Building Fluency


Apr 6 2006, 10:11 AM
How would you recommend building fluency in beginning reading?

Does this just come with time or are there things you can do to encourage it?

Do you recommend books lower than her level or at her level?

My dd reads me 3-4 books a day. She has worked out most coding rules and mastered a lot
of the sight words and phonics rules (although she still gets hung up on that silent e...
another story). She even read a page of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night, after
telling her we would read another chapter if she read a page! So mechanically she is able to
decode almost anything, but I would really like to help her pick up the speed.
She finds the very first readers boring. I find she predicts the patterns instead of actually
reading the words. She does better with the secondary stage, like Biscuit, Little Bear, Frog &

She is comfortable reading the higher level Dr. Seuss level books, but they take such a long
time to finish she gets frustrated. I try alternating pages, (I.e. she reads, I read), but she
doesn't like that because she doesn't think that SHE read the book then.

Any suggestions?


Apr 6 2006, 10:45 AM
When we were working on fluency, I'd pick a book that was a little higher than their reading
level and have them read it aloud. They'd read one page, and then they'd read it again, and
again, until they read it without stumbling or guessing. Then we'd move on to the next page.
We did this for 15 minutes or so every day. It worked very well. I still listen to them read
aloud occasionally so I can listen for mispronounced words.

Apr 6 2006, 11:00 AM
That is a great suggestion Melanie!
Fluency comes with time & practice and is unique to each reader. Most of the
recommendations I've read encourage reading at all levels: above, at, below. When reading
below and at level is the time to really focus on accuracy. When reading above level, let the
little errors go by....using your discretion, of course.
If your daughter is following along while you read; encourage her that she is indeed reading.
Silent reading is an important skill, too.

Apr 6 2006, 11:08 AM
Part of fluency is the mother/child conversations that can occur. Try to speak to your child
using a wide variety of words which will help build their vocabulary. I also used to take my
children on various tours about the house inside and out identifying and discussing anything
from plumbing parts to tree parts.

Apr 6 2006, 11:11 AM
I can't really add anything to what has been said already. Just read, read, read!

Apr 6 2006, 09:15 PM
I asked a very similar question just a few months ago for my twin 5 yr olds. They were
decoding very well, but very slowly. Then they were able to many words easily but still
reading word by word. Everyone encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing and it would
come with practice. And it did. Within a month, both were reading much more smoothly. And
now they read fluently at their reading level (early to mid 2nd grade). To help with fluency, I
went with much easier books. I used the Dr. Maggie books because they are cute and
colorful. They also are progressive in terms of phonics. The bob books are good too. I don't
know if your child is above that though. Anyway, they would stay on the same book until
they could read the whole story fluently with no stopping to figure out words, usually 3-5
days. Technically, I'm sure they memorized a good portion of the books. But the point is they
learned how to be fluent when reading/telling the story. They also learned how to read many
words by sight after decoding them for several days in a row. One other thing I did was have
them reread sentences that were produced very laboriously. We also worked on reading two
words at a time ("the" always read with the word following it: "the boat" instead of

The kids now like to read several series of books. They are late 1st to early 2nd grade level
books. They have some difficulty with names and larger words but generally do very well.
The series are: young cam jansen, nate the great, flat stanley, arthur, franklin. The franklin
and arthur books are great to read in one session. The first few are chapter books. We
usually read one or two chapters at a time. Sometimes we read the first couple together and
they then finish the books on their own.
hope that helps.

Oh, and as for the silent -e. That's apparently very common. My two had a really hard time
with it. Still confuse it sometimes. But the more they have read, they easier it becomes.
They also learn to use context on the fly, which is a good reading strategy.

Apr 9 2006, 08:49 PM
Thanks for the replies. I haven't tried having her read the same book over and over. She is
very good at memorizing. She memorized her whole Frog & Toad collection from listening to
them on tape. I wasn't sure if it was really helping since she was just guessing at the words
since she knew the story.

I guess we'll just keep doing what we are doing. She actually appreciated reading Father
Bear Comes Home alternating pages today. She really wanted me to read the book, and I
told her I really wanted her to read it, so she thought alternating pages was a good
Thanks for the help. If anyone has any other ideas, please send them.

Apr 9 2006, 09:29 PM
My son was reading each word phonetically and driving me nuts, so we would take turns
reading. He would read, then I would read, then we would read together. That helped us a

Also, what Donna said was good. Talk, talk, talk to your kids. I used to explain everything to
the kids. I'd be so tired at the end of the day.


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