Your student is done with decodable books (also known as phonics books). Now, he needs books for fluency practice. Fluency is reading speed. After a student learns single-syllable word strategies (words like light, sand, treat…etc.), he needs to pick up speed. There are specific books, called sight readers, designed to help kids read faster. Sight readers are written to help the second grade slow reader.
There are lots of fun sight readers available. I’ve outlined my favorites.
Books for Fluency Practice
Frog and Toad
A classic book series. Frog and toad are best friends. They live a simple life and learn timeless lessons together. Frog is the more optimistic one, always cheerful and encouraging. Yet, when left alone, frog is sad. Toad is the grumpier one, always hesitant to try new things, and questions nearly everything. Yet, toad has moments of wisdom and clarity. They make fun memories together and uplift each other. Frog and Toad show that friendship can unite people with different dispositions. That friendship is about laughing, listening, learning and having fun.
Frog and Toad is excellent for kids that are just breaking out of decodables. They are perfect beginning books for fluency practice.
Fancy Nancy is a humorous book series about a little girl that’s obsessed with everything fancy. She strives to be posh, and wears exquisite outfits, bejeweled tiaras and the occasional high heel or mermaid tail. She prefers French words like “bonjour.” When she realizes her family is plain, she tries to dress them up. Even her dog must follow strict standards of splendidness. Even if you’re the plainest person alive, you’ll start to adore Fancy Nancy. She is truly uniquely, fearlessly herself. And we all can admire her confidence.
Fancy Nancy is excellent for kids that have some exposure to uncommon sight words. They are a higher level than Frog and Toad. Yet, they are still excellent books for fluency practice.
Fox Series by Edward & James Marshall
Fox likes to make a fuss about everything. He doesn’t like to listen to his mom. His mischievous ways get him into trouble. Yet, sometimes his thirst for attention lands him an adventure. He gets to march in a parade and even gets on TV. Fox is also clumsy and he’s constantly tripping. When he falls, he likes to feign great injuries and yells for his mom to call the doctor. Everyone in the story knows Fox loves attention, and they all are amused by his hilarious ways.
The Fox series can have difficult stories to follow. It’s important to stop and have discussions to help aid reading comprehension. Fox are great books for fluency practice.
Pets to the Rescue by Andrew Clements
Pets to the Rescue is a book series about animals that save people’s lives. They are all true stories. Many kids love reading true stories. At the sight reader level, there aren’t too many true stories available. Kids that are trying to build fluency are often stuck on fiction books they don’t like. Pets to the Rescue is a great option for those kids who love animals and who think books like “Frog and Toad” are boring.
They are excellent books for fluency practice.
Break out of Books for Fluency Practice
There is no better way to build fluency than extensive reading. Encourage your student to read sight readers. Watch him gain speed. After they gain speed, immediately find books at a higher level. Breaking out of decodables is a very exciting step in the reading process. Breaking out of sight readers is equally exciting!
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