Tracking My Progress: Fluency

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of student-engaged assessment and progress tracking in motivating students and supporting their achievement.  In this post I’ll share a few ideas for how to help students self-assess and track their progress towards the following target:

Teachers can think of reading fluency as the bridge between the two major components of reading: decoding and comprehension (Honig, Diamond, Gutlohn 2008). Differences in reading fluency can distinguish good readers from struggling readers.

To support students in self-assessing their reading fluency, visually friendly rubrics with clear criteria for success can be very helpful.

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After introducing the learning target to students, show them the rubric.  Ensure that students understand each of the four areas addressed (Phrasing, Rate, Punctuation, and Expression) and how to assess themselves within each area (Scoring a 1,2,3, or 4).  It can be overwhelming for students when the whole rubric is plopped in front of them and explained. Therefore I would suggest explicitly addressing only one area at a time.  Furthermore, it may not even be necessary to use the whole rubric with students if their next step in fluency is tied specifically to rate.  Use your professional judgement to make smart decisions for your kids!

In order for students to be able to self-assess their fluency using this rubric, they need to “hear” themselves as readers.  Rather than asking students to read-aloud, listen to themselves, and then self-assess, I think it’s much more effective to teach students to record their thinking, play it back, and then self-assess.  There is a free iPad app that works great for this…QuickVoice.

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QuickVoice is super user friendly and easy for students to use on their own.  Students can record and self-assess themselves several times using the rubric.  They definitely have fun with this!  To ensure that students are successful provide a model of what this self-assessment process looks like.  Additionally, provide students with short and engaging passages that they can read at an independent level.

For slow but accurate readers who need intense practice to increase their automaticity in reading connected text, you can try timed repeated oral reading.  With this strategy students can track their progress using a graph.

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Begin be setting a goal with students.  For example, if a student begins by reading early-first-grade text, his final goal might be to read mid-second-grade text at 90 WPM (words per minute).  Mark students beginning WPM score on their graph.  From this point draw an “aim line” to meet the point marking the students end of 9 week goal.  This line shows how much daily or weekly progress a students needs to make to meet their final goal.

Introduce one new, short, engaging text to students at the beginning of each week that they can read at their independent level.  Be sure to first read the text with the student and have a conversation about it.  Share with students that rereading the passage throughout the week will not only support their fluency, but will also help them to better understand the text!

Do a one minute timed reading with the student each day of the week until they meet their end of week goal (indicated by the aim line). Mark the students WPM score for the week in the corresponding box for the day.  Students can also mark their score with a colored pen on their aim line.

It’s great fun to see students enthusiasm and motivation for reaching their goal.

I hope these tools and ideas will help you better support students struggling with fluency.

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18 Responses to “Tracking My Progress: Fluency”

  1. Heather June 9, 2013 at 5:48 am #

    I love your site. Would you be able to share your fluency documents with me?

    • Kristin Houser June 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      Hey Heather!

      Thank you so much. I have updated the links in the post so you should be able to just click and download both documents!


  2. Marilee Rickman June 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Is there somewhere I can download this fluency progress tracker. I would like to use it in my students’ data notebooks this year.

    • Kristin Houser June 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      HI Marilee!

      I just added a link for that document in the post. Sorry there wasn’t one there to begin with! I hope they will provide a beneficial addition to your student’s data notebooks.


  3. Barbara February 18, 2014 at 2:26 am #

    H! I Love your site. I noticed your fluency progress tracker suggest a fluency goal of 50 wpm increase at the end of 9 weeks. Is this goal the standard rate to expect fluency growth?

    I suppose the student is decoding 5 extra words a week per minute. Rate of fluency may increase as student progresses. What are your comments on this?

  4. Tegan Henry July 23, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    Hello- I found this post and your blog by doing a search on how to create my own fluency forms. I like what I found- thank you for your support and ideas. I’m wondering if you know how I can create my own short passages that will do a line by line word count? Thanks in advance. -Tegan

  5. Janet April 9, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    This is exactly what I was looking for to help my students with their fluency. Cannot wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas!

  6. Frieda Foxworth November 23, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Hi! Your fluency rubric is one of the best kid-friendly rubrics I’ve seen. I’m in the process of developing some Google Forms for students at my school to self-assess their oral reading. There will be a separate form for each of the 4 areas. May I have permission to use a screen capture of your rubric on these forms? I will credit you as the source. Thanks!!

    • Kristin Houser November 27, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

      Sure thing Frieda! Thanks for crediting MsHouser :)

  7. Lisa Griffin December 21, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    Your rubrics are nothing short of spectacular. Very impressive.

  8. Demetria November 26, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank you!

  9. Belinda March 22, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    This was a very helpful article to me & love the rubric because it makes sense to young students.

  10. B March 24, 2018 at 5:01 pm #

    I love the graph. Would you be willing to share in an editable form so I could personalize it for my students’ needs?

  11. Melissa Nettles December 5, 2018 at 3:25 pm #

    This is fantastic! Thank you!!

  12. Caren Milliken January 31, 2019 at 1:25 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is very helpful.


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