These are all the focus points for reading fluency.
Six Strands of the Rubric
Most teachers working with emergent level students often use what they refer to as "sounds" to teach students letters and words. Reading fluency does require the use of sounding out letters and other components such as word families (e.g. -an sound in can). All of this falls into phonics (i.e. the relationship between sounds and written symbols) and phonological awareness (i.e. sounds in spoken words). This is a part of the pre-reading skills that we teach our students, and you can use many of these strategies when reading decodable texts in elementary classrooms. For further information, you can find an explanation of the terms around the pre-reading skills on Build A Solid Foundation.
We move towards fluency once these pre-reading skills are mastered. Reading Rocket defines reading fluency as reading a "text accurately, quickly, and with expression." The fluency rubric outlines how to make this attainable. The Fluency Rubric is also a guide for teachers to build rigour in the reading fluency lessons and to evaluate students on their reading. You can also refer to the Fluency Scale as a reference point. There are six strands to the rubric: Pausing, Phrasing, Stress, Intonation, Rate, and Integration.
Using the Rubric
The Things You Will Learn page on Teachers Pay Teachers is a helpful rubric that teachers can use to assess their students on some of the strands of the rubric:
Although some rubrics may differ, for the most part they have similar strands. How do we now take these rubrics and make sense of it to our students?
Step 1: Set a goal for the students in terms of the fluency rubric. Where do you want all the students to be at the end of the year? You can change this if students exceed the goal, but it is a good focus point to start from. You have to think through the class average before setting the goal. Say, for example, my students just started reading sentences and have no knowledge of the rubric. I would set a goal for them around achieving a one or two on most of the strands. Alternatively, in a classroom where the level is higher, I would set a high goal for the students.
Step 2: It would be counterproductive to teach all the strands at once. I would span them over the year and focus on one or two each unit. Now here you have to think about how to breakdown the strands into clear actions for students. For example, let us say I teach pausing in the first unit. How much do I want to teach them? This depends on the students and the teacher. In some classes, you may go slowly and teach them to pause after a full stop and a comma. In other classes, the teacher may teach those two separately.
Step 3: The final step is figuring out where to teach the different strands of the fluency rubric. It is often suggested to include them as a part of the read aloud, guided reading, shared reading, and independent reading mini-lessons (Pinnell & Scharer, 2003). I find that this is a really simple way to integrate the fluency strands into an already existing reading framework. You can continue to teach a shared reading lesson, for example, based on the structure that you already have while also modelling good fluency to students.
Step 4: I know the third step is supposed to be the final step, but this is the final, final step. And no, it has nothing to do with assessing students. Practice makes perfect. In the third step, there are spaces where fluency is modelled. The students have to continue this practice whether it be through independent reading or through reading fluency strategy such as repeated reading or Reader's Theatre. These two strategies are really helpful for both elementary and middle school students.