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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, students have significantly expanded their sight word vocabulary, and 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.

Encourage Expressive Reading

After years of listening to read-alouds, your child is probably familiar with how to 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.

One way to encourage good expression is to model it with 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. Demonstrate how to pay attention to punctuation, and how to emphasize important words.

Another great way to practice expressive reading is with an activity like this one from All About Reading.

In “Round Up the Sheep,” your child will discover that the same words can take on a completely different meaning when you say them with different expression. As you can see, encouraging expression and increasing fluency doesn’t have to be boring!

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

How to Develop Reading Fluency - All About Reading

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.

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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

Brooke Miller

says:

I love the activities! I currently taking a grad class, and I have to find an article or blog over fluency. I would like to reference this one. Can you tell me the original publishing date? Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brooke,
This blog article was published on April 6, 2020. I hope you do very well in your class!

Molly MacPherson

says:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful insights and wonderful curriculum. We have just started homeschooling our children (11,9,6 ) and I’m looking forward to using some of these strategies with each of them. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are very welcome, Molly. And if you have any questions or need more information as you begin, just ask!

Dana

says:

This is so helpful! Thank you! It now makes sense why my son prefers silent reading and doesn’t want to make an effort to do expressing reading. I look forward on starting this program from Level 1!

Sheena

says:

This aspect make me most interested in using your program for my budding 1st grader.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheena,
Do you have any questions or need more information? Let me know if you need anything as you look into All About Reading.

Amanda

says:

Great information. I’ve been letting my son read silently but this is making me realize I should keep having him reading aloud.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
There is a place for both. But when students are still learning to read and developing their abilities, it is important to hear them reading aloud for at least a few minutes every day. If you don’t, then you won’t know if they are skipping words, guessing at words, having trouble reading with expression, or other issues. But they can also read silently for pleasure or for additional reading practice.

Susie

says:

Great explanations! Thank you for breaking things down

Andrea

says:

Great article! My child struggles with reading fluency, but it manifests I’m quieter than normal speaking and mumbling, even when he Knows the words.
Any helpful tips for this?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
That is a sign that your child lacks confidence in his reading. One thing you can do is build confidence by practicing reading aloud to you daily. Many children that struggle with fluency benefit from rereading the same story two or even three days in a row. You could try that too.

Also make sure you are asking him to read aloud to you from books that are his at his comfortable level. If you are unsure what that is, start with books that you know will be easy. Reading easy books builds confidence and allows children to practice smooth, fluent reading. Then slowly increase the difficulty over time, but don’t move beyond what he is able to read with confidence.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you have additional questions. I’d love to hear how it goes over the next month or two.

Kelly

says:

This was super informative! Thank you for laying out the steps to promote fluency (and reading comprehension). I am so excited to start level 1 with my child and put this into practice to promote success.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was informative for you, Kelly! Let me know if you have questions or need anything at any time.

Cierra

says:

I hadn’t realized where the snag was with my son because he can read and sound out words pretty well, but he reads in such run-on sentences. He never stops for punctuation and adds words when it’s not there. This blog has me seeing I need to start over in a couple areas with him to make sure he’s grasping what he’s reading and not in a race to just spit all the words out.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Cierra! I think you will find our Reading with Expression: 5 Teaching Tips and a Free Printable blog post especially helpful.

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Jesica R

says:

I love that you covered this. It is absolutely important and I feel like I forget this in homeschooling sometimes (moreso around this time of the year)- that It’s not just about moving through the curriculum, but about what they retain, and how that is exactly the reason we chose to homeschool.

Rachel Johnson

says:

Good info. Something my kiddo needs to practice.

Erin

says:

My 10 year old has an IEP for reading fluency. What I read above is exactly her. Making up words, no grouping of words, hard time sounding out words, etc. We have been trying to help her read fluently just by constantly reading aloud, but that does not work and only frustrates her. I definitely believe that something was missed somewhere along the line. Perhaps decoding of words.
Would you suggest starting over completely at level 1 at her age?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erin,
I recommend using our placement tests to help you determine which level to begin with. She might need to begin with level 1, to become fluent with words at that level, but she may be able to start at a higher level.

Start with the placement test that seems to be on the level she is reading now and have her read the story in the placement test. If she can read that story with fluency, having trouble with only a few words per page, go onto the rest of the placement test. If she struggles to read the story fluently, then move down the previous placement test.

Let me know how it goes or if you need further help with placement.
Robin E.

Iris Albina

says:

Your reading/spelling program is absolutely lovely, if only I could get hold of it! I appreciate the research and work that has gone into it. Through this pandemic, I have been helping my grandson, who is a beautiful slow reader, online, as I am stuck on an island, and he is in British Columbia. Sadly, I cannot get hold of your reading books to be able to work with him in a more efficient manner; they do not seem to be for sale in Canada, and libraries are closed. So I do what I can with what you offer online. Any ideas? Would it be possible for me to download a copy of your readers at Levels 1 and 2?
p.s. I am a retired teacher, having taught French Immersion at the elementary level and English at both the elementary and high school levels.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Iris,
Our materials are available in Canada! We have a number of Canadian distributors. Here is our list:

Canadian Home Education Resources, Calgary, AB
Classical Education Books, Langley, BC
Excellent Resources, Mill Bay, BC
Smarts the Education Store, Celista, BC
Vernon Teach and Learn Ltd, Vernon, BC
Heritage Resources, Carman, MB
Tree of Life School & Book Service Ltd. Weston, NB
The Learning House, St Goderich, ON
LMP Teaching Connections, Regina, SK

We don’t have our materials available beyond our samples.

Karen

says:

What level of All ABout Reading do I start to help an older student with fluency? Also, should All About Spelling be used with All About Reading?
Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Karen,
We would recommend using our placement tests to determine where to start students. The placement tests for levels 2, 3, and 4 include sample stories for the student to read. Use them to 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?

You want your student to be reading fluently with good comprehension before going to a higher level.

As for All About Spelling, we do recommend it using it along with All About Reading. AAS teaches words from the spelling angle and AAR teaches words from the reading angle.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Sally Chancellor

says:

I am so glad audiobooks can count as a good example, my poor voice doesn’t like to read aloud nearly as much as my kids want!

Melissa

says:

Great tips! Can’t wait to try this program. I heard it’s great for dyslexics.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Melissa,
Yes! Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based. This is a proven approach for helping students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Marie Rippel, author and creator of the programs, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and has instructed graduate-level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She is also a member of Pro Literacy, has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Literary Task Force in Wisconsin, and tutored students for more than 20 years. Marie’s son is severely dyslexic, and being told by experts that he would never learn to read led directly to her creating All About Reading and All About Spelling. You can see a short video about her son’s story here.

You’ll find our Dyslexia Resources Page helpful.

Please let me know if you need more information or have any questions.

Merysa Cortez

says:

COVID is making online learning difficult so we might be switching to home school. This program looks perfect for learning! Thank you! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Merysa! Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Jennifer Chandler

says:

Thank you for the information about fluency! It really helped me to understand it better.

Erica

says:

Wow, what a cool God thing! I was just having a conversation today with my husband about issues my daughter is having with her phrasing and fluency and how I feel like I am not sure how to help her. This article definitely gives me some new techniques to try and renews my hope. Thanks for your valuable insight!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love that this was timely and a blessing for you, Erica! I’d love to hear how it goes. Let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Daniela M

says:

This article was just what I needed to give me pointers for my 2nd grade twins who have difficulty with reading comprehension. They each have their own struggles but this article gives me so many tips on where to start especially since I am considering home school in the fall. The both will benefit from all about reading and spelling too!

Mary

says:

I came here to w tee the giveaway, and ended up reading the article with new ideas to use with our AAR! Thanks to you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Mary! I’m always happy when our articles can be helpful and useful. 😊

Melissa

says:

Thank you for the post!

Auburn

says:

Thanks for some new tips on improving fluency! We love this program and have seen fantastic results with our first reader.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s great to hear that our program is working so well for your child, Auburn! 😊

Tjae

says:

Such insightful and meaningful posts!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Tjae!

Sita Greenlee

says:

Wonderful program! Both our kids have developed strong skills throughout both programs! It works for any type of learner.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Sita! It’s great to hear that All About Reading is working so well for your kids. 😊

Kristen D.

says:

The idea of recording themselves reading is awesome! I haven’t thought of doing that. Then they can hear how they are reading. I also like the idea of audio books for the reading time as sometimes I find it hard to get in the reading aloyd time with my other kids needing me too! We just completed level 1 and am so impressed with how well my son can read. Teaching him to read was my greatest fear in homeschooling and AAR was so easy to use and works so well!

Amastasia Kair

says:

My son is 8 finishing 2nd grade and reading magic tree house books. A level M. He still needs help with some words. Im thinking he would be a level 4. I will have him test but what level do you think?
Thank you, Anastasia

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Anastasia,
Our placement tests will be the best way to determine which level to begin with, although many students start enjoying books like the Magic Tree House books after All About Reading level 2 or during AAR 3.

