Fluency Practice Ideas That Are Actually Fun

In early education classrooms, fluency is a major part of the reading curriculum.

In order to comprehend text, students must be able to read with speed and accuracy. If they are unable to read fluently, they can become so focused on decoding or recalling words that they will lose the meaning of the text. When reading out loud, fluency also becomes an important part of conveying meaning to the listeners.

So- how can teachers provide effective instruction in fluency in their already cramped schedules? Read on for some of my favorite strategies! 

One of the easiest ways to increase fluency is by re-reading passages.

As students become more familiar with a text, they can add speed and expression to their reading. This strategy is important to introduce in the early grades so students will become comfortable with re-reading as texts become longer and more difficult.

A similar tool for teaching fluency is to use small phrases that children can read, re-read, and add onto. Once they are able to recognize the short phrase as one unit, they can add more words to make complex sentences. Again, repeated reading of the same phrases will increase speed, accuracy, and confidence. 

Another tool in my fluency arsenal is the use of homonyms.

Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings. For example, a bat is an animal or a piece of sports equipment. Helping students recognize homonyms will not only improve their fluency but increase their comprehension. I like to use a “word web” with the target homonym in the middle. Then, as a class or independently, students can add words to the web that connect to the different meanings. Keeping the word webs for review later is a great way for students to increase their recognition of homonyms in later texts. 

Perhaps the most fun way to increase fluency skills is with reader’s theater.

Children are able to read and re-read their parts before “performing” the script. They can improve their speed, accuracy, and especially expression in doing so. As they read along with a group, they can hear their peers reading with fluency as well. It’s a lot of fun to perform short scripts in front of the class, and provides an opportunity for students to become comfortable speaking in front of a group. 

Are you ready to use all of the strategies in your kindergarten or first-grade class? Grab my Reading Fluency Activities today and your entire school year of fluency lessons will be ready!

This bundle includes sentence building worksheets, word webs, mini-books, and reader’s theater scripts for each week of the year. It also includes fluency assessments so you can track what your students are learning. Using these activities weekly will lead to fluent readers who are confident in their skills!

fluency

Looking for more reading strategies? Check out my post here! 

What are your favorite activities for fluency practice? Let me know in the comments!

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How To Have Fun With Phonics

Phonics are an important part of early reading instruction, and therefore a big part of kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Making connections between written and spoken letters and sounds is absolutely necessary in learning to read, so phonics lessons are well worth the time! In order to teach young students most effectively, a broad range of activities are needed. Children love variety, and luckily there are plenty of ways to teach phonics! 

Learning the relationships between letters and sounds can be- well- a not so interesting topic. In order to keep kids excited and learning, teachers can incorporate fun activities. Phonics lessons can include a broad range of styles, so there are lots of options when choosing the best activities for your class. 

Here are some of my favorite activities for teaching phonics. 

One of the easiest, yet most effective strategies is to use songs! Jack Hartmann phonics songs are easily available on the web, and your students will love singing along while they are learning. 

Another fun activity is frog hop blending. Students can move a toy frog (or a finger) along individual sounds, then blend them together to make a word. 

Make and take books are a perfect option to practice phonics skills and word families at home. Students can create the books at school and practice reading the sounds at home. Throughout the year, you may choose to focus on different word families that the kids can read to their parents. 

As students become more skilled with phonics, you may want to try word building and sentence building activities. They can use familiar letter sounds to create new words, and eventually create entire sentences. 

Looking for a variety of phonics activities for daily use? I have you covered! Check out my Phonics Worksheets for Kindergarten and First Grade

phonics

This bundle includes an entire year’s worth of daily lessons. 

Here are just a few of the resources included: 

  • letter identification 
  • letter sounds
  • building words
  • word family work
  • building sentences
  • writing stories 
  • Sight word lists
  • ABC letter cards
  • Word family books
  • Phonics pocket phones

phonics

With one easy download you’ll be ready to tackle these lessons each day with time-tested strategies.

