Timed Reading Helps Build Fluency

Posted by Kristy Beaudry McCain on Feb 16, 2015 10:35:37 PM

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Timed Reading Helps Develop Reading Rate and Accuracy

  • It improves reading rate, one aspect of fluency.
  • It improves reading accuracy, a second aspect of fluency, and leads to improved comprehension.

Fluency Is APE


In relation to fluency, accuracy refers to reading printed words accurately.


Fluent readers are cognizant of pacing or rate. The goal is to read at a rate in which we speak. On certain occasions, such as a timed fluency assessment, the child may increase their reading rate. When students learn to read, they may be slow readers, sometimes known as reading like a robot. Educators should teach students not to read like a robot. Fluent readers read like we speak.


Intonation or expression refers to reading eloquently. Again, students want to practice reading like we speak. Knowledge of punctuation helps them with this. A period ends a sentence that tells and should be read in a normal voice. An exclamation mark shows strong feelings and should be read with great emotion. When a sentence ends with a question mark, students slightly raise their voice at the end of the sentence.

Timed Reading Information

Timed repeated readings should be done using books or passages the student has read before that are at an independent reading level (i.e. books the student can read with 95% accuracy or above). Most timed repeated reading sessions should include 3-4 re-readings of the same text

Educators and parents can measure how many words students are reading correctly in one minute using the timed reading technique.

Procedures for Timed Reading:

  • The student reads a passage at their independent reading level
  • Two copies of the timed reading passage are needed. The teacher has a copy of the passage and the student has another copy of the passage.
  • A one-minute timer is needed. Many cell phones have timers. The teachers stops the reader at exactly one minute.
  • Use a pencil or pen to mark the last word read by the student when the one minute is up.
  • Each word that student read correctly is counted. The total number of words read correctly in one minute is the student’s score.

Mispronunciations, substitutions and omissions are counted as incorrect. In addition, if the student skips an entire line on a reading passage, each word on the line is counted as an error.

If the student had difficulty reading the word after three seconds, the teacher should give the student the word. The word should be counted as an error because the student was unable to read the word in three seconds or less.

Students can practice timed reading with a partner, a one-minute timer, and a text passage that is at their independent reading level.

Online Resource Guides For Fluency Instruction

nonfiction books

Educators and parents can utilize these helpful teacher’s guides to assist with planning engaging fluency lessons. These online books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Big Universe offers hundreds of titles in many different languages on thousands of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at www.biguniverse.com.

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Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons

Amy Buswell and Bruce Lansky's Giggle Poetry Reading Lessons turn struggling readers into happy readers. Many struggling readers are embarrassed to read aloud. They are often intimidated or bored by texts that conventional programs require them to practice. So, instead of catching up, they fall further behind. Currently 67% of American fourth graders cant read grade-level text. Reading specialist Amy Buswell has spent eight years looking for remediation methods that work. What is needed, Buswell explains, is a program that improves the motivation of struggling readers, because that accounts for 90% of the problem. Four years ago, Buswell came up with a brainstorm. She knew her best readers enjoyed reading Bruce Lanskys poetry books for pleasure. The more poems they read, the better the reading got. Why not use Lanskys kid-tested poems as texts struggling readers could practice on to improve their readingusing six research-based strategies: choral reading, echo reading, paired reading, repeated reading, sustained silent reading and say it like the character reading.



Would you like more information on fluency? Visit blog.biguniverse.com/tag/fluency/‎

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Big Universe News, Literacy

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