After you do the placement tests, let me know what you found or if you have more questions.

Teresa

says:

Swooping looks like a great technique to try with both of my younger girls. Thanks for the post!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re so welcome, Teresa.

Annette

says:

My youngest is a struggling reader, and of course I knew this interfered with his reading fluency. However, this article explained aspects of fluency beyond what I am hearing, and more into how my son’s brain is processing. This explains so much in terms of why he reads something, but even when prompted, he doesn’t seem to get much out of the text. He really is still working so hard to decide the words. I was trying to jump ahead of where he is at currently in his reading skills.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m very glad to hear this was helpful for you to better understand where your son is in learning to read, Annette. If you need additional help or more information, just ask.

Laurel

says:

I started using AAR Level 2 a few weeks ago with my 9 year old struggling reader. She is growing more confident already, and I’m amazed at how much she likes the program! So thankful for it!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laurel,
It’s so wonderful to hear how much help All About Reading has given your child in just a few short weeks! I especially love that she is growing more confident. ❤️

Joanna

says:

Thank you for always providing such helpful information!

Chelsea Pryor

says:

This is just what I needed to read. My 7 year old really.struggles with fluency and I didn’t know how to help.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Chelsea. Let me know if you need any more help or have questions or concerns. That’s what I’m here for!

Melinda Green

says:

This program has been such a gift to our family. Our 6 year old will soon be finishing up level 1 and she’s excited to start level 2 next! I can really see how the program is set up to improve fluency with each lesson.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m pleased to hear that All About Reading is working out well for your family, Melinda! Thank you.

Dawn

says:

Thanks for all the tips! My daughter is in Kindergarten and we are working our way through AAR 1. She can sound out every word but not really remembering them, so she’s sounding them out almost each time they are seen. Think we may slow down a bit and reread some of the stories for fluency and do some more word work. I don’t understand. She can read them pretty quickly on the cards but on the practice sheets and in the story she gets overwhelmed. We tried pointing to the word as well as using the card to basically cover up all other words but honestly she does better without those helps. Any thoughts?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
It sounds like your daughter is doing pretty well. Students may need to read a word thirty times or more before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out! Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Some kids really need a lot of extra practice in the decoding stage, so spend as much time as needed. The important thing is that she is sounding the words out without much trouble.

The cards provide single words in isolation in a large, bold print. They are easier to read for many beginning readers. The practice sheets and stories have many more words in smaller, less bold printing and that can be overwhelming and difficult for little ones. This is also pretty common.

Rereading stories is an excellent way to build fluency. Since she gets overwhelmed with the stories, I recommend budding reading. I did this a lot when my youngest child was little and it helped her so much. It required we spend three days on each story, but the results were worth it.

Rereading the stories will help accomplish these goals:
– Increase word rate
– Improve prosody. Prosody is “expressive reading.” It involves phrasing (grouping words into meaningful phrases), emphasis, and intonation (raising pitch at the end of questions, lowering pitch at the end of sentences)
– Improve automaticity (be able to recognize most words automatically without having to sound them out each time)

Another idea is the Change-the-Word activities found in the Teacher’s Manual. These are especially helpful for working on blending and paying attention to ALL sounds in a word. Change one letter at a time, starting with simple 3-sound words like: bat-sat-sit-sip-tip-top…and so on. They are also really helpful for working on consonant blends starting in lesson 24.

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep them in daily review until your student can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The Word Cards will stack up as you go, so just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. And here’s a fun little video explaining what to do when the cards stack up.

The fluency practice sheets can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our 16 Ways to Make Practice Sheets Fun. (And check out the comments as well; lots of fun suggestions in there!)

Here’s more help with Overcoming Obstacles when Reading AAR Stories.

You can also do a variation of buddy reading called “echo reading.” You read a few sentences with full expression, and then your child reads the same sentences, matching your expression as close as possible. Do this for just a few minutes a day, or whatever is a comfortable length of time for your child. Add in lots of praise when she shows even a bit of improvement.

The “Fun with Emojis” article gives an enjoyable way to work on reading with expression too. This can be a great way to make reading fun that also sneaks in some extra practice from the fluency pages or readers. Also check out Reading with Expression.

I hope this gives you lots of ideas to help your daughter become more fluent and confident in reading. I’d love to hear how it goes over the next few weeks. Let me know if you need more help with anything.

Brandi Vidrine

says:

Thank you for all of your suggestions!

Julia

says:

Excellent ideas that I will implement with my kids. Thanks!

Michelle Goldsberry

says:

Great information. I have a 1st grader and pre k and this is all very helpful.

Javon

says:

This was very helpful. We are new to phonograms and I just started working with my child on fluency. I’ll certainly use this as a guide. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Javon! I’m pleased to know this was helpful. Let me know if you need anything.

Courtney

says:

My 2nd grader is a struggling reader. The slow, choppy and robotic is painful. I try to recap for her after each page or two because the comprehension is not there because she is using so much brainpower on fluency like you said. Will try some of these techniques to hopefully improve her fluency. Thank you, as always, for such fantastic information!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this is happy for you, Courtney. My youngest child had similar difficulties and we found rereading the stories two or three days in a row to make a huge difference. Our buddy reading blog post is about her and me and how we approached the stories.

Lisa Franklin

says:

A good review for me of fluency principles! Thanks!

Heidi

says:

Great article! I have one who reads to fast so good to know about that as well.

Naphtali

says:

We are struggling with this. Will try swooping.

Kori

says:

Some great things to think on and put into practice!

Caitlin

says:

These are helpful tips. Really like the one on the children reading aloud to someone.

Cheryl A Wallengren

says:

All these tips are great. My personal favorite is- reading aloud to your child

Paige

says:

Going to implement some of this… thanks!

Shanna

says:

My daughter read phrases on the worksheets very well, but when she reads the stories, she becomes robotic/choppy. I don’t understand why she changes. I will try swooping in hopes that will help. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shanna,
The stories are harder for some children. It’s mentioned in this blog post, but I just want to specifically point you toward buddy reading and reading the same story two or three days in a row. Rereading the same story two days in a row allows students to anticipate what comes next so that instead of putting all their focus on reading, they can put some of it on reading smoothly and with expression.

You can also do a variation of buddy reading called “echo reading.” You read a few sentences smoothly with full expression, and then your child reads the same sentences, matching your expression as closely as possible. Do this for approximately five minutes a day, or whatever is a comfortable length of time for your child. Add in lots of praise when your child shows even a bit of improvement.

I’m interested to hear how it goes over the next few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions or need more ideas.

Eden Stubing

says:

Thanks! I will implement the swooping technique to introduce phrasing.

Vanessa Wise

says:

My son is a good reader, but does not like reading out loud. This is good information to share.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Vanessa,
Reading aloud well is a skill separate from reading silently well. I remember very clearly being asked to read aloud in class in the 6th grade and being embarrassed that I read so poorly. But at that time I was reading for pleasure adult level novels (I was into Tom Clancy spy novels that year) with no difficulties. But I couldn’t read aloud well from a 6th-grade textbook.

When a fast reader tries to read aloud, they find that they are processing words faster than they can comfortably speak. This causes them to stumble and confuse words and sentences. When I read aloud (and after that experience in the 6th grade, I took to practicing reading aloud alone in my room and learned to read aloud well), I have to slow my reading speed to match a comfortable, steady speaking pace.

It is worthwhile, for many reasons, to learn to read aloud comfortably. As mentioned in this blog post, it is helpful to listen to students read aloud to be able to determine how well they are reading. I have personally experienced a child I thought was reading very well silently end up having trouble with word guessing of multisyllable words when I asked him to read aloud. Focusing on syllable division for sounding out longer words boosted his comprehension almost overnight. But I never would have known he was guessing at longer words if I hadn’t listened to him read aloud.

Elizabeth Steele

says:

Neat. This is very helpful Thanks

Kayla Clark

says:

I love all of your work to build the reading community.

Jessica Moutenot-Small

says:

My first grader is really struggling to read, which is not surprising as I was diagnosed with mild dyslexia, ADD and learning differences as a child, and I think he may have inherited a few of these things from me. His struggle is all too familiar. Looking forward to trying these things with him and hoping it help!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
If you have any questions or need anything, please let me know. If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a number of Dyslexia Resources I think you will find helpful.

Jennifer Bernard

says:

These are great tips! I love reading to my boys. It’s the best part of my day!

Lynn

says:

This was very helpful. I will begin implementing some of your suggestions. Thank you. 😊

Holly

says:

I have read to all of my kids, but I think I have read to my youngest the most. I have noticed that my younger girls have picked up reading fluency much more quickly than my oldest. I really do think that lots of read-alouds contributed!

Jenny Daniel

says:

Thank you. This was a very helpful post.

Amee

says:

Thank you for offering such great articles, quality curriculum at great prices, and providing free resources.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Amee. 😊

Kayla Proano

says:

The provision of flash cards with each lesson is so helpful for fluency development because so many of the words show up again & again throughout AAR stories.

