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How to Develop Reading Fluency

If your child struggles with reading fluency—and listening to him read aloud is a painful experience—then this article is for you!

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

We’ve all heard kids who read aloud with a choppy, almost robotic tone. It’s hard to grasp the meaning of what they’re reading. They may read too fast, or they may read too slowly and laboriously.

On the other hand, when someone reads aloud with fluency, it’s easy to understand what they are reading, and it’s a delight to listen to them. Fluent readers add emphasis to certain words and convey meaning with their expression.

What Is Fluency?

Fluency is the ability to read with accuracy, proper speed, and meaningful expression.

Fluency is also a significant indicator of reading comprehension. When children can read fluently, it means that instead of using brain power for decoding, they can turn their attention to the meaning of the text.

And it gets even better. When students reach higher levels of fluency, they’re able to tap into metacognitive strategies. This means that they can visualize, question, and interpret what they are reading, and they can think about their own feelings and opinions while reading text. This is the highest level of reading comprehension.

Obviously, fluency is highly desirable. So let’s talk about how we can get your child to this point.

Good Decoding Skills Come First

Don’t even start working on fluency until your child can decode all the words in the text. 

Does your child stumble over words? Substitute words? Need to sound out multiple words on the page? These are all signs that you need to work on decoding first; otherwise, you will both be frustrated.

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

In All About Reading, we give a lot of attention to decoding before we expect fluency.

  • Kids read words in isolation (on flashcards that we call Word Cards).
  • They read words in phrases.
  • Then they read words in sentences.
  • They encounter the words on fun and motivating activity sheets.
  • And finally, they encounter the words in short stories.

By this point, they have reached the point of automaticity for most of the words in the story.

THEN—and only then—we work on fluency skills.

The Importance of Vocabulary for Fluency

Does your child understand the meaning of all the words he’s reading?

If not, fluency will be an uphill battle for both of you. Even if he can decode the words properly, when he runs into a word he doesn’t understand, he will be unable to read smoothly and with expression.

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

Have you ever tried to read a book on a topic you were unfamiliar with? As you encountered words you didn’t know or understand, your fluency probably faltered. And quite likely, by the time you reached the end of a sentence, you had probably forgotten what the first part of the sentence even said.

That’s why we make sure students understand all the words in the short stories in our reading program without dumbing down the stories with simplistic words. On the contrary, we purposely introduce words that are very likely new to the reader. We use interesting, mind-expanding geographic locations, as well as a large variety of historical settings and nationalities.

But we don’t leave readers stranded with no hope of understanding what they are reading.

Instead, we have short attention-grabbing discussions before each story is read. We highlight new vocabulary words through illustrations, and take what the student already knows and use that as a “hook” for the new vocabulary words.

With this method, the student is mentally prepared when he encounters the word again in the short stories. He can read the word smoothly because he knows how it should be pronounced, and he can continue visualizing the storyline in his mind because he isn’t wrestling with the meaning.

When it comes to fluent reading, it’s easy to see why it’s a big help to have a good vocabulary that is relative to what your child is reading about.

Provide a Good Role Model

Another important factor in the development of fluency is the need for fluency role models. When your child hears fluent reading, it will be easier for him to mimic it and then eventually make it his own.

When you read aloud to your child, you’re setting an example. Your child is mentally absorbing your tone, your speed, and your inflections. That’s one of the reasons we encourage you to read aloud to your child for at least 20 minutes every day. Your child will become familiar with how a reader’s voice helps written text make sense.

Audiobooks are another fantastic resource for providing role models, not to mention they help you give your voice a rest! Here are some current favorites, to get you started.

Another thing that happens when your child hears books read aloud is that he learns “phrasing.”

Why Phrasing Helps

Consider this sentence:

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

This sentence would be really boring to listen to if each word were spoken with even pacing.

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

Fluent readers naturally group phrases, like this:

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

They automatically divide text into meaningful chunks, which is called phrasing. Children who have good phrasing intuitively know when to pause.

But what if your child doesn’t know how to do this yet? How can you teach phrasing?

To help your child get the hang of it, you can use a pencil to “swoop” under each phrase.

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

Phrasing usually occurs with prepositional phrases, but honestly, your own intuition will serve you well as you mark the page. Think of how you would read the text; there are no absolutely correct answers here, especially as you get into more advanced text.

