Stop #summerslide: Reading Fluency (Elementary Edition)

I have read several excellent articles about how & why summer slide happens, how we can prevent it, and why it is essential that we do. I will be linking to those articles in a new blog post soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some tip sheets that I have been providing for parents of students across age groups and disability types. My first is for how to help reading fluency at home, for elementary-aged students. Of course, I encourage making tips more individualized (I often add specific texts and “What to watch out for”‘s for my students).

Reading Fluency Summer Homework & Tips

Girl reading book in library
  1. Practice, practice, practice! Encourage reading aloud at home as much as possible, preferably on texts that are easy for them. Some opportunities include: – reading directions to a homework assignment aloud – reading aloud to a younger sibling – reading anything/anywhere: a cereal box! A sign on the subway! – reading aloud something they have already read (this also encourages multiple readings, which is another fluency-enhancing technique!)
  2. Break down long words into syllables. Students with difficulty with reading fluency also have trouble with “word attack,” which means knowing where to begin when they get to a new word. You can do one of two things:
    1. Read the word aloud, then have your child count how many times their mouth hits their hand (which should be placed under their chin)
    2. Cover all but the first syllable of the word, then have them read that (“sub”), then cover all but the first two syllables (subma), etc.
  3. Discuss words and word parts:
    1. explicitly discuss words/syllables: “‘submarine,’ because ‘sub’ means under… like in “subway,’ can you think of another sub word?”
    2. any connections between word parts and/or word meanings is useful (it doesn’t have to be meaningful word parts. It can be thinking of 3 words that end in “tion”)
  4. Intonation: punctuation is your friend • be explicit about how punctuation helps us read. Point out that we pause at commas and periods, sound excited (get louder) for exclamation marks, and our voice goes up before questions marks • model appropriate intonation 
  5. Pair auditory information with written information
    1. this can be done easily with audiobooks ( has a bunch of free books, has a lot for $14.95/month, and is also a wonderful source of audio books and other resources)
    2. have them follow along as you read aloud



You can also download a 1-page handout of the Reading Fluency Elementary.

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