Katie

says:

Working on decoding has definitely helped one of my children become a more confident reader.

Helen Betzler

says:

Great post! I am going to share this link on my Bloomz page for the parents of a 2nd grade group of learning challenged students that I am distance teaching.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this with your parents, Helen! I hope this will be helpful for them.

Elizabeth

says:

I look forward to trying some of these things! We do a lot of reading out loud which has helped quite a bit but i think trying some of these will be good!

Lee Kuper

says:

Thank you for this information!

Amanda

says:

I can’t wait to try these things with my second grader. He does amazingly well with the lessons and decoding/reading words but has a harder time reading stories. He needs help with paraphrasing, expression and pausing after sentences.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you found this helpful, Amanda. I’d love to hear how things go with your child over the next few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions or need more help.

Allison

says:

Thanks for the info! My daughter can definitely use help in developing her fluency.

Kristi

says:

Thank you for everything you provide. You have wonderful material that resonates with our entire family.

Leslie

says:

I have never tried the recording self-assessment. Thanks for the tip. I look forward to adding that in.

Jennifer Burger

says:

The fluency charts were so helpful!

Kateri

says:

Thanks… this is great! I appreciate the tips and freebies!

sylvia

says:

Good to know!

sylvia

says:

I love this information. Give me more please.

JoAnna

says:

This article breaks down the elements of reading fluency and makes teaching it seem less intimidating. Thank you!

Jade

says:

“Have your child read aloud, not silently.” Is so true. Even as an adult I just glance over words without assigning them a sound.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

So true, Jade. I find myself stopping and reading something aloud when I’m not understanding it. It’s very useful.

Lindsay

says:

This was so encouraging to read, as we’re working so hard on decoding now and I know that fluency and expression WILL come. Thanks for the book recommendations and the idea to record my daughter reading for her to listen to!

Tammy Strickler

says:

Winning this months giveaway would be awesome thanks for the opportunity

Monica Carmona

says:

Mis hijos se han beneficiando grandemente de all about spelling, yo aprendo con ellos, es un gran sistema, han mejorado mucho en su primer nivel y lo hemos disfrutado!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s so wonderful that All About Spelling is benefiting your children and you have enjoyed it! Thanks for letting us know, Monica.

Candyce Ovadal

says:

This has helped tremendously with moving my son past the one word at a time reading.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love that this is has been helpful for your son’s reading, Candyce!

Jess

says:

Great tips here, thank you! Love seeing some of the “whys” behind the readers (and we *love* the readers)!

Kristin

says:

I love the reminder to have kids read aloud instead of silently! I’ve known many parents who have said that they are asking their second graders to do all their reading silently and then are concerned later that their reading and fluency hasn’t progressed. It is sometimes hard to convince them that they need to be actively listening and helping their children, even after they have the ability to read silently.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great points, Kristin! One of the first things I recommend, when a parent asks about their older student’s comprehension problems, is for the parent to listen to the student read aloud. It is the only way to know what is causing the problem so that you can get to the root of it.

Joni

says:

Teaching my granddaughter to read was easy. Problem now is that she reads too fast. She doesn’t remember what she read and most of the time her voice doesn’t change even reading quotes. I’m trying to get her to pause when she comes to punctuation marks. I hope to find some help here. Any ideas? Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, yes, Joni! We have help for this as it’s a fairly common problem as children start to get confident in reading.

First, take a look at our 10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast blog post. You’ll find lots of ideas there to help.

Then, we have fun activities that help kids practice reading with expression in our Reading with Expression: 5 Teaching Tips and a Free Printable.

From personal experience, it can take some time to help a child get into the habit of reading with expression all the time. Have her read aloud to you for about twenty minutes a day (or less if she tires) and require that she do so with good expression. If she falls into a monotone, stop her and read some of it aloud to her with good expression and then ask her to reread it as you read it. The effort is worth it, as once she is reading with expression easily all the time, her comprehension will increase quite a bit.

I’d love to hear how it goes over the next few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions.

Debbie Farris

says:

Developing reading fluency with my son has been challenging. The confusing part is that some days he seems to read like it’s easy and other days it’s a real task and he is just not up for it. So as you can imagine I appreciate articles like this tremendously.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this is helpful for you, Debbie. Children, like everyone, have good and bad days. However, for students with learning difficulties, the differences between good and bad days seem to be much more noticeable.

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Benedetta M Terril

says:

I’m working with my almost-7 year old and this was so helpful!!

Katelyn

says:

Trying to get my 9 year old to read or do anything to do with schooling during this covid-19 stuff is exhausting. His reading is behind and im trying to effectively help him with a routine but i feel im failing

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katelyn,
Change, upheaval, being unsure of what comes next, all of these things make learning so much more difficult right now! You are not failing if you are doing anything during this turbulent time.

Establishing a routine for his days is a great idea. It helps create a sense of normalcy and allows him and you to know what comes next all day. Maybe try to get him involved in making the routine. Let him know what needs to be done and give him input into when it happens. Yes, most 9-year-olds will try to say play and eating all day long but can understand that work and learning need to happen too. Once you make a routine list, post it somewhere prominent in the home. Then stick to it as much as possible. If you decide reading needs to come before video game play, then no video games until reading is done.

But a word of caution, aim for a simple and gentle routine. Don’t overload the day or try to structure it too much hour-by-hour. This is new and likely temporary. Three or four things in the morning, then three or four things after lunch is probably good. Also, mix up the three or four things so it includes both activities he looks forward to and things he likes less.

I hope this helps some. Mostly I want to encourage you that it isn’t a lack on your or your son’s part. Things are hard on most all families right now. Let me know if you need anything or if I can help in any way.

Christie Wieme

says:

Very informative. Thank you!

Marisa

says:

Wow, what an informative article! Thank you s much.

Nancy Clelland

says:

Thank you for this article, it was very helpful!

Lia

says:

This was really helpful, thank you!

Cassandra

says:

I just ordered this for my classroom and I love it already! I can’t wait to begin using it with kids :)

Madelyn Wells

says:

Even as a certified teacher, I learn so much from your blog post. One of the greatest piece of advice I received from a mentor teacher was don’t reinvent the wheel…if something works, STEAL IT! Thank you for having a lot of things that my sticky fingers can pick up.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

That is great advice, Madelyn! I think I’ll be stealing it. 😉

Glad to hear our blog has been helpful for you!

Anna Graves

says:

We LOVE All about Reading! Great article!

Sheenah Pedersen

says:

Great article and so important for reading aloud!

Jacki

says:

All About Reading was the push my son needed to learn to read!

Sarah

says:

This was so helpful!

Bridget

says:

This is such a thorough description of the program! AAR and AAS are tremendously good programs. I have used them both for years.

Anna

says:

It was not my first time to browse the internet and look for pages , blogs or views on how I could be better in teaching reading. It has become my habit since it is a help for my work. I also want to make it a point that I apply it to my own child . I just had a view of one of the pages and I’m hooked. i am excited to try the activities and such to my learners and my child. I am really hoping to get to see more from these programs. Great work. God Bless!.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Anna! If you ever have any questions or need more information, just ask.

Kara Berryann

says:

Allowing my daughter to pick what she likes to read in the early years helped tremendously on her speech, vocabulary, pronunciation and then her plain interest in the content made her want to read. She’s 14 now and LOVES to read!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kara,
I love when a young person loves reading! There is so much to learn from and enjoy in the written word. 😊

zayra

says:

Love this idea!

Lynnette

says:

That was very good! I teach sight words and I enjoy it!! Thanks so much for all you do!! It has been fun to read this site and learn😊 Have a great Easter!!!

Heather

says:

My son struggles with reading. Fluency is a huge deal. We have been using several of these tips and the information to help him. We have been seeing an improvement.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know that your son is improving with these tips, Heather! That is great news. ❤️

Samantha Thomas

says:

I am very fortunate to be a homeschool teacher for my children. I really love the online downloadable free resources because it can be hard to find a curriculum. And since I am teaching a middle schooler, and Pre-K age children, I really love being able to teach them in a fun environment. Thanks for providing such great links and resources!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Samantha! If you ever need anything specific, just ask and I’ll do what I can.

Merysa Cortez

says:

This is amazing! I wish we had this when I was in school! :)

Kim Wheeler

says:

I love the idea of recording them while they read! My son will enjoy that! Thank you!

Karleen

says:

I appreciate the tips for teaching phrasing. This can be a tricky concept.

Becky Norvell

says:

I am so thankful for All About Learning. My son is dyslexic and our doctor and our tutor recommended this program for reading and spelling. He’s 8 and finally reading!!! We’re using it for the younger siblings too!! ❤️🙌🏻

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is so great to hear, Becky! Wonderful! I’m so happy that All About Learning Press is helping your son have success with reading. Keep up the excellent work! ❤️

Rebekah Bennett

says:

Great ideas!

Mandy

says:

Thanks for the great ideas!

