+ Parents Help Kids Read Fluently: Try This

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Parents: this is a “paired reading” activity. Reading in a systematic way with your children can build fluency. Here are 1) a “Toolbox” of reading strategies, 2) a “Reading Reflection” checklist, and 3) a “Reading Journal” sheet.   Use them several times a week. 

Before you begin, explain the process: she will do a decoding read-through of a sentence, then a silent re-read, and then a fluent oral third reading using phrasing and expression.  Model the procedures so your student understands them and is comfortable with the routine. 

This is a “fluency building exercise” with a specific purpose, lasting under 20 minutes.  It is not meant to replace any pleasurable or school-related reading your child might be doing this summer!  

Make your own versions of these sheets.

SHEET 1: “My Reading Tool Box”

Select tools to use.  These tools can help you read for fluency.  Then after you have read the passage, think about how you used your tools, and how they helped you in your reading.  Have your mom or dad write your answer on the strategy reflection line.

Before I Read…

  • Check my goal
  • Check my strategies
  • Take a deep breath and relax
  • Read the title
  • Make a prediction about what the story will be about
  • Think about what I already know about the topic
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________

While I Read…

  • Track with finger or pencil
  • Track with index card or bookmark
  • Attend to small words
  • Read in phrases/chunks of words
  • Use punctuation
  • Read with expression
  • Listen to the words as I read them
  • Make movies in my head as I read
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________

After I Read…

  • Review errors
  • Practice errors in context
  • Did I meet my goal?  Why or why not?
  • Decide what the passage was about
  • Ask questions about the meaning of the passage
  • __________________________________________________
  • __________________________________________________


Date:___________________________  Page number:____________________

What were my errors on the first reading?  How many (should be less than 10%)

What Self corrections did I make?

Did I understand what I read?  Write a one sentence summary (or topic sentence if I had to rewrite the paragraph).

Prosody:  Did I chunk words together (or swoop)?  Did my voice go up at the end of sentences?  Did I sound like I was talking when I am excited?  Was it

___ Word-by-word, like a “horizontal word list” and my parent is snoring?  __A few episodes of chunking words into phrases?  __ A quarter of the passage was read in phrases?  __ One half of the passage was read in phrases?  __I sounded like I was talking!

My comments: _____________________________________________________

SHEET 3: “My Reading Journal

Name: ______________________________

Date: _____________  Title: ______________________________________

Today I read from page _____ to page ____


STRATEGY REFLECTION:_____________________________________________________


  • A quiet place; no distractions.  Table or desk, good lighting.
  • Open the text.
  • Review the reading toolbox.  
  • You read the title.  Student reads first sentence. (You may guide above the line with pencil.  If she is practicing tracking tools, she should also track under the line.)  If she misreads a word, hold your pencil above the word.
  • If student can, she reads it and continues.  If not, You may cue with a question (“What is the first sound?” or “What is the vowel sound?”)  If the word is non-phonetic or too advanced, you say it, she repeats and goes on.
  • After that sentence has been decoded: she rereads it silently/under her breath.  Then she reads it aloud (focusing on fluency/expression).
  • Move on to the next sentence; repeat.  As the student gains skill, increase “chunk size.”  Older students may work paragraph by paragraph.
  • You may model phrasing in this way: take turns reading orally.  Say, “You lead, I’ll read.”  She uses her pencil, tracking below the line silently with you.  (Pace your reading to her lead, which is tricky at first.)  Then — as in the original process — she rereads silently, and again orally.
  • Total reading time for a session: no more than 10-15 minutes. 
  • Complete “Reading Journal” entry.  She dictates.  (Make this quick… no more than 2 or 3 minutes for younger, 5-10 minutes for older kids.  Note: summaries are general, not detailed; you have modeled so she knows how to do it.  Record when she is confused or didn’t get the gist instead of/in addition to going back and rereading. (An important check: you can see what she is processing at the “meaning level.”)
  • “Strategy Reflection”: she names a strategy she used; how it helped and how to improve — she dictates.
  • Jot YOUR own notes in the reading journal.

source: based on handouts from Marburn Academy in Columbus Ohio

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com


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