Fluency for 3rd Grade

What is Fluency?

Child reading on stage.

Fluency is the ability to read accurately with reasonable speed and expression while understanding what is read.

In third grade, readers can read aloud text, prose, and poetry, improving their reading rate, accuracy, and expression with each attempt. They can monitor their own comprehension and recognize when re-reading is necessary.

What Does it Look Like?

Does your third grader read smoothly like this?

Here's an example of a parent reading fluently to her daughter.

Practice Activities

Choral Reading: Practice reading the same text aloud chorally (together and in unison) with the child.

Echo Reading: Model expression while reading to the child.  Then, have the child read the same sentence or phrase fluently.  Watch Echo Reading.

Let’s Get Cooking: Select a recipe to make together.  Request that the child reads the directions for each of you as you complete each step of the recipe.  Take notice if the child misses a word, correct, and have the child re-read the sentence.

Challenging Word Challenge: Read together.  As the child misses a word, write it down on a piece of paper.  After you are finished reading, review each of the missed words and help the child figure them out by breaking them down, looking for the smaller word, and/or sounding out.  Use the words in a variety of games such as: trying to beat a time limit to read all words quickly, making duplicates and playing memory, or finding words that have things in common such as “ends in ing".  Repetition with the unknown words can help your child more readily recognize them in the future.

Model Reading Fluency: Use the following tips for Reading With Expression:

  • Read expressively: talk the way the story's characters would talk; make sound effects and funny faces; and vary the pitch of your voice throughout the story to make it more interesting.
  • Expressively reread when you notice words like “shouted”, “cried” or “laughed”.
  • Expressively reread when you notice the punctuation such as ! and ?.
  • Enjoy the time reading together! Do not rush.
  • See reading with expression here.

mCLASS Home Connect: Access Accurate and Fluent Reading activities to practice reading at home or on the go here.

Practice Activities (with Printables)

If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.

Chunky Passages: Practice reading text in meaningful chunks, then reread it fluently without separation.  Chunky Passages

Fast Phrases: Stack cards with printed phrases face down.  With a phrases correct per minute sheet, record how many phrases are read correctly with a goal to increase speed and accuracy.  Fast Phrases

Reading for Understanding: Use the information on the provided bookmark to learn about strategies to increase fluency during read aloud, including alternated reading and reading together.  Watch Reading for Understanding.  Reading for Understanding

Reader's Theater: Assign parts of reader theater's scripts to family members and friends or have the child read each character's lines with expression.  Reader's Theater

Online Activities

Models of Fluent Reading: This resource provides opportunities to see illustrations and listen to books read fluently.

Echo Reading: This resource provides books to practice echo reading with your child to build fluency.  Each book has a speaker symbol at the bottom of the page.  Push the speaker for the child to hear the page read aloud.  Then, have the child echo the reading to practice reading with expression as if they were talking to someone.

Say What: This game provides a space for children to create their own silly stories, blindly choosing from nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Read the story created and reread to increase fluency.