Gabe

says:

I love the idea of recording themselves reading! This would help my kiddo who wants to speed read now that she is moving past the decoding stage.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Gabe,
That desire to read very fast once they start to get comfortable with reading is so common! They get the idea that good readers read fast when that isn’t always so. If you haven’t seen it already, check out our blog post 10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast.

Audrey

says:

I need to work on this with my girls!

Donna M Lindell

says:

Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how many sites promising the secret to teaching my grandson, ended up just promising to take my money. I’ve already learned so much here! I don’t mind paying for things, but I’d rather spend my money on something honest.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Donna,
I’m pleased you found this helpful. If you have specific concerns or questions, just let me know and I’ll help as best as I can.

Hannah Reardon

says:

Great ideas! I have a 7 year old son who is struggling to read.

Amber

says:

This is exactly what I needed. Tank you so much. For weeks .I have been looking up fluency exercises but what my child really needed help with is deciding . This is the first blog that helped me see that.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Amber. Yes, decoding must come before fluency. Let me know if you need more help or have questions.

Julie

says:

I have a child who struggles with fluency, and one who is not interested in learning to read at all. I am always looking for helpful tips and suggestions to encourage them. I will be trying some of these ideas. Thank you!

Larra Hanzel

says:

Wonderful information! Grateful to have this program.

wendy okeefe

says:

Great info!

Jenna

says:

My 3rd child only started succeeding at comprehension, when fluency took off. We are so thankful for AAR!!!

Jodie

says:

We have been using AAR and AAS for two months now. My 8 year old dyslexic son had been receiving special services at school but was not improving at all. I started with AAS 1 and then purchased the AAR 1 readers for fluency practice. He read all of the stories in less than a week and was so proud that he finished a “chapter” book. We have finished AAs 1 and are now 14 lessons into AAR 2. His fluency has slowed down due to more challenging lessons. I am trying to get him to reread the stories in the readers, but he insists on reading his Pokemon readers (which are not phonetic or decodable at all!). Nevertheless, he is doing well with them. I am very glad I discovered AAR and AAS as he is still learning while out of school, and will most likely be caught up by the time school starts up again. I am trying to record him reading a story to send to his teacher, but so far he is reluctant. He did enjoy knowing phonogram sounds and spelling rules that his older sister did not know!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It was so exciting to read about the amazing progress your son has made in such a short time, Jodie! Definitely keep up the amazing work!

I do want to let you know that the All About Reading 2 Readers don’t match up to the All About Spelling Steps as straight-forwardly as things did in level 1.

For the AAR 2 volume 1 Reader, What Am I?, the matchup is as follows:
Step 2 – “Twist and Stomp” and “The Grump”
Step 5 – “An Elf in the Swiss Alps”
Step 6 – “Open Rink” and “Broken Robot”
Step 9 – “The Bake Sale”
Step 10 – “Matt the Musk Ox”
Step 11 – “Skunk Hotel”
Step 12 – “Champ”
Step 13 – “Pine Tree Pet Shop”
Step 14 – “What Am I?”
Note, the stories “Bantam Spy Club,” “Whale Songs,” and “Jake the Snake” correlate with AAR 2 but use concepts from AAS 3. You can skip those or add them in for fun reading.

For the volume 2 Reader, Queen Bee:
Step 15 – “Ruben and the Secret Gift”
Step 15 – “Mrs. Marvel’s Garden”
Step 17 – “Storm in the North”
Step 19 – “Dragon in the Wagon” and “Under the Carpet”
Step 21 – “Pumpkin and the Kitten”
Step 23 – “Wild Rice Harvest”
Step 24 – “Rawhide”
Step 25 – “Queen Bee”
Note, the stories “In My Backpack,” “Oh Brother!” “Cricket’s Picnic,” and “Life on The Blue Whale” correlate with AAR 2 but use concepts from AAS 3. You can skip those or add them in for fun reading.

Pamela Baker

says:

My six year old LOVES All About Reading!

Evie Ring

says:

This, so much this!!! Fluency is key, and so is practice.

FaithNadine

says:

We have books everywhere. Once a child starts to decode, his confidence increases.

Athena

says:

AAR has really helped my child who struggles with fluency. It’s an excellent program.

Sabrina

says:

I love the idea to give good role models. It so much fun to tag team read with your child. Decoding, word fluency and learning to read might be my favorite early learning phase!

Julie

says:

Reading is Fun

Valerie

says:

I love your program, it really helps me that it is scripted. I am not a good at spelling . I feel very confidant with your program, teaching my children and learning along with them .

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Valerie,
I love that our program helps you feel confident in teaching!

Sarah Masters

says:

Thank you for this great info and wonderful resources!

Savannah

says:

I want my daughter to love reading like I do, but it’s very challenging as she seems to like videos and games more, and tons of other distractions in the world right now. I combat this by reading to her every night, and talking about what the stories we read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Reading aloud to your daughter is a great way to start building her love of reading, Savannah!

Jordan Taylor

says:

The phrasing concept is SO helpful. And the sheep game looks like fun!

Samantha Wu

says:

Never considered phrasing before. I’ll give it a try

Katherine

says:

I love the idea of having my child record herself! I’m gonna give that a try. Question: I’m interested in All About Reading for my child, but she’s beyond beginning level. How do I know where to start her?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good question, Katherine. We have placement tests to help you determine the best level to begin with.

After you go over the tests with her, let me know if you have questions or need further help to decide where to start.

Jodi

says:

Great article and helpful suggestions that I plan to implement!!

Katy

says:

Thank you for communicating these principles, so important in order to effectively teach reading and build strong readers!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Katy. 😊

Sharon

says:

Wow! This is really impressive.

Jenn ruiz

says:

Wow! That had to be the most comprehensive article ive ever read about reading fluency. Great job!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Jenn!

Kassi Johnson

says:

Great Suggestions as we are trying to work on fluency with our son!

Kelly

says:

This was really helpful! We are definitely going to try the record suggestion.

Amanda

says:

Great post! Thanks for the ideas!

Tracey

says:

I loved this arrival! My oldest is starting to add various tone and inflections, but still struggles a bit. I learn some additional tips to help him and will employ them our next lesson.

Amy

says:

Reading fluency is very important.

vladimir

says:

nice tips thanks for sharing

Faith B

says:

I’m working with my Dyslexic child to improve her fluency and this has some good resources

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad this is helpful for you, Faith. We have a Dyslexia Resource page that you may find helpful as well. Let me know if you have any questions or need anything.

Sally

says:

This is really helpful. I’m excited to get our kits to help my daughter. Thank you!

Charlotte P

says:

I’ve been working with my four year old granddaughter to learn to read and it’s not going as easy as it did when I taught her mother and my other adult kids. I always used phonetic and whole word but apparently there are other ways to teach kids to read these days that might be more effective. I really want her to have a love of reading, like the rest of the family does.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Charlotte,
While some children learn to read at four years old, most children simply aren’t ready until they are a bit older. In the meantime, you could work with your granddaughter on reading readiness skills and read aloud to her frequently to build her love of books.

Ashli Butler

says:

Teaching my child to read has been the most rewarding experience! Thank you AAR, for this spectacular journey you have provided to make learning to read simple & fun!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s wonderful to hear that All About Reading has worked out well for your child, Ashli! 😊

Amanda Ruchte

says:

Thank you! I needed this.

Brandy Pethel

says:

AAR and AAS have made a huge difference in the confidence and ability of my daughter. My only regret is that I didn’t find it early enough and started on reading level 2.

Meagan Gonzales

says:

love this. Thanks for the help.

Bethany C

says:

Love the idea about phrasing. I think that’s our next step. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Bethany,
Another way to build phrasing is with a variation of buddy reading called “echo reading.” You will read a sentence with good expression and two, or three, distinct phrases. And then your child reads the same sentence matching your expression and phrasing as closely as possible. Do this for just three or four minutes a day, or whatever is a comfortable length of time for your child. Add in lots of praise when your child shows even a bit of improvement.

I’d love to hear how it goes! Let me know if you need anything.

Beth C.

says:

Love that idea. I’ll add that in too. Thank you!

Daniela

says:

The discussion before the story gives the kids time to think about the topic and when they read it they connect the read with what they are famikiar with, so it’s a great way to develop fluency and comprehension

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Daniela,
Yes! This sort of discussion both before and after reading a story is very effective for comprehension. Even in college, my son was taught to skim a chapter for bold words, headings, and so on so that they know what the chapter is about before starting for much the same purpose.

Jodi

says:

Thank you. This helped explain fluency and what to expect.

Laura

says:

Thank you for this! Excellent resource!

Svetlana

says:

My son is a struggling reader and using All About Reading has really improved everything for him including reading fluently. I love to see him slowly want to read instead of tears.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, Svetlana, this is wonderful! I love that All About Reading his helping the tears to go away and slowly building a desire to read.

