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Assessing Fluency

It’s important that you are accurately assessing fluency of all your readers. This can be done frequently, in a simple way, as part of your daily classroom routines. It is important to assess fluency regularly so you can ensure students are making progress in all aspects of fluency. 

The Aspects of fluency

There are multiple aspects of fluency that you can assess in your classroom. It’s important to not only work on these aspects, but also to assess improvements made. 

What are the aspects of fluency?

  • Reading with accuracy.
  • Reading with expression. 
  • Reading smoothly.
  • Reading at a natural pace.
  • Reading for meaning.

Since these are such major areas of reading, it’s important that students are working to improve their fluent reading skills. Assessing fluency as students work on it will also provide insight to specific areas they need to improve. It may not be all aspects of fluency, but rather just one specific area, which will become evident when assessing fluency. 


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assessing fluency

Use Passages to Assess Fluency

You can use reading passages to assess fluency. With my reading fluency passages, you can assess students all aspects of fluency.

Each passage includes a section for:

  • accuracy score and errors, or self corrects
  • student self assessment
  • student goal setting
  • comprehension questions 
This ensures that students can focus on all aspects of fluency as they practice with these passages. You can then assess all these areas of fluency when working one-on-one. 

How do you use the fluency passages as an assessment tool?

  1. Students have the colorful passage page in front of them.
  2. The teacher who is doing the assessing, has the black and white passage. 
  3. You set the timer for one minute. Once the timer begins, the student begins reading. 
  4. The teacher marks any errors on their copy. I recommend writing the errors above each word. 
  5. When the minute is up, the teacher checks how many words were read total by referring to the provided number at the end of each line. If a student didn’t finish a line, the teacher simply counts back from the provided number to match where the student stopped.
  6. Then the teacher subtracts any errors made. Self corrects do NOT count as errors.
  7. That score is then written down next to the first reading space. You can also list it on the provided tracking sheet for all the passages.
  8. The student can then practice reading that passage a few times, in a fluency center, or during independent reading time. This is their chance to work on improving their score, before reading with the teacher again. 
  9. The teacher then repeats the above steps two more times, with the same passage. 
  10. Students will mark the self assessment with regard to their fluency and make a fluency goal, as well. 
  11. The student can then complete the comprehension questions, following the final reading. The teacher should have the student read the entire passage before completing the comprehension questions. These questions can also be done verbally, by the teacher, if time allows.


Independent fluency work

These reading passages can also be used for independent fluency work. If students are working on their own, or in fluency centers, they can set their own timer for a minute. They will then assess how far they can read, making note of how many words were read, based on the number at the end of the line. Students shouldn’t be expected to mark their errors. The independent activity is simply a chance for students to improve their reading pace, reading expression, and reading smoothness. Students can also respond to the comprehension questions, assuming they’ve gotten far enough along in the text. Checking the accuracy should be done with an adult, as mentioned above. 

If you want to make this even more engaging for students, here are some more tools for fluency!


Free Reading Fluency Passages and Activities for 1st Grade
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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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