If you use All About Reading, you’ll see that our Level 1 readers and Practice Sheets from Levels 1-4 are designed with intentional line breaks to help your child learn and understand phrasing. Here’s an example:

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

The pages are formatted to allow beginning readers to read more smoothly and comprehend the text more easily. The line breaks promote natural phrasing.

Use Character Dialogue to Encourage Expression

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

After years of listening to read-alouds, your child is probably familiar with how you interpret dialogue—reading text the way someone would say it. But it can still take some practice for novice readers to get the hang of adding expression to their own voices.

To help your child become more expressive, try buddy reading. There are several forms of buddy reading, but for encouraging expression, it is most helpful if you read a page and then have your student read the same page after you. Show how you pay attention to punctuation, and how you emphasize important words.

One of the favorite activities in All About Reading is called “Say It Like Daddy Moose” (download here). I’ll explain it here briefly because you can use this same idea with many different stories.

After the child reads the short story “Gabby Goose Saves the Day” (download here), we have the student pretend that he is the various characters in the story. This activity sheet has quotes from each character, and the student practices saying each quote in the way that he imagines the character would say it, with full expression.

To extend the activity, your student could demonstrate different ways of saying the same quote. For example, your student could read Daddy Moose’s quote in a loud, strong voice and then read the quote again using a high, squeaky voice. Or he could read Mommy Moose’s quote using a very sad voice instead of a happy voice.

As you can see, character dialogue is a natural way to encourage expression and increase fluency.

Silent Reading Isn’t as Effective for Improving Fluency

This idea is probably clear from the previous sections, but it’s important enough that I want to be sure to say it outright:

Have your child read aloud, not silently.

Silent reading certainly has its place, but oral reading practice is much more effective in developing fluency.

Having an audience can be motivating and can give your student an opportunity to practice meaningful expression. Encourage your child to read to someone else, such as a sibling, a visiting neighbor, Grandma, or a parent.

Kids Can Self-Assess, Too!

It can be really helpful for kids to hear themselves read. And recording themselves can be fun!

Need an easy way to record? Here’s a recording program you can download for free.

After recording, let your child assess his own reading. How did it sound? Did it sound natural? Choppy? Did he pay attention to punctuation? Encourage him to notice one thing he did well and one thing that needs improvement. Then he can re-record and try to improve. Even professional speakers do this!

The Bottom Line on Improving Reading Fluency

Reading fluency develops gradually, but as you can see, there is a lot you can do to promote it.

As long as your child has strong enough decoding skills, the next steps are to:

  • Help build a strong vocabulary.
  • Provide a good role model, whether that is you or fantastic audiobook narrators.
  • Use phrasing and “swooping” to break sentences into meaningful chunks.
  • Tap into character dialogue to encourage expression.
  • Have your child record himself reading, and then self-assess.

And finally, keep encouraging your child! With your help, he won’t read like a robot forever. Fluency will come!

The All About Reading program walks you and your child through all the steps to help your child achieve fluency. The program is multisensory, motivating, and complete, with everything you need to raise a strong reader. And if you need a helping hand, we’re here for you.

What’s your take on teaching reading fluency? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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Leave a Comment

Tiya

says:

Thank you so much, I am so lucky found your program and can not wait to start working with my lil girl. I hope AAR is the answer for my frustration as I cann’t help mine to learn reading in my way.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiya,
We too hope that AAR can help your girl. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Patti

says:

All I can say is at the beginning of AAR1 my sons ability to blend sounds was so painful to listen too. Getting words out was laborious. But as he conquered lesson-by-lesson the fluency came. He is in level 2 now and reads very well. All the word flippers, phrases, stories made it so easy and progressive. He didn’t even realize he was tackling harder stuff. Can’t say enough how I love the reading and spelling programs. They have turned stressful work into pieces of cake. We love reading together. He loves it too now!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patti,
Thank you for sharing this. It’s nice to hear how your son has progressed!

Annette

says:

Good remind to keep reading to my child through 20 minutes a day recommendation.

Anna

says:

I’ve noticed reading to my children has helped their tone &a inflection when they read.

