Rock the book

What you’ll need

  • A favorite book

What to do

Play this little fluency trick on your young reader. Next time you read to her, don’t pause for commas and periods. Instead, put pauses in strange places that make no sense. It won’t be long before your child stops you or begins snickering — ask her what’s wrong and get her to explain what you’re doing wrong.

Next, have her read the same passage the right way. Talk about how punctuation influences expression, and show how you pause at commas, stop for periods, raise your voice when reading sentences that end with question marks, and read in a character’s voice when there are quotation marks. As you continue reading, occasionally lapse and make a punctuation fluency mistake and see if your child catches you.

Hear the book

To help your child improve reading fluency, get audio versions of books your child is reading. (You can check out audiobooks at your library, or find them online.)

What you’ll need

  • An audiobook version of a book your child is reading

What to do

Have your child listen to the audiobook and follow along in the paper book as she listens. Pause the audiobook occasionally and ask her to read a passage aloud, imitating the pace and expression of the audio reader. Audio book tip: Roahl Dahl’s expressive reading of his many classics are wonderful examples of how fluency can make stories come alive.

High drama!

Perform a book with your child to improve fluency.

What you’ll need

  • A book with lots of dialogue

What to do

Pick a book with lots of dialogue and divide the reading according to character. You can read the narration if this keeps the pace. Ask your child to read with extreme expression and you follow suit. Explore how much you can add to a story just by changing your intonation. Do this throughout the book, expressing fear, excitement, boredom, etc.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Record your child reading aloud to improve fluency.

What you’ll need

  • A favorite book
  • Video camera

What to do

Have your child read her favorite book aloud as if she was reading to a group of younger kids. Record her and watch it together. Have her practice a few times, and have her read it again on camera with her best expression and fluency. We can’t promise the video will go viral on YouTube, but you’ll have a priceless keepsake.

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Updated: March 9, 2016