Lee Anne

says:

We are about to finish level one 🙌🏻 and I’ve been amazed at how easy and effective AAR has been for us! What a joy to see my daughter dive Into the world of reading! Love the resources and support available here as well! Thankyou!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Lee Anne! I’m pleased to hear that All About Reading has worked out so well for your daughter.

brandy trover

says:

great information. thank you

Jess Beck

says:

thanks for the help!!

Eryn

says:

Thank you for such a wonderful curriculum and for the additional resources and blog posts. It is ALL so helpful!

Becca

says:

My daughter was struggling with reading but after a year of AAR she is taking off!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is great, Becca! I love that All About Reading was helpful and your daughter is now succeeding in reading!

Erika Sirella-Perez

says:

Love the different techniques used! I like how it’s broken down into different parts of reading fluency, so that it’s easier to learn and understand.

Shelli

says:

Love this so many good tips

Stephanie A.

says:

This is very helpful.

Angie

says:

Thank you for the great resources and giveaways!!!

Tiffany

says:

Thank you for helping us teach our children!

Chynna W

says:

Good read. I currently have an emerging reader and 2 younger children.

Leighann H

says:

This was a good refresher for me. My daughter struggled with reading for a long time. She loves it now! Her reading is so much better! I’m going to have her record herself and listen to see if that helps her polish it up this last bit.

Carrie Phillips

says:

This is great! Thanks for sharing these ideas

Emily

says:

Great info as we step into the reading years of homeschooling!

Marina

says:

We love AAR program!!!!

Sarah

says:

This article was very helpful, thank you!

Kyliegh Romine

says:

It took a while for my 7 year old to become fluent in reading. Once we switched to phonics program she caught on really fast.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Fluency can take a while for some kid, but it’s great to hear that your child is doing well now, Kyliegh.

Sharon

says:

Reading fluency is key to unlocking all manners of learning!

Sarah Anthony

says:

We tried a couple other programs with my oldest kids. Now we are teaching our 3rd child and we only use AAR. She came up with a great idea that helped her and all of my other kids with their fluency pages. They all grumble when they get to a lesson with fluency pages. Laminate the fluency page and give them a dry erase marker while they are reading. As they go let them cross each word off. This helps them know where they are and it makes it “fun”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great idea, Sarah! There is definitely a lot of satisfaction to be gained from crossing something off!

Janelle

says:

Thanks for teaching us how to teach our kids!

Amy

says:

Great read. Thank you.

Robin Butler

says:

Thank you for the thorough direction and useful internal links throughout the article.

Jessica Andrews

says:

Thank you for your amazing curriculum!

Chelsey

says:

Thank you for this article! So much great info. We love AAR.

Rebecca

says:

I have been thrilled to watch both of my girls developing fluency in their reading as we are working though All About Reading (Level 1 and Level 2)

Rachel

says:

Love this article!

Valerie

says:

We are loving AAR. My daughter’s fluency has been improving greatly.

Jen Davis

says:

I wish I would have found AAR sooner for my two boys who struggled to learn to read. We love it for our two youngest who are now learning to read.

Kelli Hager

says:

We have been loving All About Reading!! My daughter is learning by leaps and bounds!!!

Faith

says:

So excited about the giveaway!

Isabelle L.

says:

Love your reading program. It has done wonders for one child in particular. Worth the cost! Thanks you for creating an avid reader…

Darnetta

says:

We’ve loved AAR. We are moving to level 3 and the fluency exercises have really helped my kiddos!

Michele D

says:

Great article. I have always emphasized how important vocabulary is to reading.

Anna McCrary

says:

Great tips!

Charlene

says:

Thank you! These are some great ideas!

Marie

says:

My son is excellent at decoding but needs work on fluency! Thanks for these tips!

Tamara

says:

Such great info! Thank you!

Elizabeth George

says:

We are new to homeschooling and this program sounds amazing! I like the idea that he can record himself reading to hear himself. Amazing!

Kelsy Crutchfield

says:

Good ideas here!

jackie

says:

thank you for your wonderful information

Amy

says:

Thank you for this article. My son likes to sound out every word – he naturally tries that first before using his bank of sight words that he knows. Any suggestion besides constantly asking him if he recognizes the word?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good question, Amy. Some kids really need a lot of extra practice in the decoding stage, so spend as much time as needed and try not to worry if your student isn’t reading fluently just yet. Some children may need to read a word thirty times or more before they can read a word fluently without having to sound it out. The overall scope of fluency described here takes time.

One thing that helped my daughter to transition from sounding out every word to reading fluently was rereading each story two or three days in a row. We did a lot of Buddy Reading during those years too.

Please note, the goal is not to encourage students to memorize each word. There are too many words in English for that to be effective and it also leads to word guessing. The goal is for your son to be so good at decoding that he can do it instantly without thinking about it. This instant decoding is why you can read a nonsense word like yat or mollin without having to slowly sound them out. Our blog post on Sight Words: What You Need to Know discusses this instant reading and includes a very interesting video.

Are you using All About Reading? Here are some tips to also help him transition from decoding to fluency.

The Change-the-Word activities in the Teacher’s Manual are especially helpful for working on blending and paying attention to all the sounds in a word. Change one letter at a time, starting with simple 3-sound words like: bat-sat-sit-sip-tip-top…and so on. This activity is also really helpful for working on consonant blends like ST and BR when you get to those lessons.

The AAR word cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep word cards in daily review until your student can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The word cards will stack up as you go–just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. And here’s a fun little video explaining what to do when the cards stack up.

The fluency practice pages can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our 16 Ways to Make Practice Sheets Fun. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear how things go after some implementing some of these ideas. Let me know if you have questions.

Amy

says:

Thank you for responding! We currently don’t use AAR :-( we use all about spelling and love it. I’ve struggled with the cost of the program and so I‘ve used a few programs and we switch back and forth when he stalls out on a program. He gets to a point where he just can’t progress so we step back and do something else for a while. Maybe I’ll reconsider using AAR. Thank you so much for the encouragement and ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Even without AAR, the ideas here can be adapted to other programs. You have the tiles for All About Spelling, and you can see how the Change-the-Word activity works in the AAR 1 Teacher Manual sample on page 39. If the program you are using has stories, you can have your son reread them. You can make flashcards like AAR word cards and do fun games and activities with them.

Sara Zielinski

says:

Great article on reading.

Will G

says:

This was a worthwhile read.

Erin

says:

This was really helpful!

April S.

says:

The fluency sheets helped my kids immensely.

Mary

says:

Not sure if this applies but when my daughter is reading, she seems to have an excess of saliva and has to pause and suck it in? No big deal, she’ll grow out of it? Or do I give her some techniques to help minimize it?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Oh, it happens to the best of us, Mary.

It has to do with learning to read at a normal speaking pace, a pace and pattern that we are accustomed to doing and allows us opportunity to swallow. Assuming she doesn’t have this problem when she is speaking normally, such as telling about something that happened to her, then I think she will naturally have this problem less and less as she gets more and more practice reading aloud.

Does she possibly read quickly? If so, our 10 Solutions for Kids Who Read Too Fast will help. I read fast when I read silently. Occasionally when I begin to read aloud to my children, I find I have the same problem your daughter has and I have to remind myself to slow my oral reading down to a more natural speaking pace.

I hope this helps some, but I do think it will be fine.

Jessica White

says:

Thank you! My kindergartener is definitely struggling with fluency and these tips are great!

Alice

says:

Thank you for the insight and advice!

Michelle

says:

Great article!

Monica

says:

Thank you for all the help! Such great strategies for parents.

Jane

says:

I like the progression toward fluency that AAR provides. I’ve also noticed that reading aloud helps then figure words out better. For awhile they were reading the stories from their AAR book to their Nana over Skype…I should probably start that up again 😁.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Reading the same story more than once is a great way to build smooth, fluent reading! And reading aloud to an appreciative audience like Nana makes it such a fun, social activity too. 😊

Jayne

says:

Thank you for this article. My eldest has been an eager reader and both AAS and AAR helped us a lot. This reminded me that it has been mostly time spent together that encouraged reading and that I should give “us” time again.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m happy you found this helpful, Jayne. Enjoying books together is such a wonderful way to encourage a love of reading that lasts a lifetime! 😊

Kathleen

says:

i love the idea of putting sentences into expressions for fluency instead of one long line or a continual text. this system is amazing. well done.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Kathleen! 😊

Thu

says:

Just a word to say thank you to you, MARVELLOUS!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you! 😊

ilkem

says:

Hi! Thank you for this enlightening ideas! My colleague and I are second language instructors of English and wonder if reading aloud in a second language may increase reading comprehension for that language as well. The theory mostly suggests that reading aloud mostly develops pronunaciation but not comprehsion (nor for native language but if you study this language as a second language) Do you know of any studies that support that reading aloud may yield positive results while learning another language? Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Excellent question, Ilkem. I know that listening to books read aloud in the language you are learning is helpful for comprehension of spoken language from personal experience. I don’t know if it affects reading comprehension or know of any studies about that. I will look and ask around the office and get back to you.

ilkem

says:

Dear Robin,
thanks a lot for your quick reply. Yes it is right, it helps to understand the spoken language as it functions like listening. It will be great if you come up with sources if there are any.
Cheers!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ilkem,
I spent some time researching and I asked Marie. I found one article that showed reading aloud to students learning English helped improve their own reading comprehension. Here is the link. I’m sorry I couldn’t find more, but it seems that the effect of hearing books read aloud in English upon students’ own reading comprehension just hasn’t been studied much.

