Here are some quick games to grow reading fluency with older students | Mentoring in the Middle

Here are some quick games to grow reading fluency with older students

By the time you get to the 5th or 6th grades, reading fluency gets less attention than it does at the primary level.  These game-like activities are perfect for kids who still need to work on it!

3 reading fluency tips with hand holding a nonsense word page

There are a lot of activities you can do with children that only take 10-15 minutes a day.  They will benefit from the practice because even short practice has long-term consequences.  And each of these has a game-like quality, which makes it fun.

You know 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 mistakes
  • 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 learn that not all words that sound alike are spelled the same way.  Seeing some of these words repeatedly helps 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 may sound, having your students read nonsense words can help a lot, because you can focus on decoding skills.  As they grow in nonsense word fluency practice, students use phonetic skills and you can more easily see where their strengths and weaknesses are.

Here's a FREE Nonsense Words Worksheet that I created for my students.

nonsense words help readers become fluid

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

Reading pyramids

I've written about reading fluency activities here, especially how 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 for my students,  it was to give them practice with repeating common words.  What surprised me was how much the kids enjoyed using these!  

  • Easy to work on alone or with a partner
  • Improvement happen rapidly
  • Highly motivational

These are perfect for summer!

I hope you can use these tips to help students grow in fluency this summer!

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