Getting your kindergarteners and first graders up to grade level in reading

Main pictures with kinder baby
This series of posts is about finding THE best materials for the ages and stages of a new reader. Sometimes a new reader is called and emerging reader. Most often these children are kindergarten and first grade students. I am excited to share what has worked with my own son and in my 15 years of classroom experience. I used a mix of sight words, phonics readers, and “real” books written by famous authors, web sites, guided reading, and passage fluency to help my son and students become readers! I am going to discuss each of these and the best materials I have found!
Passage Fluency will get them to grade level: 
I want to talk with you about passage fluency because I believe that this is a really great way to get your students to grade level! Have you ever stopped to think of why a student struggles with reading? Maybe you and I have had the same thought. “Everything they are ABLE to read is so boring! No wonder they don’t want to read!” What if someone came along and wrote engaging materials for young readers that really mattered in the real world?  What if someone wrote informational text that was readable at an emerging level and could help the kids reach and exceed grade level? Well, I did! I was tired of the kids reading “Go Cat Go” and “The Fish in the Dish” I wrote “materials that matter”. They are not just high interest topics, but they are topics that really matter in the real world of history and science.  Kinder winter material and first grade curriculum in my district starts with the ___at family, sight words (go, the, can, have, is, are, ….) and simple sentence writing using CVC words.   This is great, sweet, and teaches/ reinforces reading. But what if the kids could also learn SOMETHING while learning to read? What an IDEA! Enter  one of the best ways to help your readers get to grade level. You must do shared reading & passage reading otherwise known as fluency.
I created curriculum that supports three of the main areas for creating readers. The single-page passages are  2-5 minute quick reads. They are meant to be introduced whole group as a “topic we are learning about this week”. The pocket chart and passages match exactly are designed to be read several times daily over a week. I use a pocket chart (SHARED READING) from the start of first grade all the way through November. Kinders should use shared reading in a pocket chart or large paper chart format for the whole year. In first grade, I write the passage onto sentence strips and use the full color photograph cards that come with the unit as picture support on the pocket chart. The picture cards are hugely important since we teach emerging readers to check the pictures to help word solve and build understanding. Kids keep the single page passage in their homework folder  and at their desk to be read when they have time and when buddies come. (INDEPENDENT READING and  REREADING) Each unit comes with art, a thinking map, and writing prompt with lined writing paper to help kids express their learning and creativity! (PERSONAL RESPONSE) The art is really where the children “buy in” and I always display the art on the pocket chart to build anticipation and joy!
Slide1 The curriculum is differentiated to have picture clues for those who need it and those who do not.
Here is a sampling of the kindergarten passages.Slide3
Slide4 I have created a writing unit that springboards off of the fluency passage. My school is doing “Thinking Maps”, so of course I have included 1-2 thinking maps to go with each passage.
Here is a part that your students will adore. I have included a few art projects to really help the kinders buy in!Slide6
I have just shown you the kinder materials I have written for the last 8 weeks of kindergarten. This will help them be read for first grade.  I have written an entire year of first grade materials!
Re-reading is a way to become a better reader, just like shooting hoops will make you a better basketball player. But, I MUST caution you that if you are asking a child to read something multiple times then it needs to be meaningful material.  I wrote passages  for my kinder unit that can be read by a Running Record 4 or Level C/D, but the best part is that the material is meaningful! As a matter of fact most of it is social studies, science, and or real world based! These materials can be found in my Kinder, Fall, Winter, and Spring Units.  Fall of first grade starts with “ A Cat Can” leveled at D or Running Record 4. Kinder and first grade teachers, I want you to be able to try a week for free, so that you can taste what Kinder fluency and Fall of First Grade fluency is like. A Cat Can will suit kinders in the Spring or firsties in the fall just perfectly.
Freebie for K-1 Teacher to try out fluency

As they progress through the units, each week pushes the kids toward reading grade level expectations. By the end of the units they will be reaching the beyond the end of year 1st grade Running Record 16 into the 20 range which is mid year second grade. This is what I want for my “firsties”. I want them ready. I want them ahead of the game!Best materials for teaching readingThe best part about fluency is that it’s a game.  The daily objective is to just read more smoothly and understand few words more today than we were able to read yesterday! In my classroom, we read our passage together in the morning, after lunch, and we “buddy read” again it in the afternoon.  Kids also bring it home for homework. As kinders you might want to just focus on getting through the passage. Each day your little one should be sounding more smooth and reading with expression.
Fall fluency picks up where kindergarten leaves off. It takes your students from a Running Record4 / Level C/D on through to a Running Record 12/13. August, September, October, and November passages are included. 16 in all.
Slide1 Slide3
Slide5 Slide6
Now it pains me to not write PAGES all about fluency because I love it so much.  I adore it because I have seen fluency/ shared reading change  “almost readers” into “high fliers” ! I actually travel all over speaking about fluency. But I have written about it a whole bunch of times.
  • here {Spring Fluency}
  • here {Winter Fluency}
  • here {How to get started with fluency}
  • here {Teaching Comprehension and Fluency}
I am a fluency floozy, what can I say? I have seen it change my readers over the past 5 years. In that five years I have gained 10 more students bringing my total to 30 and had my guided reading time cut in half. What helped stand in the gap? Fluency. It’s a life saver! I have written fun classroom curriculum that has games, tools, and lesson plans as well. Click the picture below or {here} to see the Comprehension 101 unit.
Develop fluent readers who can comprehend
As a matter of fact, you can hear me talk about fluency at the SDE  I Teach 1st Conference!  I seriously love fluency and I kind of make everyone in the room love it too I have special mind powers, plus I’m super silly and have fun with it.
If you are going to be in Vegas on July 6-10 I will be speaking Monday morning.  I am ready to bring it Las Vegas style. You will be entertained and inspired to start fluency right away! Plus you can see my adorable new dress. That’s right! Every conference needs a new dress! I love speaking and meeting you and new clothes.
what Im wearing
Seriously, try fluency. It will change your non-readers into readers!
It's the last 8 weeks of kinder- the final push to get them to grade level- the unit will do it- Try a week for FREE