However, I also found a number of studies that showed that reading aloud improves many aspects of spoken language beyond just listening. It increased vocabulary, syntax, grammar and more, and the discussion of what was read aloud provided excellent opportunities to practice English.

Stephanie Leon

says:

Great strategies for parents to use with their children. I am an experienced teacher and I’ve never underestimated the role parents play in increasing their children’s fluency. Thank you

Sally Anderson

says:

I am so excited that I found you Mary Rippel. I can’t wait to use your spelling and reading tools. Thank you for being a great blessing to many.

Laura

says:

We really enjoyed AAR and are looking forward to using AAS.

Laura

says:

We really like AAR and are looking forward to using AAS.

Leigh anne

says:

We love this program!! My kids were “behind ” in school. When we pulled them out we started using AAS and AAR and now they are flourishing!

Jen

says:

Allyson, I can’t get the computer to let me leave a reply directly, sorry! Conquest Books sells all the AAS materials and is very helpful if you email them about something in particular: https://www.conquestbooks.co.uk/christian_books.php?menu_page=229

Kari Hanson

says:

This is super important!

Joe Krouch

says:

Great tips

Ceitleen

says:

Both of my children who have used All about Reading have excellent fluency and comprehension for their level. So thankful we used this curriculum… Household of of kids how love to read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is so great to hear, Ceitleen! Thank you for sharing how well your children are doing after All About Reading.

Sue

says:

Knowing the meaning of a word is so important. If “bat” is being read it makes all the difference in context and fluency. Is it a story about baseball or the animal? Great ideas!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, such a great point, Sue! Thank you.

Sara M

says:

Thank you for the tips, can’t wait to try them.

I really enjoy working in decoding skills with early years pupils (UK) and use AAR resources a lot I only wish I could get hold of the basic spelling kit and the manuals , they are hard to come by in the UK .

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Allyson,
I don’t know if you saw Jen’s post above about Conquest Books. They are UK distributors for the entire All About Learning Press product line and will be able to help you out.

Erica

says:

Great tips! Looking forward to using this program.

Rebekah

says:

Thanks for all the great tips! This program really works!

Monica and Charly Flores

says:

Great tips and app!!

Mandi

says:

Great tips!

Moira Langton

says:

Thanks for all the helpful information – so much to peruse, so little time!!!

Ashleigh

says:

Just what I was searching for. I needed some tips and help with my oldest and reading!

Kathryn Honea

says:

Great article. Reminds teachers about the basics of learning to decode first and then build fluency. This program sounds great to use with students who are on the borderline of becoming great readers. (special education) The last part of the school year can be draining especially when we are having to meet deadlines.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kathryn,
Yes, these last couple months of the school year can be difficult. Things need to be accomplished but you often lose your students’ attention too as spring edges toward summer. Hang in there. Let me know if you need anything.

Stacey

says:

This site is what I need to help my daughter increase her confidence in reading. Thank you for all the helpful information.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Stacey. Please let me know if you have questions or need anything as you help your daughter.

Christine Essex

says:

Excellent topic- thank you!

Tracy

says:

My six year old and I are really enjoying all about reading level one. He loves games with ziggy!

Sara

says:

We just discovered All About Reading/Spelling a few months ago. My 8 year old is just starting to become a bit more fluent in his reading…I think your idea about recording and having him assess himself (positive and negative) Will really help him. If he can pinpoint himself what he needs to work on , he is more likely to follow through. Likewise, he needs to hear for himself that he has made some great strides this year! Hopefully this will help us to press onward! Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sara,
Looking back to see how far they have come is a great way to motivate students. I liked to have my kids read a story from the beginning of the year near the end of the year. It was always so encouraging to them to see that a story that was difficult before was now quite easy!

As always, let me know if you have questions, concerns, or need help with anything.

Brandi B

says:

Really appreciate the information. It helps so much to have a place to get information .

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Brandi,
It is wonderful to me that you find All About Learning Press’ blog a place to turn to when you need information! I’m very happy you found our blog so helpful.

Janet

says:

Just to clarify from my last post-our sons ear infections weren’t treated properly because of the doctor-not us!! 😕

Janet

says:

Our son is 8 years old and is really struggling with reading. When he was little he had a lot of ear infections that weren’t treated properly, therefore he didn’t learn sounds like he should have. Sounds out words is a struggle and very frustrating for all of us. Please help!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Janet,
I suspected it was not your fault his ear infections weren’t properly treated, as from this comment alone I can see you are a concerned mother!

Have you had his hearing evaluated more recently? There can be a correlation between multiple ear infections in infancy and partial hearing loss and a partial hearing loss can explain difficulties in distinguishing sounds. A pediatrician can refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test and most insurances will cover it fully.

There are five foundational skills necessary for reading success. One of them is phonological awareness. This is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of language. This blog post explains what phonological awareness is and includes activities for strengthening them. If your son struggles with any of the items on the “quick check” from this blog post, let me know. This is the area a child that is having trouble distinguishing sounds is most likely to have difficulty with.

A second of the foundational skills necessary for reading success is knowing letter sounds well. Our blog post How to Teach Phonograms, and specifically our free Phonograms Sounds App mentioned in it, can help with that. Focus on just a few at a time, such as one vowel and three or four consonants. Only when he has those mastered should you introduce the next set, being sure to continue to review the first set occasionally.

Lastly, check out our blog post Helping Kids Sound Out Words. It details a procedure for sounding words out that helps students pay attention to each sound. The cumulative blending part of the procedure is particularly helpful for children struggling with sounding words out.

I hope this helps some, but please let me know if you have questions or need anything further.

Janet

says:

Thanks for the help! I am going to check out everything you suggested!!

Limor Tager

says:

Loved it!

Juliet

says:

Your website is wow,the very best. God bless you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Juliet!

Muhammad

says:

So helpful, can’t appreciate enough. These tips give me the required guide I need for my kids.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Muhammad! Let me know if you have any questions or need any help as you guide your kids.

Marie Coleman

says:

I will love it my child has ADHD

Katie

says:

My son took a while to get fluent but still struggles on occasion these tips may help thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katie,
If you have further questions or need more ideas or help, please let us know. Fluency is very important for ease of reading, enjoyment, and comprehension too.

Nona

says:

Great article. Helpful ideas.

Sally

says:

So many tips about reading fluency! Thank you!

Kimberlee

says:

I am a tutor and have been using Barton with my students for the past 3 years. However, I have found that most of my students are struggling with the massive amount of spelling rules that are included in each level. I have started the process of looking for a new program and am very interested in All About Reading. My questions for you are; Barton has every child start at level one and work their way up. Do you recommend this method or should I give my students placement tests and start at whatever level they pass? Also, do you have a book list for each level that would be appropriate reading material? Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kimberlee,
We do recommend that students be placed into All About Reading based on where they place on our placement tests. However, we also recommend having the student read a sample story from near the end of the previous level as a further confirmation. You want the student 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 the student) for the following:
– The student’s ability to decode the words in the story.
– The student’s ability to comprehend the story.
– Could the student fluently read the story with expression?
– Did the student understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Note, we do recommend that most students begin All About Spelling at level 1, although a few can begin at level 2. Which Spelling Level Should We Start With? will help you determine the appropriate starting place.

We do have lists of additional reading options for each level. However, we don’t know of another set of readers that will correlate exactly, so students may need help with some words in these books. Email us for the lists. In addition, our Activity Books contain tear-out fluency practice sheets, warm-up sheets, and activities for every lesson; they make great handouts to send home with students for reading practice. Other tutors lend out the All About Reading Readers so the students can read the next story at home for practice.

We have a document that details some of the considerations and practicalities of using All About Reading and All About Spelling as a tutor. If you are interested in seeing it, or have further questions, please email us at support@allaboutlearningpress.com.

Mindy

says:

Do you have any advice on getting a child to move past sounding out every letter? I’m having trouble getting him to see word parts he already knows. He also will sound out a word in one sentence and do the sounding out of the same word in the next sentence. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great question, Mindy.
There really isn’t a trick or technique to help a child transition from sounding out every word to being able to just see it and read it fluently. Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Students may need to read a word thirty times before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out!

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep word cards in daily review until he can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The Word cards will stack up as you go, so just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously.

The fluency pages can be re-used to build fluency as well. You might enjoy our “Top Tips” for using the Fluency practice pages. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

Lastly, students who struggle with fluency benefit from rereading the same story two or three days in a row to gain fluency and confidence. My daughter struggled with sounding out every word the first time through a story, the point that I had to take up buddy reading with her in order to help her be able to finish in one setting. However, by the third day reading the same story she could read it smoothly, rarely having to sound out more than a couple of words per page.

