread with Different Expressions

Another fun literacy fluency activity is reading and re-reading short passages using different expressions or tones each time you read. This method will keep the little ones engaged and make reading time something they really look forward to.

Examples of ways to switch things up:

  • normal
  • whisper
  • robotic
  • silly 
  • slow/fast
  • baby
  • monster

Why this Fluency strategy helps:

Similarly to practicing with poems, the repetition of reading the same short passage over and over again will allow your students to become more self-assured as they read, which will benefit their fluency as time goes on. Practice makes perfect, and it doesn’t have to be boring!

el education kindergarten fluency strategies

Use Sentence Trees

Sentence trees are another great way to exercise literacy fluency in both new and developing young readers. Adding one word at a time allows the reader to become familiar with each word through repetition (are you seeing a trend here?), this is also a good way to practice sight words, which we will talk more about next. Here is an example of what a simple sentence tree can look like. 

I

I know

I know the

I know the bug

I know the bug can

I know the bug can fly

A similar activity is using word trees or word pyramids, pictured above in this resource.

Why this Fluency strategy helps:

The structure of sentence trees helps encourage new readers to really focus on one word at a time. By repeating multiple words over and over will allow them to become more comfortable with what they are reading. Over time this strategy helps improve both fluency and reading speed. Students can practice reading their sentence trees whenever they have extra time.

el education high frequency words

Memorize Sight Words

A huge component to literacy fluency is the ability to recognize and comfortably read sight words, also known as high frequency words. The ability to recognize these words without hesitation will help build literacy fluency, especially with developing readers. One way to do this would be through the use of sight word games with the EL Education high frequency words.

Why this Fluency strategy helps:

Young readers put a lot of focus and effort into sounding out and decoding new words, which slows down the speed at which they are reading. Sight words aren’t always an easy thing to teach, so the quicker these words are memorized the better off reading fluency, speed, and accuracy will be.

Encourage Line Tracking

Looking at a page full of words can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned reader at times, so just imagine how a new reader might feel when they are practicing this skill. A useful strategy you can implement in your classroom is encouraging your students to line track as they read, using a ruler, book mark, or even a piece of paper.

Why this Fluency strategy helps:

Line tracking will really help your students focus on whatever it is they are reading. Instead of staring at a page of words, this tactic will break up the text into much more manageable chunks. The ability to focus on just a few words or sentences at a time will help increase fluency and comprehension.  

Final Thoughts

The ability to read with fluency is what makes reading something that is fun and pleasurable, especially for those who are still mastering the skill. Fluency also allows readers to actually comprehend whatever it is they are reading, which is so beneficial for so many reasons. 

Which fluency strategy are you going to try out in your classroom?

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