How I Increased Reading Fluency Scores

I have to brag, she beat her self-created sight word goal not just once but twice. She has DOUBLED her sight word knowledge since returning from summer break. 

She is a second-grade student who has struggled with her self-confidence when reading and just learning how to read for the last year.

She represents the students I teach reading to every day.

  • No self-confidence 
  • Beginning reader
  • No strategies
  • No sight word knowledge

Oh, but unlike others, they have increased their sight word knowledge by 50% in 15 weeks. They have self-confidence and strategies when approaching an unknown text. And classroom teachers, are seeing these changes when they are in guided reading.

How did I do this?

Most of the students I see during my day are beginning readers. Technically this means students reading Levels A-E. For students to read the book more than twice and NOT have the whole thing memorized, is a whole different problem.  (If you have looked, just like I have, then you know it doesn’t exist.)

Passage Reading with Sight Words to the RESCUE

These passages pick up where guided reading leaves off. My students love the fact they can read 90% of the words so they can focus on their reading fluency.

Each passage starts with a one-minute cold read. Students graph their score.

When you come back the next day, I help them practice the passage as many times they want before timing it again.

Students keep the same passage until reaching mastery. [Chick here to get yours.]


It works because students are placed in reading passages at their independent reading level. This means they are not struggling with every word like they would in most reading fluency passages.

I have written about Repeated Readings in the past as I create interventions--using John Hattie. My students love them and see each reading as a challenge to beat their score from the previous day. Tieing repeated reading with students doing their own data tracking has doubled their sight word scores and their grade level reading fluency scores.

Student’s get tripped up on the sight words and can practice them without having to worry about the remaining text.

The Sight Word Cards are a way to quickly practice 5, 10, or 20 sight words. Each card is just for five days. [grab your here]

Max does his card as soon as he comes in. He started with reviews his personalized sight word deck of 10 cards and then moves right into his Sight Word Fluency Card.

He has struggled with learning his sight words since first grade. He never thought he would learn to read; let alone learn to love it!

I love that students graph their own data. This creates ownership and by-in. It builds self-confidence. It builds a love of reading.

I do all this fluency practice at the end of my lessons because it only takes 10 minutes. In those 10 minutes, I get daily progress monitoring of IEP goals, plan reading instruction, and build fluency.

By providing students with daily sight word fluency practice where students track their own data so that their instructional reading levels increase. Hattie's data adds evidence to what has become my go-to addition to their core intervention program.

In my district carry over back to grade level curriculum is HUGE! If it doesn't close gaps or classroom teacher don't see progress--you can forget about holding the course.

For those last ten minutes of group I spend focusing on reading fluency and sight words, I have seen a growth in sight words, self-confidence to attack more difficult text, and growth on grade level reading assessments.

My Classroom teachers are reporting student spending less time in their guided reading text because students are demonstrating solid decoding accuracy that has improved reading comprehension.

Chat Soon,


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Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
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