Word-Fluency Skill Builders
Word lists based on the sound/symbol system of the English language

“Fluency is the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading such as decoding.” Meyers & Felton (1999)

These word-fluency lists are designed to increase fluency and automaticity in word recognition for classroom use, for students at risk and for ELL/ESL students. A simpler font was used for the first six pages as these are often used with primary students and focus more on the short vowel sounds. As words are studied, vocabulary can also be expanded with unfamiliar words from the lists.

The first sheets contain both real words and nonsense words/syllables. The purpose of the nonsense word practice is to prepare students for reading multi-syllable words that may include similar patterns to the nonsense words (ie: nostril, gobble, ponder, body and hospital).


Students can be assessed with word fluency using these materials. Nonsense words need not be timed, but the real words could be timed on Monday for one minute, practiced throughout the week either at school or sent home for home practice and then timed on Friday. The goal is to be able to read the list of real words in one minute by Friday. Students find this challenge very motivating. There would be little value in timing the less frequent sound/ symbol patterns in words in the latter lists. They are just good practice lists.

Students benefit from skill-building activities. Check the website for games and activities to reinforce decoding skills. Use and enjoy these activities.

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