Fluency Practice Ideas That Are Actually Fun

In early education classrooms, fluency is a major part of the reading curriculum.

In order to comprehend text, students must be able to read with speed and accuracy. If they are unable to read fluently, they can become so focused on decoding or recalling words that they will lose the meaning of the text. When reading out loud, fluency also becomes an important part of conveying meaning to the listeners.

So- how can teachers provide effective instruction in fluency in their already cramped schedules? Read on for some of my favorite strategies! 

One of the easiest ways to increase fluency is by re-reading passages.

As students become more familiar with a text, they can add speed and expression to their reading. This strategy is important to introduce in the early grades so students will become comfortable with re-reading as texts become longer and more difficult.

A similar tool for teaching fluency is to use small phrases that children can read, re-read, and add onto. Once they are able to recognize the short phrase as one unit, they can add more words to make complex sentences. Again, repeated reading of the same phrases will increase speed, accuracy, and confidence. 

Another tool in my fluency arsenal is the use of homonyms.

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, a bat is an animal or a piece of sports equipment. Helping students recognize homonyms will not only improve their fluency but increase their comprehension. I like to use a “word web” with the target homonym in the middle. Then, as a class or independently, students can add words to the web that connect to the different meanings. Keeping the word webs for review later is a great way for students to increase their recognition of homonyms in later texts. 

Perhaps the most fun way to increase fluency skills is with reader’s theater.

Children are able to read and re-read their parts before “performing” the script. They can improve their speed, accuracy, and especially expression in doing so. As they read along with a group, they can hear their peers reading with fluency as well. It’s a lot of fun to perform short scripts in front of the class, and provides an opportunity for students to become comfortable speaking in front of a group. 

Are you ready to use all of the strategies in your kindergarten or first-grade class? Grab my Reading Fluency Activities today and your entire school year of fluency lessons will be ready!

This bundle includes sentence building worksheets, word webs, mini-books, and reader’s theater scripts for each week of the year. It also includes fluency assessments so you can track what your students are learning. Using these activities weekly will lead to fluent readers who are confident in their skills!

fluency

Looking for more reading strategies? Check out my post here! 

What are your favorite activities for fluency practice? Let me know in the comments!

fluency


 

Sight Word Center Ideas That Students Will Actually Love

All teachers of early elementary students can tell you that sight words are a huge part of their reading curriculum. What exactly are they? Sight words are words that children should be able to recognize instantly without sounding them out. They are common words found in many texts, and students become very familiar with them. However, they can often be tricky to read and spell since many do not follow common patterns.

Sights words are essential for learning to read with fluency and confidence. Flashcards are a common way to practice sight words, but fortunately, there are other (more fun!) ways as well. 

Centers are a perfect way for students to practice skills in the elementary classroom. Children benefit from working in small groups, as they learn how to collaborate and solve problems as a team. Teachers also benefit from the opportunity to work with small groups or individual students while the rest of the class is engaged in centers. Younger students can move between different activities during centers, keeping them engaged as they learn. Sight words centers are an ideal tool to increase your student’s knowledge of sight words!

There are hundreds of centers you can create to practice sight words, and many are very simple. For example, rainbow words are a fun way to practice writing their words. You can use many different mediums, such as watercolors, markers, or colored pencils. Students write each of the words in different colors. For the youngest students, they can use different colors to trace the words.

 Another option for a center is using magnets to build sight words. A simple cookie sheet provides a tray for students to work on, and they can manipulate the letters to make their words. For a little more sensory play, you can have students create their words with play-doh, then read them to each other. This activity also builds finger strength, which is great for handwriting skills. 

Looking for some no-prep sight word center activities to add to your rotation? I’ve got you! 

These Sight Word Worksheets are perfect for kindergarten students to complete independently during sight word centers.

sight word center

The bundle includes 40 pages of sight word practice that can be used in clear pouches for dry-erase activities, or printed for pencil and paperwork. 

sight word center

Another sight word center option is the Reading Comprehension Passages and Questions resource.

sight word center

This digital learning bundle includes over 90 pages of sight word practice as students find the words, answer questions, and more. The activities are completed in Google Drive, making it a perfect fit for a computer center or as a distance learning activity.

sight word center

 

Love these center ideas? Check out these math center ideas! 

I hope your students love these center ideas! What is your favorite way to work on sight words? Let me know in the comments!


 

How To Have Fun With Phonics

Phonics are an important part of early reading instruction, and therefore a big part of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Making connections between written and spoken letters and sounds is absolutely necessary in learning to read, so phonics lessons are well worth the time! In order to teach young students most effectively, a broad range of activities are needed. Children love variety, and luckily there are plenty of ways to teach phonics! 

Learning the relationships between letters and sounds can be- well- a not so interesting topic. In order to keep kids excited and learning, teachers can incorporate fun activities. Phonics lessons can include a broad range of styles, so there are lots of options when choosing the best activities for your class. 

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching phonics. 

One of the easiest, yet most effective strategies is to use songs! Jack Hartmann phonics songs are easily available on the web, and your students will love singing along while they are learning. 

Another fun activity is frog hop blending. Students can move a toy frog (or a finger) along individual sounds, then blend them together to make a word. 