Kristina McGuire

says:

I’m Hoping to win the next level for my daughter. It has helped her so much. Level 5

Bethel Cleveland

says:

My first grader just read “Champ” in the Level 2 and book 1. We were both excited to find that she is so much more familiar with decoding words quickly and moving on towards more fluency. With that has come less of a resistance on her part towards reading. This is an exciting step for her. She even picked up her fairy books and read seven lines. That shows me she wants to improve so she can progress to chapter books. Once she reads chapter books, I will have an avid reader on my hand. This child will not want to put the book down. She has recently taking a liking of the “Belle” character in Beauty and the Beast and wants to dress like she does in town because of her love for book. She identifies with her because of their similiar interest. Mommy is very pleased and loves how the All About Spelling goes right along with the reading!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bethel,
It sounds like your daughter is on the cusp of her reading goals! It may not be long now.

Tracy S.

says:

This is very helpful. We have been struggling with fluency.

Denise

says:

Thanks for the great article!

Doreen

says:

I would really like to try this with my daughter.

Emily c

says:

We just started this program after struggling through 50 of the 100 lessons reading book. It has been super encouraging to our family. It is thorough and fun. I have total confidence that my children will be fluent readers one day.

Michele

says:

My daughter has struggled with fluency and skipping or changing words when she reads a lot. This is our first year homeschooling. Her comprehension is good, she has always tested well, and loves to read. We just got AAS Level one and I’m excited to help her learn some phonics/spelling rules that she never got in PS!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michele,
We have blogs posts on what to do if your child skips words when reading or if she reads too fast. One or both of these may be helpful to you.

Lacey M

says:

So exciting to hear them read with expression.

Kasey

says:

Thanks for these tips! They have helped us tremendously.

Jordan C.

says:

I love the suggestion of reading aloud to your child. That has helped my son with his fluency so much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jordan,
Thank you for sharing that reading aloud to your child has had an impact on his reading!

Amanda

says:

Thanks for the tips!

Anne

says:

I can’t wait to begin all about spelling and reading!

Caroline Landon

says:

These are great recommendations! Thank you so much!

Pamela Hodle

says:

Thank you for the article

Esther

says:

This is helpful!

Stephanie Koch

says:

AAR has been amazing for my dyslexic son!

Carey Skaggs

says:

Thanks for all the tips to help improve fluency!

Jessica

says:

AAR is amazing, I’m so glad to have found this for my family!!!!

Andrea

says:

Great tips!!! Thank you so much

Puja BS`

says:

Reading should be taught applying the right technique after assessing individual capability. AAR definitely works on the most efficient and effective approach. Looking forward to implement your program in my class to make children comfortable with words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you! Let us know if you have any questions about implementing All About Reading in a class setting.

Lacy van Vuuren

says:

These are all great tips, and I have used most of them with my kids. I didn’t use ‘swooping,’ and often skipped fluency pages. My kids were always impatient to get to the story, so we would work on meanings and pronunciation during the reading, and stayed on that sentence until it was read fluently. I may try harder to convince them to use fluency pages, now!

Anne Smitha

says:

What a great program! We have seen so much improvement in our kids reading ability since starting AAR and AAS.

Brandy

says:

This was truly helpful! It solidified the “why” behind all of the fluency sheets before the story!!! Working through AAR1 with my 2nd kiddo now and she learns so much differently from her brother. I often skipped the fluency pages for him but they may be exactly what she needs. Thank you for this post!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brandy,
I’m glad you found this helpful. You’re welcome. We’re here if you ever have any questions or need anything.

Lisa

says:

I like your idea on dialog! My son will love doing that – I may have his older brother get in on it too!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
This could be a very fun group activity. Great idea!

Jessica

says:

Thank you for all your hard work in making a wonderful program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Jessica!

Abigail

says:

Character dialogue was a BIG boost for my son’s fluency. He really enjoys each of the dialogues we read, and loves to create dialogue when we play with story cubes together or play with some of his toys.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Abigail,
It sounds like your may have a future fiction writer on your hands! Many students find writing dialogue to be difficult, but if he is already making his own dialogue he may have a head start.

Tami Smith

says:

This is our first year homeschooling our 7 year old. I’m looking for a program to use to help her break the bad grammar habits taught in public school. This looks perfect for us!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tami,
Great! Let us know if you have any questions.

Dee Anne

says:

We are loving AAR and AAS. So thankful for how it has helped our son with reading and spelling. It’s such an enjoyable program.

Rachel

says:

Thank you for all the helpful tips!

Beth Davis

says:

I’ve used All About Spelling for 2 years now in our Homeschool. It is an amazingly simple program that does a wonderful and thorough job explaining and teaching the spelling concepts.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Beth!

