Select Page

Fluent readers are able to read quickly, accurately and with expression. They are also able to understand what they are reading. So how do we explicitly teach children to read fluently? On today’s post, I am going to share some strategies and tips that will help you teach your child reading fluency. 


How Do I Find My Child’s Reading Level?


Before you can begin teaching reading fluency, you will first need to determine your child’s reading level.

My favorite and probably the easiest way to determine if a text is at an appropriate reading level for a child is the Five Finger Rule.

Have your child begin reading a page, and put down one finger each time he or she struggles with a word. If they reach the end of the page before you get to five fingers, the text is written at a comfortable level for independent reading.  

If you want to watch a short video I made on how to find your child’s reading level, you can click   >>>> HERE<<<


Next, you will want to test your child’s reading fluency.  There is a really easy way to test this, and here it is step-by-step:

  1.  Ask your child to read a grade level passage that they have never seen or read before.  (DIBELS has excellent grade level reading passage assessment you can use) 
  2.  Using a timer have your child read this text for one minute.
  3.  While reading the passage, tally the errors your child makes while reading.
  4.  Stop your child after one minute. Count the number of words read in the minute and subtract any errors made by your child. For example: if he or she read 120 words in a minute and made five errors then your child’s reading fluency rate is 115.
  5.  Use the chart below to determine if your child’s reading rate is on target.


GradeFall TargetWinter TargetSpring Target
1Not applicable2050

Johns, J. and Berglund, R. (2006). Fluency strategies and assessments. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishers.


How do I Teach Reading Fluency?


Now that you figured out your child’s reading level and tested your child’s reading fluency, … the next step is to read a text 3 times using different strategies.  Here is how I do it:

I begin by putting a marker under the first paragraph in the text and say,

“Read the first 4 sentences quietly in your mind and then look at me when you are finished.”

I then ask a question pertaining to what the child just read to make sure that he or she understood what they just read. I do this process for the rest of the text.  

After that, I ask the child to read the text again but this time aloud. During this time we also stop and discuss vocabulary and any words they are struggling with. I also use this opportunity to help the student use expression by stopping at periods, pausing at commas, and raising their voices at a question mark.  

Then for the third time, the child reads the entire text aloud and with expression. Rereading text gives the child multiple opportunities to read unfamiliar words. After repeated reading, those words become familiar. Usually by the second or third time, the child is reading the text quite fluently and with more expression than the first time.

Memorize those Sight Words!


Memorizing Dolch sight words is another important step you will want to do to help improve reading fluency with your child. By memorizing common words like “the”, “said”, “what”, “you”… your child will instantly recognize these words in stories and read them fluently.

Sight words are in almost everything that we read. They are service words; they give meaning and direction, which are necessary for understanding sentences and therefore also help with reading comprehension.


For more help on teaching the Dolch Sight words, you can read my previous post titled:

My Favorite Sight Word Activities  > HERE<

Use Fluency Drills

I use fluency drills with every new concept that I teach. In the below passage, my student is learning the ew in our Orton-Gillingham lesson.

I put a marker across the first line and ask the child to read the words as quickly as they can. I do this with every line on the page. I use this drill 3 times over 3 days. By the third day the student is reading the words very fluently.

I am really careful though not to stress my students out. I always tell them to read as fast as they feel comfortable doing. It isn’t a race. Accuracy is way more important than speed.   


I hope you enjoyed this post today!

And while you are here…please check out the PRIDE Reading Program. This is an Orton-Gillingham program that is 100% scripted, super easy to use, very affordable and used by homeschooling parents, tutors and teachers with great success. Let me know what you think. Thank you for reading my post today!

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

Don't go without signing up for the Weekly Roar! Get the latest posts and helpful information from the PRIDE Reading Program.

Join our list to receive the latest news and updates with The Weekly Roar.

Thanks for signing up for the Weekly Roar. If you would like to learn more about the PRIDE Reading Program, please continue to explore our site, or feel free to contact us at any time.