Reading fluency is how accurately and smoothly an individual reads text. Fluency is measured in words per minute, and, while some read slower or faster, there is an average reading fluency for each grade level. For younger students, memorizing a list of sight words is a necessary requirement and this exercise also can help increase fluency.
Children in second grade are beginning to decode harder words and working on learning additional sight words. If parents are wondering “how can I help my 2nd grader with reading fluency?,” there are a number of ways to provide enrichment and guide children on fluency.
- Practice reading aloud daily
- Do timed readings
- Encourage sight word mastery through flashcards and games
What is the Average Fluency for Second Grade?
Reading fluency isn’t a reading measurement the school will always report back home to parents. Typically, schools will send a reading report home that details their child’s reading level and how they scored in different areas of literacy.
Reading fluency is measured in words read per minute. Schools could measure fluency by having a child read a section of text aloud for one minute. Mispronounced words are deducted from the word total. What is the average fluency for a second grader?
According to Reading Rockets, children in the beginning of second grade will read about 50 to 60 words per minute. However, by the end of the year, the site notes that fluency should boost to 90 words per minute.
How Can Parents Understand Their Child’s Reading Fluency?
Parents can discover their child’s reading fluency by conducting a reading fluency test at home. Choose a paragraph of about 100 words. Have the child read the paragraph for one minute—make sure to set a stopwatch. Parents should have a copy of the paragraph, too.
As the child reads, parents can mark any word that was read incorrectly. Parents also should mark where their child stopped reading. Count up the words (minus errors) to discover how many words the child read per minute.
One test might not be completely accurate, but it can help parents better understand a child’s overall fluency.
How to Increase Reading Fluency
There are many ways to help children to increase both their reading fluency and their reading confidence. Reading regularly is the best way to help a child practice their fluency; ideally, children should be reading every day.
Timed and Recorded Readings
Parents also can do timed readings to help their child read confidently and smoothly. Timed readings are the same concept as the fluency test. Parents will have the child read a paragraph or section of a book or story for one minute.
The goal is that children should gain fluency the more they practice reading the story or paragraph. It might be common for children to make a mistake the first few times they read a section aloud.
Practicing every day can help children feel more confident with reading aloud. In addition, parents can tape children as they read and play the recording back to them. Hearing their own reading might help them understand errors or make changes to inflection.
For some children, though, the auditory feedback is simply a great teaching tool. Many children are auditory learners, and listening to their recorded reading could be beneficial for them.
Practice Sight Words
Mastering sight words also could help children increase their fluency. Sight words are words that are incredibly common in most books and stories. The Dolch List of Sight Words includes 220 common words that children learn to recognize immediately in text.
The list is divided into grade-level lists that children are expected to memorize each year. Typically, sight word lists are required from kindergarten through third grade.
To help children master these words, encourage them to practice their list every day. Parents can use flashcards or game-based apps to help children practice and learn to memorize these words.
Parents also could create sight word games at home. Make two cards of each word on a child’s list and play Sight Word Match. Play Sight Word ‘Go Fish’ by creating four cards of each word (play the game per the usual rules). Playing games is a fun way to facilitate learning.
Practice with Poetry
Reading Rockets recommends poetry for helping children with fluency. Poems are typically written with a melodic cadence or with rhyming words. There are many poets that focus on children’s poetry. One of the most popular children’s poets is Shel Silverstein.
Encourage children to read a poem. Let them choose something fun and silly or maybe a poem that is a bit more serious. Have children read the poem silently and then encourage them to read it aloud.
Poetry can be read differently by each individual. Some poems are written with a specific rhythm that the reader cannot help but adopt. Others, though, are written in a more abstract form, giving the reader a more interpretive voice.
Since poetry is shorter than a standard story, children also might not feel as overwhelmed reading these snippets of text. Check out the local library to find books of children’s poetry.
Read Books Again and Again
Reading Rockets also recommends encouraging children to re-read their favorite books. Practice makes perfect, and rereading a book can help children read it better and more fluently. Maybe they stumbled on a difficult word the first time. However, when a child reads the book a few more times, they can identify the word without stumbling.
Rereading books, stories and sections of stories also is a great way to help with comprehension, too. Sometimes rereading can help children identify areas of a story that they didn’t understand or perhaps they missed some key details.
Read Books at the Right Level
Children might have difficulty with fluency if they are reading books that are too difficult. Parents should make sure their child is choosing books that are within their reading level.
While children should choose their own books, it’s important that those books are challenging but not beyond their reading ability. Books that are too advanced might simply frustrate a child, and they might struggle to understand what they are reading.
Parents who are unsure about their child’s reading level can reach out to their child’s teacher.
Use a Reading App to Help Monitor and Boost Fluency
A reading app like Readability also can help children who struggle with reading fluency. With Readability, children read books and stories aloud. The app includes a built-in AI tutor that learns the child’s voice and helps guide lessons.
When a child reads a story and struggles with a word, the AI tutor will recognize that the child needs help and will provide assistance. At the end of each story, the tutor also will ask questions about what the child read. This is how the tutor measures comprehension.
Every time a child reads a story in Readability, the tutor also measures reading fluency. Parents can follow their child’s reading progress through a private portal in the app called the Parent Dashboard. This will show parents how many words their child reads per minute (fluency), comprehension ability and reading level, too.
Readability also will help parents understand how long children are reading. The app tracks reading time; parents can visit the Parent Dashboard to review how long their child has read every day (or week).
Parents who are interested in using a reading app to help boost their child’s fluency don’t have to commit to a program. Readability offers a free seven-day trial period that lets children explore all the features of the program, including the AI tutor. Sign up for a trial today and start exploring and engaging with Readability!