Tami D

says:

I am eager to try this with my two young boys!

Angela M.

says:

Great article. Can’t wait for my delivery!

Khalilah S.

says:

Great article.

Rebecca

says:

I honestly hadn’t put two and two together about how the books were setup to automatically help kids learn the phrasing. It has been a few years from level 1 with my older’s, going to start it with our youngest this year. Looking forward to seeing what else I may have taken for granted. :)

Ani

says:

I need this for my ds who’s on level 3!

Jessica

says:

I love the idea of kids being able to self assess, this is a great way to help them have a realistic view of their progress and to see their acheivements and where they need to work harder!

M P

says:

Received Level 2 today and thought it would be too easy, but one quick read with my son told me it wasn’t too easy and would be so helpful to him. So thrilled to find a decodable reader. What has happened to schools that we have to spend hundreds of dollars outside to get a basic reader? Thank you so much for providing this resource!

Lisa

says:

Wow, what a treasure trove for helping our children with fluency reading! I’ll have to re-read a few times to fully absorb each pearl of wisdom. Thank you for your helpful advice!

I need this for my kids they are struggling and I have tried several things and nothing has worked so far.

Rachel

says:

Very nice and informative. I am definitely going to use your suggestions.

Jenni

says:

Very helpful!

Michele

says:

I agree that learning decoding skills comes first before fluency. It’s difficult when asking a child to do both at the same time. They are always frustrated!

Britt

says:

Great article!

Aimee McNatt

says:

I adore all about spelling and reading.

Leigh

says:

Great article! Thank you!

Maria

says:

Thank you! This is some great information that I will definitely be using! We have seen great improvement with my son’s reading since he has started using All About Reading!!

Julie

says:

great post! thanks!

Nicolette Maxey

says:

I’m waiting on a call back so we can get started with your program! Praying it can help!

Andrea Miles

says:

Thanks for all your blogs. Makes it’s less stressful for this newbie!

Katie B

says:

Thank you for this! We are working on fluency with my daughter!

Jennifer

says:

You said that “By this point, they have reached the point of automaticity for most of the words in the story.” Unfortunately for my daughter this has not been true. She is still, at lesson 49 AAR level one, 1st ed, sounding out words from lesson 3. She patiently sounds them out over and over and over again, if she is reading one of the stories from the readers. Unfortunately she is considerably less keen on the word cards and fluency sheets. (We have agreed to set a timer for 2 minutes for either of these options.) I don’t know if there is anything else I can do to support her in learning fluency. Luckily, I don’t find her slow and choppy reading painful; I do actually enjoy listening to her practice. I think this helps both of us to persevere.

Paula

says:

We’re in the same boat, except that we’re on lesson 42. My son dreads the fluency practice sheets; I’m encouraging him to do them by allowing him to earn time to play an online reading game he loves for every so many lines he completes on a fluency sheet (which is really motivating to him). And he still has many cards in the “Review” stack from the early lessons of the book. In fact, I think we only have about 20-25 in the mastered stack. He picks up the concepts very easily, but fluency still eludes him, even though we’ve been working in this level for almost a year. I’d greatly appreciate any suggestions or feedback!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Paula,
I gave a long and detailed reply to Jennifer that I think would help you as well. I have been through this same experience with my daughter, and I am very happy to say that she is reading fluently now, although we still occasionally have to work on things like noticing the punctuation. Your son will get there too!

Paula

says:

Thank you, Robin!

Katie

says:

Jennifer, my triplet daughters are in K5 so we’ve been learning to read. We read all the time- not only our school stories/cards/worksheets. One thing I did in K4 to encourage reading practice outside of “school” was to make a chart listing twelve simple Bob books, as well as how many times they needed to read each one. They received one star for each time they read one of those books- and it was completely up to them. But when they filled the entire chart, their reward was a special date night with Mom and Dad all to themselves- all their other siblings stayed home with a babysitter. That was a great success and built a lot of confidence in their abilities.

My girls have always loved books. Now they love to read them. I’ve been very purposeful in keeping many quality early readers available to them, and each daughter has her own favorites- one LOVES all the Bob books, another spends hours at a time reading Dick and Jane, and the third pores over her Beginner’s Bible stories until she has them practically memorized. (Little brother can’t read yet ha!) Their fluency skills have skyrocketed over the past six weeks or so- even when presented with new material. I think it’s largely due to all the practice they put into reading during play time- because they want to do it, they enjoy it, and it’s not required!

