Practicing and Self-Evaluating Reading Fluency

Support students to practice reading fluently, assess their own fluency, and then reflect on it with their teacher
89 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

The Fluency Self-Evaluation Assessment strategy is a strategy to help students evaluate their reading fluency while feeling safe and supported. In this strategy, students record themselves reading and then listen to the recording while evaluating their fluency using a student-friendly fluency evaluation tool. By affording students the opportunity to record themselves, students and teachers can do a deeper dive into areas of improvement with a specific goal in mind.

Choral Reading to Practice Reading Fluency

Brenna Mahoney
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

Choral reading is a strategy that teachers can use to allow students to practice their reading fluency. During choral reading, students read aloud in unison, typically as a group, but students may also read individual lines alone or in pairs. The teacher leads and models pace, pronunciation, and prosody. Reading aloud can sometimes cause anxiety, and this activity relieves the pressure of individually reading aloud.  For older students, it is also a useful strategy for reading directions, poetry, and even Shakespeare. 

Implementation steps:

  1. Choose an appropriate story, poem, article, etc. for choral reading. Make sure the selected text is accessible. Select a text that will lend itself to a read aloud by considering rhyme, rhythm, intonation, and vocabulary. Keep your selection short, and one that can be read multiple times so as to increase fluency skills.

  2. Before starting, allow all students to preview the text. This can be done by the teacher modeling the reading aloud or the students reading aloud or silently to themselves. If you'd like individual students or pairs to read specific lines, let them know ahead of time.

  3. Read aloud together! The teacher should see him/herself as the conductor and the class is the chorus. 

  4. Choral reading can be even more interactive by using the following strategies: 

    • play with pace (fast/slow), sound (loud/soft), and voices (low/high). 

    • use clapping, stomping, and movement to get students to emphasize words and phrases. 

Implementation Steps for Fluency Self-Evaluation Assessment

20 minutes
Juan Matos
BetterLesson Instructional Coach
  1. Create a Fluency Self-Evaluation Assessment chart or rubric for students to use as they assess their own fluency. See the resource section below for an example.

  2. Begin by explaining the four areas of reading fluency and why they are important:

    • Accuracy - Did I read the words correctly?

    • Rate - Did I read the words at a rate that sounds like speech?

    • Expression - Did I read with emotion and not sound rehearsed or robotic?

    • Punctuation - Did I follow all of the punctuation marks as I read the text?

  3. Read and model a short excerpt while intentionally making reading fluency mistakes. Have students identify and explain what mistakes the teacher committed. Ask for suggestions to improve.

  4. Create a one-on-one conferencing schedule to discuss with students their reading fluency self-assessment. Students can bring their pre-recorded reading or they can read aloud and record along with the teacher. To learn more about conferencing with students, consult the "Individual Student Conferences with Teacher" strategy.

  5. Give students the chance to write out their next steps to improve their fluency, and use it as a starting point for the next conference.

Special Education Modification

Nedra Massenburg
Special Education Specialist

Strategies like fluency self-evaluation assessments support students with disabilities by providing a safe, structured opportunity to develop reflection and assessment skills and to help them identify both areas of success and growth needed in their reading fluency.

Fluency self-evaluations require significant executive functioning skills (task initiation, prioritization, working memory, etc.), and reading skills.  In order to support students with disabilities who have difficulty in these areas, consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Use structured handouts that help learners with task initiation as well as provide clear benchmarks (bolded words, bulleted lists) to assess task completion in their evaluation. See the "Modified Kid-Friendly Fluency Rubric" in the resource section below.
  2. Use visual timers and verbal reminders for each part of the reflection process to help students with task initiation and task completion. As an example, a teacher may say, “Now you will have one minute to complete your assessment of your phrasing on your fluency self-evaluation.  After the timer for one minute goes off, I will ask everyone to complete your assessment of your rate on your fluency self-evaluation.” 