Make and take books are a perfect option to practice phonics skills and word families at home. Students can create the books at school and practice reading the sounds at home. Throughout the year, you may choose to focus on different word families that the kids can read to their parents. 

As students become more skilled with phonics, you may want to try word building and sentence building activities. They can use familiar letter sounds to create new words, and eventually create entire sentences. 

Looking for a variety of phonics activities for daily use? I have you covered! Check out my Phonics Worksheets for Kindergarten and First Grade

phonics

This bundle includes an entire year’s worth of daily lessons. 

Here are just a few of the resources included: 

  • letter identification 
  • letter sounds
  • building words
  • word family work
  • building sentences
  • writing stories 
  • Sight word lists
  • ABC letter cards
  • Word family books
  • Phonics pocket phones

phonics

With one easy download you’ll be ready to tackle these lessons each day with time-tested strategies.

For more reading strategies, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite reading activities? Let me know in the comments!

phonics

 


 

How to Celebrate Read Across America

Read Across America  (RAA) always falls on Theodor Geisel’s birthday without coincidence.  The goal was to create a day to motivate children to read and to celebrate the joys of reading. RAA has been linked to the classic Dr. Seuss books for years with schools dressing up as characters, sharing his work, and cooking green eggs and ham. Ever since Dr. Seuss has been linked to major criticism with allegations that The Cat in the Hat and other Seuss books are racist, the National Education Association let loose of Seuss.  They want all kids to see themselves in popular culture.  Now they are celebrating reading with diverse books during the event.

Even though a child who might bring in their favorite Dr. Seuss book to share with their classmates on their “Show and Tell” day should never be discouraged to share their love of a book, change can be good! This post is not to bash or support Dr. Seuss. Educators are trained professionals and should be trusted to use what is best for their students to promote reading with students. I personally used his work in the past to teach positive lessons about inclusion, social justice, and responsibility for years. However, I encourage you to look and listen to both viewpoints before you move forward with your reading week celebrations to form an intelligent conclusion about what types of books should be included in your week.

Read Across America Dress Up Day Ideas

Everyone loves to include dress-up days during the reading week.  Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Dress for Success
  • Rainbow Day (Reading is Colorful… Diverse books)
  • Hat Day
  • Camouflage Day (read books about animals)
  • Neon Day (Reading makes you BRIGHT… Science books)
  • Wacky Day (Wear clothes backward, mismatched, crazy hair)
  • Character Day (Dress up like your favorite book character)
  • Pajama Poem Day
  • Wax Museum Biography Dress Up Day

Magic School Bus

FRESH Read Across America Activities

My favorite reading celebration activity now is to have a Book Tasting!
This is where students get to read a little (a taste) of different book genres.  You can use any books you have access to from the library.  Students read them for a few minutes and then switch to a different genre.  This does require a little prep to set up the room to look like a restaurant, but this resource can help you out! It is a fun escape room with the book tasting! You can have it low key with the printed placemat or go all fancy with students dressing nice and you dressing up as a hostess or waiter.

Book Tasting Escape Room

Wacky Week Ideas

Do you love Wacky Wednesday? Why not do a whole WACKY week of reading activities?

For math, have wacky reading word problems to solve. Invite students to create a wacky animal with different animal parts.  Then, they can write about their animal with details. Using any rhyming book, have students create a wacky rhyme. Use mystery pictures of hidden objects that are out of place for students to find. Make a day of Where is Wacky Waldo and share those books. Mess your room up with an upside-down clock or socks sticking out of the tissue box, see if the kids even notice during the week.

Try a Wacky Digital Escape with your students! This one has riddles, puzzles, hidden pictures in art, and non-sense word activities. If you are virtual, let them wear their favorite wacky hat while they do the escape.

March Themed Activities

Finding reading resources that are March-themed can be used with any book during the week.  You can do a reading Write the Room activity with words like library, spine, characters, fiction, etc…  Rhyming words, nonsense words, St. Patrick’s Day-themed activities in any subject area can inspire reading across curricular.  Students can take a reading pledge and get certificates or bookmarks to encourage reading. March is a great time to introduce reading about hot air balloons.  The season for hot air balloon rides runs from April to October. Kids are fascinated with them!  Curious Gorge has a book about hot air balloons.  Others include The Great Balloon Hullaballoo, The Noon Balloon, The sky Above my Eyes, and My Hot Air Balloon.

Free Reading Pledge Printables

Some teachers use a circus theme in primary grades to promote reading during the week celebration.  Their activities included books about animals, popcorn, snacks during reading/writing time, animal and clown crafts, guest story readers, dress-up clown day, Write the Room activities where students look for book titles, and ended with a reading carnival with prizes and games.

elephant hatElephant Hat – Never Forget Reading Rocks

What’s the Point?

The purpose of having Read Across America is to get your students reading! Not just to read, but to enjoy it, love it, and want MORE! Whatever theme you choose, make sure you are sharing your joy of reading books with your students.  Then, watch them grow.

Grab a FREE Reading Pledge and bookmarks

Read more about using Theme Days to Teach in Elementary

Let us know what activities you will be doing to encourage reading!