Word Study Spiral Warm-Ups: Activities in Fluency 1

Activities in Fluency 1

The activities in Fluency 1 (our first unit in word study warm-ups) are designed to engage and build visual memory in upper elementary students. The fluency activities include:

  • Word Racer
  • Blending Phonemes
  • Word Sums
  • Word Sorts
  • A Variety of Blending Activities (oral, choral, and written).
Activities in Fluency in our Free Word Study Warm-Ups

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Who should do these activities in Fluency1?

The activities in the Fluency 1 unit could be used for:

  • Advanced 1st-graders
  • Tier 1 instructional and review for 2nd and 3rd-grade students.
  • Tier 2 intervention for 4th or 5th-grade students.
  • Tier 3 individualized and specialized intervention for grades 6-8.
​How should you use the activities in Fluency 1?

The easiest and most efficient way to use these activities in Fluency 1 is the whole-class spiral warm-up. Simply find your lesson in days 1-20 and press play.

That's it!

Students will engage in the activities below and most of the lessons will conclude with a written assignment (i.e. mutiple-choice quiz, word sorts, word sums, etc...).

You will find a heavy dose of visual cues and oral participation in this unit. Most most lessons conclude with a brief written task or assessment. 

You can read more about the research on this Visible Learning Article.

So let's tour the activities in Fluency 1.

Explicit & Systematic Instruction

Build fluency with these consonant blend activities!

Each lesson (not the spiral reviews) begins with 10-20 seconds of explicit, direct instruction on the skill. This quick activity tells the learning goal and explains key concepts with visual aids.

It is systematic because the instruction:

  •  is a predictable routine,
  • uses​ the same graphics through the unit (i.e. the blender and mixer),
  • and describes discrete skills that build on each other day-by-day.

Blending with Rhythm​ & Music

Build fluency with these consonant blending activities!

This fluency activity includes rhythmic chanting of phonemes. It usually lasts 20 seconds and follows a predictable pattern.

  • Little Grey People: This graphic indicates choral participation where every student is expected to read or whisper with the video.​
  • Gold Speaker Orb: This indicates there is an important listening component.​

Students can whisper read along with the chant or chant aloud. But they must practice the sounds! The chant is very simple:

st makes the sound [student choral response]

sp makes the sound [student choral response]

nk makes the sound [student choral response]

As the unit progresses, music is added to the background so students can really engage in the fluency activity!

Word Racer

Word Racer is an engaging, almost addictive activity for fluency!

Word Racer is a really fun activity. It builds automaticity​ and requires the students practice reading the blends and phonemes in context.

  • Color Timer: You will see a color timer at the bottom left. It gives the students three seconds to read the word. Every student should read it aloud.
  • The Racer: The racer graphic comes in three colors: black, gold, platinum. Each color is a different speed. Black is 4 seconds, gold is 2-3 seconds, and platinum is rapid!

Struggling students benefit from hearing the rest of the class during Word Racer. Watch carefully, and you'll see students repeating the word in a whisper to practice it.

As the unit progresses, that 3 second timer is reduced to less than 2 seconds. Fluent readers tackle between 2-5 words per second. Word racer builds toward that goal.​

Give It A Shot

These activities for fluency will build excellent word study skills!

This is a written activity where students have a visual timer. Within the 4 seconds, students will:

  • hear a word or a consonant blend,
  • read three words, and
  • select the word that matches the blend,
  • write the answer.

If you think consonant blends are too simple for your upper elementary students, think again. This fluency activity will put the pressure on students' cognitive resources. It's so rich with listening, reading, and writing. 

This activity can also be used for an assessment to periodically check for student understanding. There are always six items. We recommend the following scoring scale:

  • ​<3/6 correct = needs re-teaching and practice opportunities
  • 3/6 correct = needs additional practice
  • 4/6 correct = minimal mastery
  • 5/6 = mastery
  • 6/6 correct = ready for more challenging skills​

The Activities in Fluency Build Word Recognition

All of the activities in Fluency 1 hone in on word recognition skills such as blending consonants, decoding words, and developing automaticity.

Explore 8 Ways to Use Warm-Ups in our 8-Minute YouTube Video

Don't pass this first unit because you think it's too easy. It contains necessary word knowledge for early and transitional readers. Work through the activities in Fluency 1, and you will be amazed at the reading and writing fluency increases!

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