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April 30, 2019

5 Helpful Activities to Teach Fluency (With Freebies)

Two boys reading with the heading "5 Helpful Activities to Teach Fluency"

As a third grade teacher, I know that I have to teach comprehension skills from day one. However, many of my students come to school unable to read or are reading well below grade level.  In order to improve students' comprehension, they must be able to read fluently first.  There are many strategies that will teach students how to read fluently. Obviously, the best thing a child can do is spend time everyday reading. That may not always be enough, so I created a list of 5 Helpful Activities to Teach Fluency!

Below you will find my 5 Helpful Activities to Teach Fluency, rated from my least to most favorite activity.  This is by no means a complete list. Hopefully, it will give you some new strategies and techniques that you can try with your classroom.

* Disclaimer:  Please note that this post contains some affiliate links that, if you click on the product, I will receive compensation at no cost to you.

5 - Microphones

Students love to hear themselves speak! One thing I use are Echo Mics. These microphones allow students to feel like they are on stage as they read a poem or story. There is also the feedback that students get that makes microphones more effective than reading in their heads or aloud without a microphone.

If you are fancier than me, you may be more inclined to try an actual wireless microphone (seen below). I know those are a hot commodity now. Too bad I am old school! Either way students can listen to themselves.


I also use the microphones to have my students practice their punctuation.  Instead of singing the abc's, I have my students practice saying them with the accent on different punctuation. (Stay tuned to the end for a FREEBIE with these punctuation practice pages!)

4 - Apps and Websites to Use

There are tons of resources out there, both for students and for the teachers. Here are just a few of my favorites! 

  • FCRR - This is a completely free website from the Florida Center of Reading Research. There are tons of printable games/activities to teach fluency. Just choose your grade level. Then look at the categories. Print the materials and use them in class tomorrow. Bonus - They have games and activities for all other reading areas too (comprehension, vocabulary, etc.)!
  • MobyMax - This is technically free, but I like the paid version since there are so many extras (talk your principal into getting it). I have my students work on their sight words and phonics. It definitely makes a difference!
  • Epic! - Get your students reading with these books. Create an account that is free for teachers! This allows you to create a classroom. Students can read the books free during the school day. Please note: It locks students out after school. They make their money by selling subscriptions to the parents. In school though, you will have doubled or tripled your classroom library for students.

  3 - Reader's Theater

Readers' Theater is a bit different from a full out performance of a play. It does give students a chance to practice different voices and act as various characters. I like how there is no pressure with Readers' Theater. The goal is having students read the words on the scripts, not memorize them. Because of this, students reread parts until they have developed fluency in reading (at least for these scripts). Every little bit helps.


2 - Fluency Through Music

This is definitely my favorite activity!  Before I moved to a new domain name, I wrote an entire blog post on just this subject.  Let me summarize the highlights.

Each week (or at least most weeks), we practice reading through a song. (I am very particular about the songs I chose. I like ones that convey positive messages like Lean On Me and What a Wonderful World.) I give my students a set of lyrics and we sing the song a few times. From time to time, we will turn it into a Musical Big Book and add it to our classroom library.

If you want to read more about Fluency Through Music, click the pic above to be taken to the full blog post. I also include more FREEBIES here!

1 - Read, Read, Read!

You may want a shortcut, but the truth is, in order to improve fluency in your students, they need time to READ!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough! In the past, I wanted to give time to my students to read. Unfortunately, I always pushed it to the end of our reading block figuring I needed to get everything in and didn't have time for it.

Now, I schedule it right in the middle of our reading block so it never gets missed. I do a lot of mini lessons while teaching reading. This breaks up the big chunk of time into smaller, more manageable pieces. 

Even though I require my students to read every night, I am honest in knowing that it doesn't always happen. At least getting students to read in school forces them to read each day. It also encourages students to continue at night, because they get sucked into a story. 

I hope the above gave you a few ideas of how you can help your students improve their fluency. Do you have any of your own suggestions?  If so, comment below.  I would love to hear them!

Did you think I forgot? I have an additional FREEBIE for you (apart from the ones sprinkled throughout this post)! Subscribe below to get access to this freebie. 

With the microphones, I have my students practice reading the alphabet with the highlight being the punctuation. There are two different sizes and come in color and black/white. I also like these for a warm-up in my Guided Reading groups.

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Looking for more reading resources? Check these out:


Fluency skills are necessary in developing strong readers! This blog post contains numerous teaching strategies and FREEBIES that can be used in class tomorrow! These strategies are perfect for all age groups from Kindergarten level through Upper Elementary students. Suggested activities work well for centers, small group, or whole group teaching. Your struggling readers will soar in no time! {Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Graders}

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