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How to Use Fluency Grids to Support Emergent Readers

Developing Automatic Recognition of Letters and Sounds

picture of a finger pointing to a fluency grid
Fluency Grid
To increase engagement (for some students), we use special pointers.

What are fluency grids?

Fluency grids are a simple tool that provides targeted instruction for emergent readers.  After careful analysis of a letter-sound assessment, the teacher can create a fluency grid with 2-6 letters requiring additional practice.  When instructing emergent readers in letter/sound recognition (i.e. the alphabetic principle), the focus can be naming the letters and producing the sounds, naming the letters only, or producing the sounds only.  Each session is intensive, lasting only 5-10 minutes.

The following videos demonstrate how to use fluency grids effectively:

Why should fluency grids be incorporated as an instructional tool?

Emergent readers benefit from repeated exposure of letters and sounds to reach mastery.  The grids are designed with this necessity in mind.  The format of the grid allows for multiple exposures per session.  The fast-paced approach of fluency grids helps keep interest high and encourages automaticity so it works well in the whole-class setting.  It is ideal for those students who require more exposure and benefit from additional small group or one-on-one support.

How can fluency grids be used in the various settings?  

  • Whole class – Fluency grids can be used as a tool for introducing a new skill or reviewing a skill for mastery.  Project the fluency grid using a document camera or an overhead projector for class-wide viewing and choral response.
  • Small group – Fluency grids are perfect as an intervention tool for those students who require further exposure to reach mastery.  Provide each student with a personal copy of the fluency grid or use one copy in the center of the group to ensure that students are following along appropriately.
  • One-on-One – The intensive, fast-paced lesson makes fluency grids a superb intervention tool for those students who benefit from fewer distractions and/or require even more exposure to a particular skill.
fluency grid product cover for TPT

If you think your students would benefit from Fluency Grids, please check out our store!  We have included grids containing a variety of commonly confused letters. We have also created two editable grids that allow teachers to tailor instruction based upon students’ needs.

Have your students mastered letter names and sounds?

Students who have mastered letter names and sounds and who have had instruction in phonemic awareness can begin to read and spell CVC words. Begin instruction on the closed syllables. Once students have had sufficient practice reading and spelling CVC words, fluency grids can be implemented to help develop automaticity.

Fluency grids can help students develop automaticity at the word level.

Word level fluency grids help develop automatic recognition of words following the closed syllable pattern.

These grids are available in our TPT store. Before implementing, be sure that your students have had plenty of opportunities to read and spell words containing the particular phonic pattern on which the grids are focused.


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