For more reading strategies, check out my post here! 

What are your favorite reading activities? Let me know in the comments!

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Homework Ideas For Kindergarten

Homework is a tricky topic in most schools, especially in the younger grades. Homework in kindergarten is sometimes completely forbidden by the school, left up to the teacher, or required for all students. In my experience, homework for kindergarten students can be beneficial. It can reinforce the skills learned in the classroom and get parents involved in the learning process. However, it must be developmentally appropriate for our youngest learners. 

In order for homework to be perfect for kindergarten, it must be short enough to maintain students’ attention.

Pages and pages of written work will frustrate kids, and busy parents do not want to complete more school work for hours each evening. Short, meaningful assignments will keep kids and parents engaged. They will also be more likely to positively influence learning. 

In addition to the amount of time assignments take, the content of the assignments is also important to consider for kindergarten students. Research has shown again and again that reading with a parent (and independently) for 15-20 minutes daily is extremely beneficial to young learners. So reading together is probably the most important part! 

Assignments should also reinforce basic skills with targeted practice. It is not the time for learning completely new concepts. Additionally, assignments with oral components are perfect for kindergarten students. As they interact and talk with their caregivers, they are learning important communication skills. They are also cementing their understanding of the concepts they’ve been learning at school. 

So- short, meaningful, targeted homework that involves parents seems to be the perfect recipe for kindergarten.

That’s a lot to think about when making assignments. If you don’t have the time to plan and prepare assignments that fit your needs for homework- my Kindergarten Homework Packets might be the answer! 

homework

This bundle includes homework packets for the entire year. They are editable, but can also be printed and used immediately. The homework packets are set up to go home every three weeks. You choose three books to send home with each packet, and your students will have everything they need for meaningful homework. 

homework

Sight words as well as Common Core standards for reading, writing, math, science, and social studies are all addressed throughout the year. Activities include written and oral activities that are perfect for school-home connections. Your students will enjoy their homework, and you can rest assured that it is appropriate and engaging. 

homework
For more kindergarten ideas, check out my morning work ideas here! 

What are your thoughts on homework in kindergarten? Let me know in the comments!


 

Reading Strategies With Phonemic Awareness

Phonics and phonemic awareness are two of the most important parts of reading instruction. They are  necessary as children learn how to make sense of letters, sounds, and words. But what exactly is the difference between the two?

Phonics is the relationship between letters and sounds. Phonemic awareness is the ability to HEAR, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in a word.

I like to remember the difference by saying that phonemic awareness can be done in the dark. It uses the ears rather than the eyes AND ears like phonics.

Phonemic awareness is critical in the early grades. It can powerfully affect reading and spelling development in students. The more opportunities students have to work with sounds in the classroom, the more confident they will become. Getting phonemic awareness practice in your schedule daily may seem daunting, but making it a routine can help!

The options for phonemic awareness activities are varied and easy to do with your students.

Blending boards are a simple, effective tool for helping students recognize sounds in words. You can also use flashcards to practice sound identification, and focus on different parts of words. Playing games with students is of course one of the best ways to get students engaged in learning about phonemes.

An easy way to have all the tools for effective daily practice is with the Phonemic Awareness Activities Systematic Curriculum.

phonemic awareness

The year-long bundle includes everything you need to help your students confidently identify and manipulate sounds. Blending boards, worksheets, and even videos are included.

phonemic awareness

The oral task cards are perhaps the best part of the curriculum, as they include practice with all the following skills:

  • Sound deletion
  • Sound addition
  • Blending
  • Substitution
  • Segmenting
  • Beginning, middle, and ending sound games
  • Syllables
  • Rhyming
  • Onset-rime
  • Nonsense Words
  • CVC Words

Using these task cards daily will greatly enrich your students’ understanding of sounds in words. There is also an assessment included so you can address their individual needs and see their growth.

Dive into the activities today and daily practice will no longer seem impossible!