We do as little in the way of worksheets as we can. Since they love books so much, I keep our house full of them and am always available to listen to one of them practice her skills. They love getting to read to Daddy in the evenings too, and to their grandparents when they’re visiting.

Just a thought!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Your daughter’s account is very much like my youngest child’s. She took 1.5 years to finished AAR 1, yet she was still sounding out words from the very first lesson. She mastered the phonograms and concepts easily, but fluency wasn’t coming. I initially went ahead with AAR 2 with her, but it quickly become frustrating for her. The stories were longer, and new phonograms and concepts were being added with each Lesson, yet she was still sounding out almost every word.

So I restarted AAR 1 with her, going back to the first lesson and focusing on the fluency sheets and stories. I had her reread the stories 2 or 3 days in a row in order build up her ability to read smoothly. I also started buddy reading with her as a further help toward fluent reading. I wouldn’t move her past a story lesson until she could read the story with at least a moderate amount of fluency.

We spent about 5 months going back through AAR 1 the second time, but it was time well spent. By the time she finished it the second time, she was able to read the later stories with only have to sound out just a couple words per page.

AAR 2 took her a year to complete, but with buddy reading and rereading the same story 2 to 3 days in a row, she got better and better with fluency. By the time she finished AAR 2, she occasionally was able to be moderately fluent on the very first reading!

She is now in lesson 15 of AAR 3. She is back to needing to buddy read each story and spend 3 or 4 days on it, but again the stories have gotten longer with more words per page. Her reading has taken off the point that I now have her reading by herself for 10 minutes each day, in addition to her 20 minutes of AAR 3 work. She enjoys her silent reading very much, and often reads beyond 10 minutes!

One thing you mentioned is that you spend just 2 minutes on the fluency pages. Are you just having her read it for 2 minutes and then moving on, or are you working on the page for 2 minutes a day until the pages are completely read? One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. The fluency sheets and stories are the main ways we provide the review needed.

Lastly, when I restarted AAR 1, I started All About Spelling 1 with it. My daughter seemed to find spelling easier than reading, and working through AAS 1 provided my daughter with another angle to work with words. Having her read all the words she spelled also allowed a bit more fluency practice too.

Many children do reach automaticity by the time they are ready for a story, but some students may need to read a word up to 30 times before it becomes automatic.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions. And it’s great that you enjoy listening to her practice. That will go a long way toward keeping her motivation up!

Jennifer

says:

That’s a nice idea. I might see if she’d like to restart level 1 again to build up fluency. The problem is that we’ve done the 1st ed and I don’t think I can get another copy of the student book for the 1st ed. I’d love to get the 2nd ed for her (with all the new stories) but I think it’s a bit out of reach, financially, at the moment. Could I use the 2nd ed student book with the 1st ed stuff?

I only just started doing 2 minutes on the sheets with her; I was planning to do them until they were completed. Before she was so distressed about them that I had just put them (and AAR) aside. I also put the sentences on the fridge sometimes, spelled out with fridge magnets.

On the other hand she really understands what she’s learned; she’s flying through AAS 1 (and enjoying it!). I was wondering about leaving reading entirely and just spelling our hearts out until she started to read (Writing Road to Reading style).

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
The 2nd edition Activity Book will not work with the 1st edition Teacher’s Manual, but we still have 1st edition Activity Books available. You can order it at the bottom of this page.

When my daughter was struggling with fluency we spent just a few minutes a day on the fluency pages too. It was never a fun part, but if she had to do it every day for just a short time it was tolerable. She enjoyed marking off each line she read with a large checkmark, although other kids prefer highlighting each word after it is read.

While continuing with AAS will allow your daughter to have the skills to decode more and more difficult words, it doesn’t have the practice in reading that is necessary for some children to gain fluency. If she was likely to gain fluent reading from just focusing on spelling, she would have gained fluent reading already through AAR. Children like our daughters and Paula’s son need lots and lots of practice with reading in order to become strong, fluent readers.

However, I will add when my daughter became so frustrated with reading we did make spelling more of a focus for a while. I still had her read daily, but I aimed for just 10 minutes or so a day during those periods and I focused on having her read stories and fluency pages from many lessons ago so it was all review. After a week or two of the easier schedule, she would be ready to get back to the harder work without so much frustration.

