Fluency stories are important in all phonics and reading programs, not just Orton Gillingham, and if you are an educator reading this post, I don’t need to tell you all the stats and reasons. I would like to say that in Orton Gillingham I love to use fluency stories to reinforce rules, introduce new words, and check progress on concepts, and of course reading fluency.
In fluency stories, you’ll find that not all words are easy for the reader.
Don’t expect a student to have expression and automaticity in the first pass of a story, or even the second, and maybe not the third or fourth either.
You should read the fluency story to the student first before having the student read it. You could read the story the first few times you have a student practice a particular piece, not just the first time.
In a classroom setting, you can read the story then have the students all read together. Or, you can record the story and have the students listen on their own and read along with you – a video would be even better. Or have them listen to the recording/video as many times as needed then read it solo.
You could have students pair up and each read the story together (but you should read the story with/to them the first time and be prepared for hand raising to read any words that are not familiar).
As a fun exercise, have students act out the story with the class. Or, if tutoring, act it out with them. In the story included with this post, the child is choosing an instrument to play in music class and the mom tells the child, “no” to instrument choices. Let the student be the mom, then switch and you be the mom.
At some point, one-on-one is important so you can capture the time of the student, and see if the story reading is becoming more natural. Are they inflecting emotion? Are they reading a question like it’s a question, or adding emphasis if there is an exclamation mark? Are they comprehending the story?
Reading stories is much more than fluency, it’s seeing the rules in action. It’s seeing the words in context. It’s going from just decoding words to knowing them automatically.
It’s falling in love with words!
Download a FREE fluency story.
Want more fluency stories? Check out Scope & Sequence Workbooks and Short Vowel Packets in the Workbook Store.