  3. Depending upon the number and type of students with disabilities present in a classroom, teachers should consider increasing the amount of time they spend on explicitly teaching the definition of reading fluency.  Classrooms with students with very intense reading disabilities may consider focusing on growth in two areas of fluency before building up to all four areas of self-evaluation. 
  4. If multiple teachers are present in a setting, consider having one teacher work with a small group of students with disabilities to provide them more modeling and more frequent feedback on progress toward their goals.  Teachers should also consider having more frequent celebrations for progress towards goals shown by students with more intensive disabilities.

EL Modification

Shannon Coyle
English Learner Specialist

This strategy provides English learners an excellent opportunity to practice fluency alongside their native English speaking peers. Choral reading is an important part of developing fluent English skills. 

English learners are required to listen to and discuss feedback as well as read fluency work text. In order to support English Learners consider the following modifications:

Modifications:

  1. Explicitly pre-teach fluency vocabulary. Ensure learners understand the components of fluency they will see in their rubrics: accuracy, rate, expression, and punctuation. Consider translating words into home languages for learners at lower proficiency levels. 
  2. Preview rubric for English learners. Use rubrics with prominent visuals, e.g., using rating systems that use pictorial scales, e.g., smiley faces, as self-evaluation systems rather than detailed narrative descriptions. Model fluency that matches each rating. Keep in mind and remind learners that pronunciation and fluency are different skills, e.g., learners may mispronounce words but have read them with expression and at an appropriate rate. Consult with learners’ language specialist to determine appropriate expectations of learners based on their language proficiency level and feedback from learners’ language specialist.
  3. Provide supplemental fluency practice between evaluations. English learners may benefit from more or different fluency practice routines. See the resources in the resource section below for more information.

Coach Tips

Juan Matos
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

Reading out loud can be challenging for students, they might feel shy or embarrassed. Start with an engaging text and get into character to read along with students.

Having a schedule of conferences posted on a wall can help dispel student anxiety about reading and meeting one-on-one with a teacher.

Use one of the tech tools to archive students' reading out loud. This can later be part of their portfolio and can also be shared with families in order to encourage students and display their growth. Or, if you are looking to flip your classroom, use one of the tech tools so that students can record their reading from home or during an enrichment period.

Tech Tools

Seesaw

  • Seesaw allows for the documentation of artifacts, audio, video, and writing that can easily be shared with an entire class or with parents as students build their seesaw portfolio. Seesaw can also be used as a class discussion tool via its blog feature.

  • Use Seesaw to record students' reading sessions, play them back for feedback and also set up a portfolio.

Flipgrid

  • Flipgrid is a video discussion platform great for generating class discussion around topics, videos, or links posted to the class grid. Students can video record their responses to share with the teacher or class.

  • Set up Flipgrid and students can record the video of their reading sessions and upload them to the class.

Vocaroo

  • Vocaroo is a simple website that allows audio to be recorded through a computer's speakers. Recordings can be downloaded or shared through email.

  • Set up Vocaroo and students can record the video of their reading sessions and upload them to the class.

Related Lessons

  • Explore the "Rising to the Challenge: Increasing Fluency and Tracking Progress" lesson by 4th Grade ELA Master Teacher teacher Jody Barnes included in the resources below to see how students can also help one another improve their reading fluency.

  • Explore the "Poetry: Reading Fluently" lesson by 3rd Grade ELA Master Teacher Jennifer Martinez included in the resources below to see how the this strategy can be used when reading poetry.

  • Explore the "Long i" lesson by 1st Grade Master Teacher Regan Aymett included in the resources below to see how using visual aids can help students improve their fluency.

  • Explore the "Students At Work" lesson by 5th grade Master Teacher Dana Patton to see how her students engage in fluency self-evaluation during a station rotation.

  • Explore the "Listen!" lesson by 1st grade BetterLesson Master Teacher Mariana Robles included in the resources below to see a no-tech way for students to evaluate their own fluency if video is not available in your classroom.