I hope this helps. Please let us know how it goes or if you need anything further.

Keri

says:

All About Reading has help my son tremendously. I love the tips in this article.

Rachel Rice

says:

I have been reading some of the comments. I thought that we were supposed to start AAS after completing AAR1. Is it pretty dependent on each individual child? My 7 year old son (2nd grader) is finally making progress in his AAR1. It has been a very difficult journey. He just didn’t have any interest to learn. I didn’t push him. He loved being read to so that is what we did mostly through Kindergarten. We finally finished Pre-Reading in 1st grade and he was excited! We have been plugging along this year in level 1. He is still pretty choppy and not fluent consistently. It takes about 2 days for us to make it through a lesson. I say all that to ask should I start him in AAS 1 or wait until we are finished with AAR 1? I think he would enjoy the added practice. He enjoys trying to spell things. It just never occurred to me to begin AAS1 until I was finished with AAR 1.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rachel,
Most children do best when they begin All About Spelling 1 after finishing All About Reading 1. However, it isn’t harmful to begin a bit earlier (or later, depending on the situation). Some children can benefit from starting All About Spelling 1 before finishing All About Reading 1; however, your student should be half way through AAR 1, or further, before beginning AAS 1. If you think he would enjoy learning to spell words, and he is at least half way through AAR 1, then go ahead with AAS 1.

However, taking two days for a lesson is an average to a faster than average pace for All About Reading 1. Most children need between 2 and 3 days per lesson, but some children need to take a week or more per lesson. If your son is having trouble with fluency and is still choppy, consider moving a slower pace through the lessons and adding in rereading of the stories. Rereading the same story 2 or 3 days in a row can go a long way to developing smooth, fluent reading. Students may need to read a word thirty times before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out, and rereading builds familiarity with the words and context making smooth reading easier.

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

Chantel

says:

Thanks for all the great advice!

Michelle J

says:

I can’t wait to try the recording program! Thanks for the tip.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Recording a child read is a great tool to help them understand why and how they can improve their reading. Also, it is wonderful to compare a recent recording from one months or a year ago, so children can hear how much they have improved!

Belinda

says:

I just want to say thank you for your spelling program. It has helped my dyslexic daughter so much!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We are happy this hear this, Belinda!

Rebecca Q.

says:

Thank you very much for all the wonderful tips. We are enjoying using this reading program and are really happy with how far my child has come in such a short period of time.

Ruby

says:

Wow thank you for all your ideas. I will be sure to try them.

olivera

says:

My 9 year old son struggles with consistent fluency. His reading is very fast and he often stumbles over or omits/substitutes words. However, his errors do not take away from the meaning of the sentences. He has a great vocabulary, comprehension and his spelling is okay. He just cannot keep a consistent pace. He detests reading aloud now since, “I know how to read mom!” I’m yet to convince him of the importance of reading aloud but he doesn’t mind reciting poems, quotes etc.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Olivera,
This a touchy point in reading. He is reading well and is ready to fly ahead, but he may still need to read aloud at time. If he is reading and comprehending well, you could consider saving him reading aloud for another subject. For example, he could read science or history aloud to a younger sibling, or even to you while your prepare dinner or something. He could get the practice, but it will be that he is helping you. It might help.

Samantha

says:

This was just what I needed to read. My son can read inside his head well but when he reads out loud it sounds choppy.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Samantha,
Reading aloud has it’s own set of skills necessary. It is possible for a student to read silently faster than he can easily speak, so when reading aloud he sounds awful. It takes practice to slow your mental reading down to your speaking pace, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. There are lots of opportunities for publicly reading aloud, and it’s nice to be able to do it well.

Kathy

says:

These are great ideas. And I can’t overemphasize enough the importance of reading aloud for children struggling with fluency (or just learning to read of course). I have 9 children and taught 7 of them to read without too many difficulties. One is dyslexic, so that was more challenging. And then along came my 9th child and I despaired of her ever learning to read. She has memory issues which means that she would not remember a word she just sounded out the line above when she saw it again. She learned her phonograms, and was great at segmenting words she would hear, but could not seem to go the other direction decoding words she saw with any speed. She got to the point where she could spell much better than she could read! Even AAR fluency practice would have taken hours for one page (of course I never let her go that long). Finally at the age of 9, my sister-in-law who specializes in reading, started skpe tutoring her. I did not have much hope because her methods were exactly the same as I had done with my other children EXCEPT she would also assign a new short story to be read over and over ALOUD until the reader could read it fluently. And something clicked, and even though she is not up to grade level yet, I have hope again. My child jumped from basically not reading to beginning 3rd grade level in about 8 months. So, keep having your reader read aloud, and try having them read the same passage over and over until they can read it fluently.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kathy,
Yes! Thank you for this! It’s very true. My youngest struggled greatly to develop smooth, fluent reading, and rereading the same story aloud to me two or three days in a row until she could read it with a good level of fluency made a huge difference for her.

Amanda Ritter

says:

Checking the text for new vocabulary and giving some foreknowledge has been a really helpful step in reading for us!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Thank you for sharing how pre-teaching vocabulary has been so helpful for you!

Jen Spencer

says:

I love how there is so much thought put into the layout of the pages for the readers! I need all the levels!

Maureen

says:

Thanks for the suggestion of writing a “swoop” under each phrase. We’re going to give it a try. :)

Merry

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, I hope it helps!

mangalam n.

says:

Thanks, really a very good idea to follow. Let me try with my kids.

Megan

says:

I love your books

H Britton

says:

I have not used your program before, but am interested. My 6th grade son reads, but not fluently. Where would you suggest he starts in your program so that he doesn’t feel he is using a program that is too young for him?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We have placement tests for All About Reading to help you decide which level would be best. Also, we recommend having your student read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. You want him 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 son) for the following…

His ability to decode the words in the story.
His ability to comprehend the story.
Could he fluently read the story with expression?
Did he understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Once you have an idea of what level he may need, you can look at our samples to see if you think it would be too young for him. Since he is already reading, it is unlikely that he will place below All About Reading 2, so it is unlikely that he will find the program to be too young.

Even if he does need to begin with All About Reading 1, to build a firm foundation, it can work. Here is what Marie, the author, recommends when tutoring teens (and it applies to pre-teens as well):

– Follow the new-concept lessons in the Teacher’s Manual, which include flashcard review, “Change the Word,” Activity Sheets, Fluency Practice, and reading aloud to your student. Approximately every other lesson is a “new concept” lesson, and every other lesson is a “read a story” lesson.

– In the Activity Book, you can skip the activities that your students might think are too young, but some of the activities in the upper levels would be age-appropriate; you can evaluate as you go. They are there to provide fun review activities for those that would need and enjoy them. As we state in the Teacher’s Manual, the activity sheets aren’t necessary for older learners. However, the fluency pages in the activity book will be very helpful for an older, remedial student to develop smooth, fluent reading.

– I and many other tutors include the readers, too. The Level 2 readers aren’t baby-ish. With regard to the Level 1 readers, sometimes it depends on the student. We’ve talked to tutors of adults, and the adult students are so happy to be able to read a story that they are thrilled to read the Level 1 readers. They don’t mind the content. But if you are dealing with a “cool” teen, you might want to stick with the fluency pages and wait until you get to the Level 2 readers.

I hope this helps. Please contact us if you need further assistance with placement or with using All About Reading with an older student.

Chelsea

says:

Thanks, I’ll give it a try.

Emily

says:

AAR has helped my 7 year old finally be able to read a story and remember what she read. It’s been 2 long years of struggling just putting CVC words together. We are half way through level 2 and I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Thanks for the tips.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Emily. Let us know if you have any questions along your way to reading success.

Sharon

says:

Thanks for the ideas. My son needs to practice fluency.

roslyn harris

says:

OK what do I do in this case. My son is almost through AAR 1 and still sounds out almost every word. We have not moved foward more than a few lessons since school started and I had him read some over the summer too. We have reread fluency sheets and stories read other decodable stories, and practiced word cards. He comprehends the stories and sentences he decodes. He laughs or smiles or makes appropriate side comments. He remembers all the rules and sounds he has learned and wants to learn new sounds. Do I stay stopped keep going or what? I don’t want him to feel bord stuck or discouraged. He doesn’t at this point. He can automatically read about 5-6 words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Roslyn,
Your son’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. 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 having to sound out just a couple words per page. The rereading of the same story or fluency page 2 or 3 days in a row really made a big difference for her.

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 29 of AAR 3. She needed to buddy read again at the beginning of AAR 3, but as from AAR 1 to AAR 2, the AAR 3 stories have gotten longer with more words per page. Now she is reading the stories alone 2 or 3 days in a row. 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 well beyond 10 minutes. She has finished a number of beginner chapter books already this year!

