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Easy to Use Printable 3rd Grade Reading Fluency Passages

 Everyone wants fluent readers in their classroom, so today I’m going to share some amazing Printable 3rd Grade Reading Fluency Passages with you! These resources are one of my favorites because they target all aspects of fluency and are accompanied by comprehension questions.  They are truly the best way to practice fluency.  And third grade is such a great time to practice fluency, because more and more students are spending less time decoding.  

As I’ve said before, fluency is the bridge that students cross to get from decoding a text to actually being able to read for meaning.  When a child spends less of their time decoding and more of their time reading fluently, they actually “free up” space in their brain so they can comprehend what they’re reading. And it’s our job as their teachers to help them cross that bridge and make them fluent readers.  These Printable 3rd Grade Reading Fluency Passages are a great way to help with fluency skills.  Let’s take a look!

Printable 3rd Grade Reading Fluency Passages

You’re going to want to keep these printable 3rd grade reading fluency passages in an easy place to grab in your classroom, because they’re packed with so much fluency practice! These fluency passages are available in fictionnonfiction, and a digital set up for Google Classroom.  The best part about these fluency passages is that they come with comprehension questions.  It’s simply not enough to hand a third grader a fluency reading passage and call it quits after they read it smoothly.  Students must  learn to comprehend what they’re reading and uncover a text’s meaning.  Let’s chat a bit about why focusing on comprehension with fluency is so important. 

Fluency is more than just reading with expression, accuracy, and at a good pace – it’s being able to comprehend what we read.  As teachers, it’s easy to get ultra focused on letter sounds, phonics, and vocabulary.  Who can blame us? Those are such important aspects of reading and students can’t grow into mature readers without them.  But we must come back to the overarching goal: to have students comprehend what they’re reading so that they can be true, real world readers.  That’s why I included comprehension questions with these fluency passages, so that our third graders can practice understanding the meaning of the text while becoming fluent readers. 

Comprehension questions are a great way to test students’ ability to understand the text.  With these passages, students are encouraged to write a written comprehension portion that allows them to think deeply about the text.  These are much more than “right there” comprehension questions, as they encourage students to think outside the box and work on their reading comprehension skills.

Here’s what you’ll get when you download these Printable 3rd grade reading fluency passages:

  • 15 fluency passages for students who are reading at a 3rd grade level (levels N-P)

  • These passages also come in a variety of formats (color vs black and white)

  • Fluency folder cover

  • Fluent reader reminder posters and mini posters

  • Data tracking pages

  • Fluent reader awards


Quick Fluency Assessments

Let’s go over why all of these are important.  When you download one (or all!) of these printable 3rd grade reading fluency passages, you’ll see that these are perfect for quick fluency assessments or to work on fluency in small groups and literacy centers.  Your lesson plan is already set for you as your make your fluency intervention binders!  What’s more, students will get fluency practice in a variety of genres and formats, including fictionnonfiction, and an electronic version for  Google Classroom.  

Applying Fluency Knowledge

One of the reasons I created these fluency reading passages is so that your 3rd graders can have practice reading in a variety of genres and contexts.  When readers are exposed to various genres and formats of text, it helps them engage readers either in areas of interest or in areas to which they’re not often exposed.  Focusing on fluency in different genres and formats gives them a chance to apply their fluency knowledge in all sorts of different ways.  This, in turn, helps them develop their fluency skills because they’re exposed to a variety of text structures.  And, of course, this gives them a chance to hone their comprehension skills.

Because this resource equips you with passages and materials to support your lesson, all of these will prepare you for quick, grab-and-go fluency practice on a daily basis.  They’re perfect to use in small groups, literacy centers, independent activities intervention groups, or to send home to third graders who need the extra practice.  One of my main goals with these fluency passages was to make this easy for you and effective for your kiddos.  Simply swap out the actual texts used and continue using this resource all year long, knowing you’re setting your 3rd grade students up for fluent reading success – without all the prep!  These fluency passages are a great way for 3rd grade readers to improve all aspects of fluency (accuracy, pace, expression, smoothness, and meaning) – with a specific focus on improving the number of words read in a minute.  Not to mention, comprehension!

Fluency Drills to Improve Fluency Skills

focus on fluency during your read aloud

Of course, some of your third graders won’t be quite ready to tackle these passages just yet.  And that’s normal – each third grade class will have a variety of reading skills.  For these struggling readers, it’s best to give them additional fluency activities.  Let’s go over what some of those activities are so that we can best help our struggling readers.

  • Choral reading is one of the best ways to model good fluency, and one of the most helpful fluency drills for students struggling in oral fluency.  During a choral reading, teachers (or other students) model good fluency by reading with smoothness, inflection, and at a good pace.  For this drill, it’s best to choose a short passage not only for our struggling readers, but so that everyone can keep their attention and feel successful.  Choose a reader’s theater passage or a passage from your classroom’s favorite book!  Both choices are great for choral reading.

  • Partner reading is another great way to incorporate an effective fluency drill into your classroom.  During this drill, it’s best to pair up an advanced reader with a struggling reader so good fluency can be modeled for them.  With this drill, it’s okay to give the advanced reader a longer passage to read aloud.  In turn, give a shorter passage to the student who needs a bit more help.  With partner reading, the struggling readers can sometimes feel intimidated.  Ensure that each reader has a passage that’s at their level and they can feel confident with as they read out loud to their partner.  This will give your struggling readers a chance to shine, too!

  • Read alouds continue to be one of the best ways to model fluency.  This drill is simple, timeless, and brings togetherness to your classroom.  Grab a favorite book of your class that’s at their grade level and sit down on the carpet to read and model fluency.  For read alouds, there’s no need to focus on all aspects of fluency.  Choose one or two and then focus on those.  For example, if you’re noticing that your students need more practice with pace and inflection, have them specifically listen for the rate at which you’re reading and how you add new voices to the characters.  Similarly, you can also choose at this point to read super fast or super slow to show them non-examples of fluency.  Sometimes this helps just as much – and helps weave some humor into the lesson as well!

  • With any of these choices, struggling students will benefit from a little scaffolding.  For all of these drills, the best way to go about them is to start off small. While choral reading, partner reading, or during read alouds, begin with sentences.  Then, once students get the hang of reading these small sentences fluently, slowly graduate to reading a shorter passage.  This will instill confidence in readers and also give them a chance to be successful.  Attainable goals like this are vital to reading success and oral fluency.  For some added practice, it’s always a good idea to toss in some non-fiction passages as well.  This can work to your advantage because you can pick and choose certain topics struggling readers are interested in, like life science, sports, and more!

Free Fluency Passages for 3rd Grade

Feeling like you want a little peek before you purchase the entire set?  Take a look at my free fluency passages for Kindergarten to 2nd grade!  If you’re an upper elementary teacher, snag my free fluency passages for 3rd to 5th graders here! When you’re choosing fluency passages for your students, ensure that the passages are at the independent reading level so that your students don’t become easily frustrated.  Because they’re trying to improve their fluency skills, it’s important these passages aren’t too difficult for them.

3rd grade is such a magical time because students are really coming into their own on their reading journey.  As teachers, we can enjoy and capitalize on their reading interest by sharpening their fluency skills. These Printable 3rd Grade Reading Fluency Passages are going to be a great addition to any fluency unit you’ve already got – or a great place to start!

reading fluency passages for upper elementary
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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