Christy Bigham

says:

Thank you for such an awesome program. Wasn’t really sure about AAR, but have enjoyed it. It delights my heart to see my children learning. 💙💚

Krista Richards

says:

We have had such great luck with all about reading and all about spelling. I highly recommend it to all my friends.

Stacy

says:

As a reading specialist, I very much appreciate this article. I would second the suggestion recording your students and having them work on self-assessing. It can be extremely influential when they can hear themselves.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Stacy,
Thank you for your second opinion on this! It’s helpful to know what reading specialists are finding useful.

Kelly K

says:

Love that you mentioned setting a good example. Reading aloud to your kids is invaluable! We like to use silly voices too!

Mary

says:

Do you recommend anything for kids I middle school or up with fluency issues?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mary,
Many of the things outlined in this blog post will help a middle schooler. First, is he or she still decoding words, or can she read the majority of words automatically? If she has automaticity with the words, then look at her vocabulary.

Definitely read aloud most every day to the student, or at least listen to audiobooks daily. Listening to good books (of all sorts, not just fiction) read fluently will a long way to helping students to develop their own fluency.

Listen to the student read aloud to you daily as well. When you hear her read aloud, you can help her with phrasing and other aspects of fluency. You can better tell where she needs more work too. Also, don’t worry about allowing her to choose easier reading material. Reading books on her comfortable level is much more helpful for building fluency than reading books on a higher level, even if that higher level is her grade level.

Lastly, our reading programs do work with older students. We have had tutors use All About Reading to teach teens and even adults. Also, it is common for students to jump in reading ability after finishing the first couple levels of All About Spelling.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have further questions.

Nicole

says:

I’m seeing reading click and make sense after starting all about reading! It’s so fun to learn along side my student too!

Jennifer

says:

Such good information

NAJIA

says:

Love this article! All the tips are very helpful. Sometimes in our wish to succeed quickly and show improvements fast, we tend to rush the child. Thus article was a good reminder to take a pause and go back to your tips on decoding before development jg fluency. Thanks!

Christine

says:

Thank you! So much great information

Em Rio

says:

Thanks for the great info!

Jeanette Wentzel

says:

Thank you. Great advice. I’m helping my grandson read and this will really be of great assistance.

Jennifer G.

says:

Great wealth of information! Thank you. My son struggles with reading but I’m slowly seeing improvements.

Lindsey

says:

Thank you for this. We are struggling with this at the moment, so couldn’t have come at a better time to read this article.

Erin

says:

Good tips! I love AAR!

Nicole Mendez

says:

Thank you for this very helpful blog post! My daughter is working through AAR Level 3. And I needed some encouragement to help her with her fluency.

Carey Jackson

says:

I am so glad we found AAR, it’s perfect for my kiddo!

Tauni

says:

Great helps!! Thank you!

Amanda Reynolds

says:

I have a 5th grader that is reading like a robot. Are these level 1-4 books that you offer to childish for him?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
We were careful to make sure that our readers were not childish, so they could be used with older kids. Take a look at our All About Reading samples, particularly AAR 3 and 4. Even if you find he places into AAR 1, and he feels some of the activities in the Activity Book are too “young”, there are some very minor adaptations we can help you with so that you can still use it with him.

We do have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your child read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want your child to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your student) for the following…

Your student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
Your student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could your student fluently read the story with expression?
Did your student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Courtney

says:

I want to agree as a totally independent opinion. While the text or phrasing or larger font may APPEAR more simple to your older child, the stories are quite interesting and hold the attention of older kids. The subject matter and characters are never “babyish” as you might fear. I promise you this program worked for us!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Courtney!

Deirdre

says:

This article has some great information. Thanks!

Nicole

says:

Great post! Thank you!

Kelley

says:

Great article. Thanks.

Donna Y

says:

I try to get my kids to read aloud every day, especially to their little brother who is 2! :) Their phrasing and inflection are improving, and I know AAR will help even more!

Erica O.

says:

AAR has helped us tremendously.

Janet Belcher

says:

I just want to say think you for the information and encouragement. Until we found AAR my son struggled with reading and the confidence to do it. With this program he is finally progressing and actually enjoys reading lessons now.

andrea

says:

Thank you for the advise! Such helpful information!

Mia

says:

This was a great article to match a great program. Thanks for your help.

