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The 5 Best 2nd Grade Reading Fluency Activities

A focus on fluency has so many benefits, so I’m excited to share the 5 best 2nd grade reading fluency activities that you can incorporate into your classroom right away.  The reason I’m extra excited for this is because fluency is not only my jam, but I firmly believe in its importance.  These 5 2nd grade reading fluency activities are a great way (and easy!) to incorporate into your second grade classroom. By incorporating these five activities, you’ll hear fluent reading ring through the walls of your second grade room in no time. 

read Aloud Fluency Activity

There is so much we can do to capitalize on our read aloud time. Read alouds are a great way to enhance students’ reading fluency in your second grade classroom!  During read alouds, as teachers we are able to model what good fluency looks like.  This is so important, because we know that modeling is one of the main ways kids learn. When we read with proper expression, at a good pace, and with accuracy, students hear what good fluency is supposed to look like.

When you first begin, grab the classroom’s favorite book and simply chat about the aspects of fluency.  Talk about how students should note that you’re reading with proper expression.  While reading, be sure to use different voices for the characters and use good inflection.  Discuss your pace and model how you won’t read too fast or too slow.  Note to the students how you’re able to do these things because you’re reading with accuracy. And finally, summarize the book for them at the end to show that, because you modeled good fluency, you’re able to comprehend the story at the end. Modeling fluent reading is a great way to incorporate 2nd grade reading fluency activities into your classroom.

Fluency Focus for Your Read Aloud

Read alouds can look like reading a few short children’s books or a longer chapter book you’re all reading together. No matter the text, focus on just one aspect of fluency at a time, whether it’s reading with appropriate expression or reading at an appropriate rate.  This way, students can hone in on one specific skill and listen for that one.  When second grade students are focusing on one aspect of reading fluency at a time, they’re better able to recognize when that aspect is or isn’t being modeled well. 

Modeling Fluency

And speaking of modeling, modeling how not to do something is also beneficial to students.  Perhaps you’ll read with improper expression, or at a pace that’s too slow.  Challenge students to call you out when this happens!  Throughout your reading, pause to discuss the fluency focus.  How does it sound?  What needs improving upon?  At the end, consider going back and doing a choral reading of a favorite page in the book.  Choral reading during a read aloud is helpful because it encourages second grade students to practice the aspect of fluency in a safe environment with their peers and guides. This way, they are able to actually feel what the aspect of fluency is like.  The same goes for echo reading – students simply repeat what you say. 

Writing Short Phrases and Sentences

best fluency activity for 2nd grade

While some students will be handed a reading passage and read through it with perfect smoothness, some students need more 2nd grade reading fluency activities to sharpen their skills.  Writing short phrases and sentences on strips is a great way to practice fluency with struggling students.

To begin, have students write short sentences on strips of paper (if you need a bit more scaffolding, begin with simple phrases like “by the tree” or “in the car.”).  

Then, pass out the sentence strips to each student. Since this activity works great with students who need extra practice, have them fold the strip in half to reveal only a phrase instead of the entire sentence.  This is a great way to scaffold to ensure that students’ reading fluency is successful and they feel confident. This will also teach them how to look for phrases.  

For example, if your sentence is “The boat will float by the brown dock”, fold the strip so that the words “The boat” are shown.  Students read this phrase, then reveal “will float.”  Students read this phrase, then reveal “by the brown dock.”  Students will then read it one more time, and this time, they’ll have already seen each word and will simply have to read it again.  This will help them read the sentence through a second time with fluent reading.  

Using Familiar Words

Whatever the sentence may be, ensure that they’re all words they’ve read before (like sight words they’re familiar with, or phonics skills they’ve previously learned or are currently learning). When you’re doing these 2nd grade reading fluency activities, you’ll want to be sure that all of the words they see are familiar to them. The best part about these sentence strips is that you’ll be able to tailor it to whatever your small group needs at that time.  

