7 Favorite Fluency Picture Books
By Mary Montero
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You may have started hearing more and more about the science of reading, which is a body of research about how kids learn to read and evidence-based instructional practices on how to effectively teach kids to read. Though the research is becoming increasingly readily available and accepted, it isn’t new, it’s not a curriculum, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to reading instruction, and it’s certainly not just a trend in reading education!
Research shows that reading fluency is a direct indicator of comprehension success. In other words, when students can read fluently, they are significantly more likely to understand what they are reading. Multi-tasking is tough for even the most skilled readers. Building reading fluency and freeing students from the task of decoding allows them to build automaticity. This automaticity (fluency) allows readers to focus on the actual act of reading and enables them to put their energy and focus into understanding and synthesizing the text. We have to place a focus on building fluent readers if we want to build efficient readers who comprehend what they are reading.
With that in mind, how do we consistently practice fluency in the classroom?? I have so many different ways that I incorporate it, but one of my go-to ways to practice fluency is… fluency picture books!
Fluency Mini Course
I dug deeply into fluency and taught very specific lessons with each of these books during my mini fluency course. When you’re ready to dive into using fluency picture books to teach and practice fluent reading, you can enroll in this FREE fluency mini-course packed with easy, actionable lessons for teaching your students how to become fluent readers. It includes:
- Research and Rationale
- 5 Days of Lessons (Including detailed lessons for these books!)
- Daily Routines (Including Poem of the Week!)
- Instructional Activities
Fluency Picture Books
You know how much I love picture books, and these specific fluency picture books are perfect for practicing the five traits of fluent reading, which include:
- Expression (also known as Prosody)
- Use of Punctuation
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: These provide short snippets of texts for students to go back and forth reading and are essential for fluency practice.
Good Boy, Fergus: This is HANDS DOWN the best book I’ve ever seen for encouraging fluency and expression with oral reading! It is full of different types of punctuation and the entire book is one big chance for students to practice expression. You can also use No, David!
Once Upon a Book: This is an excellent book for expression as well, but it’s particularly good for speaking and teaching dialogue.
Nothing’s Wrong by Jory John: Jory John has crafted a lovable book, but it is also phenomenal for having students practice expression AND punctuation. I highly recommend this one!
Where the Sidewalk Ends: I use this (or any book of poetry) to practice using poetry to help students with expression, pacing and chunking of stanzas of words
Where Stars are Scattered: I love using graphic novels for teaching pacing, and this one is an excellent choice.
Words of Wonder from Z to A: Have students read each individual sentence (helpful for sentence-level comprehension and fluency practice) and synthesize to write their own definition of each word!
If you loved these fluency picture books and are looking for other great book suggestions to use in your lessons, try these!
Poems for Fluency
In addition to picture books, poems are also a great resource for modeling and practicing fluency. I use Poem of the Week to help my students read and comprehend poetry as well as fluency skills.
Each monthly poetry set includes 4 original poems and comprehension questions that range in complexity, making it easy to differentiate. Each poem is accompanied by thoughtful tasks to help students focus on their oral reading fluency and reading comprehension.
Here are some ideas for how to use Poem of the Week:
- Give the poem to your students on Monday and take 2-5 minutes each day to practice reading it out loud for fluency practice
- Use as a whole class poetry comprehension activity or lesson
- Use to extend learning
- Perfect as a literacy center
- Differentiated poetry comprehension practice
More Fluency Resources
I’m so glad you are here. I’m a current gifted and talented teacher in a small town in Colorado, and I’ve been in education since 2009. My passion (other than my family and cookies) is for making teachers’ lives easier and classrooms more engaging.