How I Teach Fluency In The Classroom

How I Teach Fluency In The Classroom

I have been getting many questions about how I teach fluency in the classroom since the release of my Zoofluency and my Winter Animals Fluency! Here’s is how I run it in my class. If you have any tips I haven’t included, I would LOVE to hear them!

Fluency Activities and organization in the classroom- how to set up and work out fluency in the primary classroom

Organize Paperwork in Binders or Folders

When I do my fluency, I run it during small group. This way, I know that the other students not working with me are on task and engaged with their learning. My small groups are split up into leveled groups. I used colored manila folders for each kid and kept their graphs and stories in the folders. Another option is to use colored binders for each group.

Fluency Activities and organization in the classroom- how to set up and work out fluency in the primary classroom

Each student will get a cover sheet and two fluency graphs. What I do when keeping data, I mark ‘cold reads’ in blue and ‘hot reads’ in red. This makes it easier for them to see their jumps and gains in fluency.

One time only, you will need to print:

  • Student binder covers (if you choose binders or manila folders)
  • Nonfiction Graph
  • Fiction Graph

Each week, you will need:

  • ONE student version in a page protector or laminated
  • Class set of Teacher Version so you can do the fluency codes for each kiddo
  • Comprehension questions for each student

*Tip- Put the comprehension question on the BACK of the story so that they can prove where they found their answer by highlighting. Text evidence is a very important skill.**

My week of fluency in a nut shell:

  • Always done in small group for me.
  • Monday: Cold read one student at a time. Then, code and record.
  • Tuesday: Partner read for 2 minutes during Read to Someone time.
  • Wednesday: Lesson text evidence and comprehension. Now is a time to answer questions as a group or independently based on their learning levels.
  • Thursday and Friday- Hot reads one student at a time

Rotate between Fiction Stories and Nonfiction stories every other week, unless you are focusing on a nonfiction unit or a fiction unit and the passages match your unit.

Cold Read Score

In small group, assign students an independent or partner activity while you test the students one at a time. Each student will get one minute. Then, they will record their cold read score on their graph in blue.

Before students are exposed to practicing the text, get their score as a ‘cold read’ so that they can see their growth by the end of the week.

I only graph their first and last read on this graph.

Their mid-week reads can be recorded on the teacher copy of the story.

Coding tips:

  • / Slash through a word if they miss it
  • / with an “SC” at the top of the word if they miss it, but self correct it. This means it is no longer incorrect.
  • ] Bracket around the word they last read

After one minute, put a bracket around the last word they read. Count the words they got incorrect. Subtract it from the words they read in one minute. There is their total Words Per Minute, or WPM.

Give them time to practice with their partners. Instead of taking any small group time, this can be done in a center rotation or during Read to Someone.

Try using timers with your students. Teaching them how to start the timer when their partner and ending at one minute makes it more engaging for both!

Second read time!

Personally, in my classroom, my mid-week check was always done by a volunteer mom or a 5th grader who could come down to help. I don’t think I could record my 2nd read every week without these volunteers. So, if you’re short on the extra help, try just the cold and hot read twice a week.

Make it more than just fluency! Make sure they’re including their comprehension skills, too. A few groups would work through these questions along with me, while other groups could work on the comprehension questions independently. My struggling readers and I would work through these questions together. My high groups would work on them independently. They would highlight the sentences in the text that helped them find their answers, too.

And finally… HOT READ!

In small group, assign students an independent partner activity while you test the kids one at a time. Each student gets one minute and they record their fluency score on the graph in read. Then, you can conference on growth and non-growth.


Fluency doesn’t have to be limited to hot reads and cold reads. I make sure that my students have a daily center focused on fluency! It’s how I teach fluency in the classroom.

Here are fluency packs for your classroom!

Also, check out my post on Fantastic Fluency Tools for more ideas on how I teach fluency in the classroom.


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