3 tips to help your choppy reader win at becoming more fluid | Mentoring in the Middle

3 tips to help your choppy reader win at becoming more fluid

 By the time you get to the 5th or 6th grades, reading fluency gets less attention than it does at the primary level.  But you don't want to ignore those kids who still need to work on it!

3 reading fluency tips with hand holding a nonsense word page

There are many activities you can do with your children that only take 10-15 minutes a day.  They will benefit from the practice because even short practice has long-term consequences.  There is a strong correlation between reading fluency and comprehension.  Close the gap even a bit and it will have positive long-term consequences!  

You want your upper elementary and middle school students to:

  • read more than 100 words per minute
  • recognize multiple words automatically
  • make few errors
  • self-correct errors
  • understand what they read
How do you get there?

Rhyming activities are one fun way to work on phonemic awareness.  At the upper elementary level, students are learning that not all words that sound alike are spelled the same way.  Seeing some of these words repeatedly, help cement them into their brains.

Free rhyming activities cover page with hand holding a pencil on rhyming activity
This set of three free activities works on rhyming skills.  Print them out and give your students one a day.

Nonsense words

As weird as it might sound, having your students read nonsense words can help a lot.  You see whether your students can decode words.  They improve their ability to attack words, putting to use phonetic skills they've learned.

Here's a FREE list of nonsense words that I created for my students.

nonsense words help readers become fluid

Note:  Make sure your students understand that these are nonsense words.  It's probably best not to use these with students for whom English is a second language, to avoid confusion.

Reading pyramids

I've written about reading fluency activities here, especially the way they helped students feel.  By the upper elementary grades, kids know who struggles to read and who doesn't.  And the kids who struggle often feel very self-conscious.

When I designed "reading pyramids," it was to give students practice with the repetition of common words.  What surprised me was how much the kids enjoyed using these!  These were good to work on alone or with a partner, and because students could see improvement happen rapidly, they wanted to keep working on them.  That's a WIN in my book!

These are perfect for summer!

cover page of summer themed reading fluency cards
I hope you can use these tips to help a student grow in fluency this summer!

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