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Struggling with Fluency

If you have students struggling with fluency, you are not alone! There are many aspects to fluency and it’s important to narrow down what area is causing the student’s difficulties with fluency. Read on for ideas on how to help students struggling with the accuracy aspect of fluency.


One aspect of fluency that needs to be focused on is accuracy. Students need to read with accuracy which means that they are paying attention to each word read and making sure it makes sense. Accuracy is when a student focuses on decoding. Students need to be aware when they’ve decoded a word incorrectly. If it is incorrect, they need to self correct and attempt to decode the word again.

How can students improve their accuracy?

Students can improve their accuracy by focusing on improving their ability to decode words with different phonics patterns. By focusing on each phonics concept first, they’ll build their knowledge of individual word parts. They can then apply this to reading words, sentences, and texts. 

A focus on phonics should be done in isolation first. Word work should be focused specifically on areas that need improvement. Students can then move up to phrases and sentences that include words with the same phonics concepts they’re practicing.  


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Accuracy within Texts

As a follow up, students can then focus on improving their accuracy within texts. Students can use reading passages or books that are at their independent reading level. It is important to use texts in the independent range for each student so that they aren’t overly challenged by the words they’re decoding. An instructional or frustration level text would be too difficult. Instead, the student would be struggling too much through each word, when the focus should be on decoding accuracy. 


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using classroom assessments

You can find where a student can start for their accuracy fluency focus by using classroom assessments. A student’s independent reading level can be found from recent running record scores, or benchmark assessment scores. These assessments should provide you with an instructional reading level for the student. You can then go one level below that instructional level for their independent level. 

If you don’t use running records, you can then use a phonics screener. This will give you an idea of phonics skills the student has already mastered and skills they need to improve. 

You can then begin at the word level, using words that match that reading level, or phonics concepts. These words can then be put into short phrases and sentences. The sentences should use high frequency words the student already knows, as well as a few of the words they need to work on decoding accurately. After they’ve done well with this, students should have the chance to decode similar words and sentences in reading fluency texts, or passages

If you need more tips for fluency, I’ve got a post all about fluency for you!

Aylin Claahsen

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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