Fluent readers not only sound more expressive when they read aloud, but they also comprehend the text far better than those who are not as fluent. That makes perfect sense when you consider how much energy a reader wastes when he or she has to slowly decode every word in a passage.
To help my 5th graders track their progress in reading fluency, I developed a partner activity that can also be used as an informal oral fluency assessment. It worked so well that I wanted to share it with you as a freebie. You can find Graphing Oral Fluency on my Balanced Literacy page on Teaching Resources. The packet includes student directions, the Oral Fluency Chart, and the Fluency Rate Line Graph. You’re welcome to use it with your own students, but please remember that it’s an informal tool for tracking fluency and it’s not a research-based assessment tool.
Freebie for Graphing and Tracking Oral Fluency
When I introduced the activity to my class, I explained why reading fluency is important and modeled how a fluent reader might sound as compared to a reader who is not as fluent. Then I showed them how to time each other for one minute as they read aloud, and how to help each other calculate the average number of words they read per minute.
We also discussed the fact that being fluent doesn’t mean speeding through the text with no errors; good readers also read with expression and enthusiasm, adjusting their reading rate and volume according to the meaning of the text. To help them become more aware of this aspect of fluency, I explained how to use the “Expressive Fluency” self-assessment rubric located under the Oral Fluency Chart.
Finally, I showed my students how to plot their oral fluency rate on a line graph and record their expressive fluency rate at the bottom of the page. My students completed this activity every few weeks and plotted their improvements over time.
Because my students were 5th graders, they could handle this activity as a partner assignment in a literacy center. Younger students would probably need a teacher assistant or parent volunteer to administer this assessment one-on-one.
Classroom Goal Setting and Data Tracking
The Oral Fluency Chart and the Fluency Rate Line Graph make great additions to student portfolios and “data binders.” If your school is implementing a classroom goal setting program, you’ll find oral fluency to be another area where students can set goals, create action plans, and track their progress. If you haven’t seen the resources in my Goal Setting and Data Tracking Journal Combo, click the image below to check them out.
Remember that you can download the Graphing Oral Fluency freebie from the Balanced Literacy page on LauraCandler.com. I hope these resources help your school year get off to a great start!