Juliet

says:

I have 3 children. 1st was a great reader, learned in a Catholic school. Can NOT spell but reads on an incredible level. 2nd was dyslexic and learned to read and spell through Orton gillingham. 3rd was homeschooled with All About Spelling. She’s a great speller! So much overlap with Orton gillingham methods. Makes so much more sense!

Linsey

says:

This program has really helped my son with fluency! The warm-ups are a great gentle way to introduce the story. He has expanded his reading from just your stories, to silent reading in bed at night and sharing favorites with us the next day. We read aloud to all the children every single day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linsey,
It’s great to hear that All About Reading is helping your son with fluency! Thanks for sharing his success with us!

Patrick chan king wai

says:

Thanks for showing how important fluency is and how to have it done!

Patrick

Amy K

says:

Looking into this program and this blog entry makes me think this is the program for us! Thank you for breaking this out.

Jacquelyn Youchezin

says:

This is such a helpful article! We having finished level one and are on to level two, love the program.

Natalie

says:

We love AAR! My son loves to read and has grown so much just in the past few months

Christina

says:

Just finished AAR1 with my son. There was such growth. Hoping to start AAR 2 soon.

Carol D

says:

I love reading all of your articles. Read alouds are so important and loved in our household. I do most of the read alouds but I think that has helped my children WANT to read. Thanks for such great information.

Nicole

says:

This is a great article! I’m so glad you mention read-alouds. The ideas about phrasing and the child needing to read aloud are something I hadn’t thought of before. Thank you! -Nicole

Brianne H

says:

This was super helpful! Thanks!

Lindsey

says:

We love AAR! We’d love to try AAS!!

Amanda Briar

says:

I have been using the spelling program with my older kids and the more I use it the more I want to use all your products! This seems perfect for my youngest!

Victoria

says:

These programs look fantastic! I’m hopeful to implement them in the near future!

Valerie

says:

This was great! Thanks

Dawn

says:

We love our All About Spelling

Melissa

says:

Thank you for all of these great tips!

Serena Lero

says:

We love All About Spelling and Reading! My homeschool isn’t complete without it!

Regan

says:

I love how it doesn’t matter that my kids learn different ways or at different speeds. It is so easy to tIlor!

Chantal

says:

Sounds like my youngest when she reads. Very choppy and hard to understand. Is there an assessment for placement in the proper book online?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Chantal,
We do have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your child read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want your child to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your student) for the following…

Your student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
Your student’s ability to comprehend the story.
Could your student fluently read the story with expression?
Did your student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Please let me know if you have any other questions!

Sharon Bruen

says:

Fluency was an issue for my oldest when we started homeschooling. We found “One breath boxes” and they really helped. A surprise for me was how much poetry helped his fluency!

We love AAS. Thank you! :)

Natasha

says:

This post was very helpful. It gave a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought of recently, like using audiobooks. Thanks!!

Diane Baltz

says:

My 6 yo finished level 4 at the end of last year and it is amazing to see how well his decoding and comprehension improved. My 4 yo is 2/3 of the way through level 1 and has gone from laboriously sounding out each letter to smoothly blending sounds without that choppy sound-by-sound step in just a few weeks. Two very different boys, one great program that works for both!

Jassica Heffron

says:

Wow! Lots of great tips!

Sigrid

says:

Good tips, thanks! I’ll be needing this very soon!

Heather

says:

Great post! We have used audiobooks since my kids were little and they love them. My 14 y/o dyslexic son still uses audiobooks while he follows along because he’s a slow reader.

Shannon S

says:

It never occurred to me to wait until my son can read fluently before having him read aloud. It makes perfect sense though. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shannon,
We did not suggest here to wait until a student has developed fluent reading before having him read aloud. Rather, we suggest the opposite. We state, “Silent Reading Isn’t as Effective for Improving Fluency”. We encourage you to have your child read aloud daily, in order to help improve his fluency.

While I would never force a child that is not reading fluently to read aloud in a public setting, it is important for a child that is still working on fluency to read aloud to a caring adult very regularly.

I hope this clears up this misunderstanding. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Heidi

says:

Just what I needed to read today! My 11 year old struggles with fluency. He does not pay attention to punctuation whatsoever.

Daneille

says:

Thanks for a great program!

