Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Reading Fluency with an App

Hi Sweet Friends, it's Peggy Means from Primary Flourish and I want to share a great way to help your students 'flourish' in their reading fluency - using technology!

Reading fluency is an important building block in the development of a strong reader.
Research shows that the more a passage is read, the more fluent the reader becomes.  (We don't need the research to know that ;))
There are a many ways to motive students to do this repeated reading -
  • Reader's Theater
  • Poetry
  • Choral Reading
  • Student-Adult Reading
  • Partner Reading
  • (I'm sure you can think of more!)

I want to share another way that I have found highly motivating to my students - using a recording app on a digital device.  Oh. my. goodness!  They love recording their own little voices!  They love listening to their voices, and they love to share their recordings with others.

I was blessed with a class set of iTouches - so we use the build in recording app, but you can use any recording app that is on your device, or go the the app store to find one.  I just use the free one- it works great for my second graders.

You are going to want to choose reading passages at your students' level.  I have used the small readers in my basal series, close reading passages, and resources from my favorite expert on reading fluency, Timothy Rasinsky.

He has created these for many grade levels, which makes it super easy to differentiate for our students' various reading levels.

He has included a CD, so students are able to listen to the passage first.

Students record their assigned passage using a recording app.

Students listen to their reading, following the text with their finger.  This helps them to really focus on each word - which builds and strengthens their sight word vocabulary.

As your students listen to themselves (and they love to listen to themselves!), they will 'grade' their reading using a rubric.  
Even though there is a place for them to record their time - the rubric emphasizes that 'rate' is just one characteristic of fluent reading - not too fast - not too slow.
This is the rubric I created to use with my second graders.
(If you would like a copy, just click on the picture to download.)

I like to then send the reading material home so that they can 'practice' for their second recording that they will make the next day.

The next day, students repeat steps 1-3 with the same reading passage.

As with anything we publish, it's important to share it with others.  (It is also important that the students know that their recordings will be listened to.  I provide a variety of ways for them to share - and I like to mix it up every week.
  • Share their best recording (hopefully the 2nd Reading) with a buddy.
  • Volunteers share their recordings with class.
  • E-mail me their best recording.
  • Schedule weekly conferences with your students to listen together and discuss their reading fluency.  I like to have a copy of the student's Reflection Rubric to use in this discussion.
I have taught for many years, and used dozens of different fluency programs, and this method tops them all!  I have seen amazing growth in my student's fluency - and they love it!

I hope you will try using a recording app with your students!
If you have any questions, just leave it in the comments and I will be delighted to help in any way I can.

Happy Teaching!


  1. This is a really neat idea. Could you explain your rubric scale?

    1. Thank you! Great question! Rubric scale: check is ok, smiley face is good, star is awesome!
      Peggy @ Primary Flourish

  2. I am entering the TECHIE age! LOVE THIS! We are getting tablets in the fall! I will save this! Thanks my friend! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  3. Thanks for the rubric -- I have one I created, but I like yours much better. Also, thanks for the app idea-- I'm getting an iPad next year, so that can be something I try! Sara

    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement! Your students will love recording their reading!
      Peggy @ Primary Flourish