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

In short, moving from the choppy must.sound.out.every.word, to the smooth, fluent reading takes some children lots and lots of rereading the same stories and fluency pages. You can also play games with the word cards and redo activity pages for further review.

I hope this helps. Your son will get there. Let us know how things progress, or if you have further questions.

Roslyn harris

says:

I had thought about adding spelling but I don’t want to overload him he is only 5.5. He likes to spell and wants to read and is not at all discouraged. He does, like many children, hate the fluency pages. We have tried many ways of reading them but really he just has to read them :) He doesn’t really like school but he does not mind it when he gets down to it and really loves to be read to. Even chapter books. We started reading the all about Sam books in public domain. Just for some easy repetitive practice. The only new sound is ee so I told him that we says /e/.With my Orton training I know all the phonemes and don’t mind teaching some out of AAR order. He knows it now and can apply it else where. Did you find reading ba, bat, bam, bag. Or -at sat, cat, mat etc helpful? You know practicing rimes or initial vowel consonant blends in isolation helpful? I also read about singing c-a-t ect instead of choppily sounding it out as a help for getting from sounding out to fluency. What are your thoughts on this?
Maybe do aas 1 and some reading and fluency page practice each day? Starting with easier stuff?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Roslyn,
Yes, 5.5 years old is pretty young. However, since he does like to spell I would go ahead and try All About Spelling with him. Be willing to keep the lessons very short and light, however, if he needs that.

I found my daughter did better with the fluency pages if I made her read one for 3 minutes or so every single school day. Since it was daily, it never felt like a special drudgery but rather was just something to do daily like cleaning her room. Also, since it was only 3 minutes or so she knew it would be over quickly. You could even set a timer for this, and start with just 2 minutes a day.

His love of being read to may be what is helping him with comprehension so much. Listening comprehension does relate to reading comprehension. Keep reading aloud!

We do some work with things like ba-bam-bat-bag. We use Word Flippers for this, and for working with beginning blends like scr-scram-scrap-scrub. We also use them for some work with words that end the same such as ent-went-bent-sent. However, there are some cons with working too heavily with word families. This blog post discusses them.

I’ve not heard the idea to sing c-a-t, but I’m not sure how it would help. The child would still be sounding out, just more melodiously. I think it would fall under the “can’t hurt to try” heading, although I wouldn’t push it if your son was resistant.

I tried many things with my daughter, but rereading the same story 3 days in a row made the largest impact for her fluency. I did much as you suggested, working in AAS 1 each day and then had her read a fluency sheet for 3 minutes and then read a story, starting from the first story in AAR 1. She read each story about 3 days in a row, until she was able to read it with at least a moderate amount of fluency. Her familiarity of the story and the flow of the sentences allowed her to read the story fluently on the third day. As we progressed further through AAR 1 that second time, she was often able to achieve that level of fluency on the second day.

Do let us know how it goes.

ROSLYN HARRIS

says:

I think I will do the 3 min daily thing. I have said try to see how many words you can read in 3 min and he focused and liked it. Since it was short it was fine. I did order the spelling level one so we will try it. Even with the word flippers he sounds out each letter each time. I think I might model or explicitly teach some how the beginning or end is the same. He does most of the prereading games with his little sister and the one where he repeated back just the rime was harder for him than little sis do I think I will do more oral onset and rime work to perhaps just before a reading practice with it on the bord or flipper. Thanks for the ideas.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sounds like a great plan, Rosalyn. Do let us know how it goes.

Anita Z

says:

This is such a good program! I wish I had discovered it when my son was in Kindergarten. Would have saved us both a lot of tears! Working on fluency now and these suggestions have helped!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear you found this helpful, Anita. Let us know if you have any questions or need any help.

Jennifer Larson

says:

Thank you for these suggestions. I have been trying to help my 7 year old with her fluency after battling some reading issues in the beginning. The vocabulary thing really stood out to me. Today she stopped in her reader to ask me what 2 words meant. I wonder how often she does that when I’m not helping her read? She gets distracted easily so I can see her getting hung up on a word when she reads to herself. I think we need to do more reading out loud with her. We love AAR by the way! It has saved our daughter’s reading :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Yes! Reading aloud regularly is a very effective way to build a child’s vocabulary. This article discusses other ways to build vocabulary as well.

You may try to encourage her to come to you for help knowing what a word means when she is reading alone. You can do this by simply by being willing to offer help each time she comes to you. Don’t make it a big deal about going to a dictionary or anything. Just give her the meaning as simply as you can. There will be time for dictionaries later.

If she is motivated by lists (I have one that is), you could put every new word she learns on a list and see how long it gets. Don’t try to use the list to hold her to knowing the meaning of those words perfectly, but rather just as a motivating thing to show her how much she is learning. Anyway, a child motivated by lists will go out of her way to get more words on it. A child not motivated by lists will forget about it pretty quickly, but there won’t be any harm done.

Benjamin

says:

Comment: This topic is very very good and encouraging, thanks for that master way of teaching .
My question is how long can i spend reading aloud every day in order to read fluently?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Benjamin,
If you are asking how long a person should read aloud each do to a student in order to help develop the student’s fluency, then we recommend at least 20 minutes a day. This article starts with discussing what we recommend for teaching reading, but the second half of it discusses daily reading aloud to students.

We recommend the same 20 minutes or so for the student to be reading aloud to develop their own fluency as well.

I hope this answers your questions, but please let us know if not or if you have further questions.

This is a great article. I teach reading in grades K-3, and this is the first time I have been on this site. I plan to share this website with classroom teachers and with parents at upcoming conferences.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
Sharing our website with your colleagues is such high praise! Thank you.

Lynne

says:

Thank you for the reminder to read aloud every day. The more my kids learn to read, the less I am reading TO them. So thank you again for that fantastic reminder! And I really love the idea of audio books. I used to have a bunch of them when they were really little. I need to get a fresh batch of them that are up to date with their interests. THANKS!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Lynne. Listening to good literature well read is important for developing fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and more. Andrew Pudewa, from Institute of Excellence in Writing, calls reading aloud to children of every age “the number one most important thing you can do with your children to develop reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns.”

I am so grateful for this post and the valuable resources! My daughter is learning to read and i appreciate the tips on reading fluency. We are giving the app “Epic” a trial run and they have lots of audio books and a variety of kids books.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome! That app looks interesting for kids that have tablets. Thanks.

Sharon

says:

Reading aloud with my kids helped with my oldest’s fluency tremendously. Another thing we credit to improving his fluency? Poetry. Memorizing, reciting poems, etc, helped him pick up on the rhythm of a sentence, expanded vocab, etc.

Great article!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great tip about poetry, Sharon. Thank you for sharing it.

Renae Burks

says:

Helpful article for our stage of learning right now. Also, the tips/notes in the teacher’s manual for Level 1 seem to read my mind for what issues are arising and I have questions about. Thank you! My son and I are really enjoying the program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Renae,
We try to anticipate the kinds of questions and problems that may arise, and it’s great to hear that we have been successful for you. As always, though, if you ever have a question or issue arise that isn’t covered in the Teacher’s Manual, just ask!

Angie

says:

Fantastic article. Fantastic. I need to have my older children read out loud and do buddy reading. I am loving All About Learning. Thank you so much.

K Jason

says:

I never would have thought about teaching swooping. I knew reading out loud to my children was very important but this just reminds me to continue to add more reading family time to help the little ones. My oldest middle kiddo really struggles with the robot reading.

Chris Welke

says:

This is just what I have been looking for to help me with a student. Thank you

N. Lynn Schofield

says:

I agree with this post. These are what have really increased fluency in our family: 1. Audiobooks. If you get in the habit of playing them while the kids are playing or at bedtime, they can listen for hours a day. This is a great builder of vocabulary and sentence structures for writing, also. 2. Model by reading a loud often with expression. 3. Have the child re-read a sentence multiple times. The 2nd or 3rd time will be more fluent.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Lynn, for sharing what has worked to increase fluency in your family.

Jennifer Danner

says:

Yes! I agree. I have just started using audio books with my younger children.

Faye Yarbrough

says:

Love your posts and helps with all varieties of LA. Would like to try your curriculum with my 3, especially with our autistic. Hope I win your awesome giveaway!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Faye,
You may find our blog article on Teaching Reading and Spelling to Autistic Children helpful.

Ruby Caberte

says:

I was searching ways to help my 7-year-old child to read and love reading, then I landed here. This website has a lot of information and now I am here commenting about reading fluency. I want my daughter to become a fluent reader as well. Thank you for sharing your knowledge to us.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We are glad you found this helpful, Ruby. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Laura

says:

I love this program! I’ve been a public school teacher, mostly in kindergarten, for almost 20 years and am homeschooling my son now. I love that there are no gaps in this program. I feel confident that I am getting everything covered with my son. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing your experienced opinion, Laura! We appreciate it.

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.

Yvette

says:

Great tips!

Heidi

says:

Thank you

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!

Ashley Moore

says:

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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