Ceitleen

says:

I love all about learning! My 6year old boy is almost done with level 2 and will be moving into level 3 all about reading soon. I’m extremely happy with how well he can read, his fluency is great! Thank you for a wonderful curriculum!

A. Horton

says:

AAR works great with all my kiddos! Thanks for all of the help and suggestions.

Beth Stauffer

says:

So much research has gone into developing this curriculum, that’s why we love it! My son couldn’t learn to read with the others we tried.

Sarah

says:

Thank you
Will definitely be trying having my daughter record herself reading! Plan is for my next chd to use the aar program. We are enjoying pre reading now.

Caryn

says:

Such practical, helpful information. We are having great success teaching our children to read and spell with AAR and AAS!

Lindsey

says:

Thank you for these wonderful materials! And the audiobook suggestions! Going to look for those now :)

Erica c

says:

This is definitely helping my 7 year old!

Erica c

says:

Thank you do this.

Rebecca Stewart

says:

I tutor and share these materials with kids other than my own. A fellow parent is borrowing my book one right now.

Jill

says:

Love this blog! Thanks for your info!

Rebecca

says:

Thank you for this! Very helpful!

Jeanne

says:

Fantastic and very helpful post. Thank you.

Bethany

says:

It never, ever occurred to me to record the kids reading. What a brilliant idea! Thank you!

Julie Long

says:

I’m on child #3 and wish I had had AAS with my first two. It is the smartest spelling program I’ve ever used.

Desiree Torres

says:

Such a great program, the kids are getting so much out of it!!

Rebecca Lynn

says:

We’ve used AAR3 and AAS1 & 2. We love this curriculum!

Aley

says:

We are really needing this curriculum in our home!

Kevin Minnett

says:

We are loving using the All About Learning Curriculum with our Kindergartener. He is so excited to learn and is catching on to reading so well. We credit All About Reading for the success we are seeing. Thanks!

Amy

says:

My lad will frequently, without prompting, stop and re-read a sentence with proper phrasing and inflection if he feels he did a poor job on an exciting sentence. It just makes the story better. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
I think one of the cutest things ever is when a younger reader reads with full expression!

Justine

says:

I would love to have all of the AAR and AAS curriculum for my home library! I am a new homeschooling mom of (almost) 7 kiddos and these materials just look so wonderful. Then, there’s all the great things I’ve heard from other homeschooling mom’s and kids! Patients it is… maybe someday I’ll get my wish. :)

Lonna Livermont

says:

I love this article. My eighth grade teacher used to read aloud to the class, classic books. I loved it, and so incorporated into my homeschooling. I read books to her like, “Little Women,” “Black Elk Speaks”, “Anne of Green Gables,” etc., and she reads from her level. She speaks with phrasing I don’t usually hear from other kids her age. Also, she can’t help but to read with emotion, feeling, and proper dictation. It’s fun.

R

says:

Two weeks into AAR. I am so excited to teach this program to my struggling reader.

Rebecca Harris

says:

I truly believe that reading aloud and playing audio books above my daughter’s reading level has helped her reading fluency so much!!

Love Redwall!!

Amber Arnold

says:

My middle child really started to flourish when we started buddy reading.

Kelsy

says:

I’m trying All About Spelling for the first time this year. Still on Step 1 but so far, so good.

Carolyn

says:

My son did not care for the fluency sheets until I saw in an idea to let him highlight as he reads each word or phrase. Now he loves doing them!

Jenni

says:

I am currently working on building fluency with my children and a few I tutor. Often times I use poems and song lyrics with a solid rhythm to warm up and build on. One good thing about using familiar lyrics is that there are very few surprises to stumble on. We also use dialogue to help with phrasing and inflection like your activity “Say it like Daddy Moose”. And, as always, a favorite is to record themselves! For students reluctant to do this because they don’t like listening to themselves on tape, I allow them to read it first in a silly/fun voice, listen to it, then read again in a regular voice. I also allow them to delete the recording after the lesson. :)
Thanks for the article! Great timing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenni,
Thank you for letting us know how these activities have worked with your students!

Great ideas! I need to implement some!

Erica

says:

Thank you for this helpful information!

Nickole

says:

Great info!

Kathryn

says:

I couldn’t agree more with your first two bullet points. I think these are elements that many teachers and parents overlook in favor of focusing purely on decoding skills. There are so many wonderful audio recordings of quality children’s literature that can help vocabulary development and provide the fluent reading role models that you talk about.

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