Reading for fluency is the ultimate goal when it comes to reading instruction. One of the most important skills we practice with beginning readers is reading short vowel words with fluency. Fluency is the ability to read text quickly and accurately. When students gain an understanding of word families and start to see “chunks” or patterns in words, they become better readers.
Instead of sounding out each phoneme, or sound, in the word, they are able to transfer what they know about “chunks” and apply it to their reading. This helps them gain confidence as they begin to read more difficult texts. Reading short vowel words is a great way for your students to practice reading accurately and fluently!
Keep in mind, we don’t want students to rush and read super fast, but with little accuracy. I like to talk to my students about reading at a “just right” pace. Not too slow and not too fast. To help them understand this concept, you can model reading super fast and super slow. They will think it is hilarious, but it will also help them understand the importance of reading at a steady pace.
Reading Fluency Practice
Reading for fluency takes a lot of practice and exposure to text in different forms. There are many ways to work on reading short vowel words. The more opportunities students have to apply their skills, the better readers they will become. We use these activities during literacy centers and guided reading groups. They follow the same format for each short vowel, so my students know exactly what to do every time we introduce a new vowel sound. This allows them to jump right in and work on their skills instead of learning a whole new activity.
I put together word family fluency cards to help my kiddos practice reading short vowel word family words. I grouped all the word family words onto a ring for my students to flip through and practice reading. The repetition will encourage them to read for fluency and they will have fun flipping through the cards and rocking their words. This would be a great activity for students to do during your reading time, but also as an early finisher activity or a quick assessment.
The word family “chunks” are color coded to help your students see each chunk or pattern in the word. This visual aid is very helpful for students and they will eventually recognize that “at” says /at/ and they won’t need to sound out each letter every time. These fluency rings will help them accomplish this skill.
These cards can be copied onto colored paper too. To help differentiate each word family, just choose a different color for each one. Some words also begin with blends, so when your readers are ready for more of a challenge, they can practice that skill. You can laminate these cards to make them more durable and easy to clean.
Roll and Read Practice
We also work on reading for fluency with these roll and read pages. The students love getting to use dice in the classroom. It makes it feel like a game for them! In our classroom, we love to use the large foam dice from the Dollar Tree because large dice make any game fun! Plus, they are much quieter and easy to keep track of than hard dice.
I keep the word family pages in sheet protectors and place them all in a 3-ring binder. You can use these roll and read activities during literacy centers, as a quick practice before reading groups, or as an exit ticket at the end of your reading group time.
I introduced this game during guided reading groups. My students took turns rolling the dice, finding the matching number on the paper, and touching each word as they read it. This is a great activity to work on one-to-one correspondence. Some of the students who knew 0 letters and 0 sounds at the beginning of kindergarten were reading like champs! #happyteacher
We call this the “dice game” so that there is less pressure when we are learning how to read. It’s just a game, after all! Here is a short video of one of my students demonstrating how to play the game. Since we were just working on the “at” family words, we only used that mat. As we learn more word families, we use more. Before you know it, your students will be flipping through and completing all the mats and reading fluently!
Want to try out these activities? You can grab the “at” family fluency freebie to try in your classroom by clicking the link below!
You can find the rest of the fluency families short vowels words in my store!
Reading Long Vowel Words
Once your students are rocking their short vowel word fluency, they are ready for a challenge. Check out these resources to help them practice reading long vowel words for fluency!