As they make their way through these, be sure to go over any sight words students may have trouble with.  You may also turn these into a passage by putting them all together at the end. This way, second grade students will have the opportunity to pay attention to the proper punctuation marks as well.  If you find yourself teaching different grade levels, this is an easy activity to differentiate – which is always a plus!

Repeated Readings

Cumulative review is so important when it comes to phonics and phonemic awareness and it’s so important when it comes to fluency as well.  We simply cannot just read one passage and then be done with it.  In fact, going back and doing repeated readings with your second grade students will greatly improve their fluency skills.  

Why does repeated reading work?  

Because when a student is familiar with a text, they’re able to focus on specific aspects of fluency.  Perhaps one of your second grade students has great expression and accuracy, but needs to work on pace.  He or she will have already been familiar with the text, so instead of figuring out words, they’ll be able to focus specifically on not going too fast or too slow.  The familiarity of the text opens up their cognitive space to therefore focus on a specific aspect of fluency and not figuring out the actual words on the page.  

Need fluency passages?  

I got you covered!  My Second Grade Reading Fluency Passages are a great way to practice this skill.  You not only get fluency passages, but each passage comes with comprehension questions at the end – yet another important aspect of fluency.  If you’re finding yourself between grade levels (some at the first grade level or some at the kidner level), never fear!  I’ve got my K-2 Reading Fluency Passages Bundle!  It’s my most popular bundle and for good reason.  

These fluency passages are a great way to teach your students that the goal of reading is not speed – it’s fluency!  When this happens, students are able to comprehend what they’re reading which is the essence of reading!  These passages come with comprehension questions that will help read for meaning and are perfect for your small group instruction.  These are also great pieces to send home with students so they can “show off” their fluency with family members and is a fun way to instill confidence!

Reader’s Theatre

All of these 2nd grade reading fluency activities are great, but Reader’s Theatre is a particularly great way to practice oral reading fluency because it’s FUN!  Because each student will have a part, this helps them feel important and confident.  And since each student will have the chance to read their part, students will get great fluency practice with reading out loud.  They will have to mind punctuation and read with expression since they’re reading for different characters!

Reader’s Theatre is also a great way to improve upon pace, smoothness, and phrasing – all in your whole group.  In the same breath, choral reading during this activity is also beneficial.  This is particularly beneficial for students who may need a bit more practice with fluency or aren’t as brave to read aloud to the class.  

This can also be a way for students to get familiar with the text before they read it out loud.  This not only builds their confidence, but makes the performance more exciting!  Feel free to use favorite books, nursery rhymes, or texts that they’re familiar with.  

While you’re at it, you may want to check out my Decodable Reader’s Theatre resource.  Why is this resource particularly awesome?  The fact that you can change the scripts based upon your students’ current phonics patterns focus!  This Reader’s Theatre resource is great for 2nd grade (especially for your struggling readers because they are sure to feel successful)!

Fluency Centers

Everyone loves a good literacy center, and fluency ones are no exception!  Repeated Readings make for a great center because of the familiarity to students and therefore independence with the text. All these resources work well in a fluency center: fluency passagesfluency poemsfluency toolkits. You can also try out my Seasonal Fluency Activities will help you have all kinds of fluency activities at the ready!  When you snag these resources, you can expect it to be perfect for literacy centers and small groups.  

These 2nd grade reading fluency activities will sharpen students’ skills in accuracy, expression, pace, smoothness, and comprehension. The fluency activities resources include comprehension questions, repeated readings, practice scooping phrases, reading nonsense phrases, and more.  

Free 2nd Grade Reading Fluency Activities

As you can see, there are so many different ways to incorporate fluency into your daily routine!  As always, I want to set you up for success as much as possible with your fluency instruction, so you know I love to offer you free resources!  For more fluency activities, try these activities below.  

Both resources will give you just what you need to practice all aspects of fluency in your classroom in a FUN and ENGAGING way!  

And if you’re looking for more information on fluency and its importance, my 5 Aspects of Fluency blog post is the perfect place for you to stop and soak in all the benefits of incorporating fluency into your second grade classroom!

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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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