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Fluency: Research and Teaching Strategies

Research Digest No. 6 defines fluency, provides suggestions for assessment and instruction, and lists additional resources and references. You will find the PDF under the “Fluency” heading.


Is Fluent, Expressive Reading Important for High School Readers?

This article is from the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 56, 67-76. It examines the relationship between oral prosody (phrasing and expression) and silent reading comprehension for secondary readers. The study recommends teacher modeling and whole-class choral reading of passages from literature, social studies, and science content materials. To access the article, click on "Get PDF" under "ARTICLE TOOLS" on the right-hand side of the website below.


New Evidence for Fluency Instruction

NEW! This summary reports on findings and conclusions from two recent studies about relationships between fluency and comprehension in adult readers.



Britannica School Elementary

In order to access Electronic Library of Minnesota (ELM) for FREE, a Minnesota public library card is necessary. After entering the bar code, the Britannica School Elementary website becomes fully available. It offers non-fiction articles at Reading Levels 1-2 and related images, videos, maps, and learning games. The articles are categorized by Animals, Language Arts, Plants and Other Living Things, Social Studies World Religions, Fine Arts, Places, Science and Mathematics, Sports and Hobbies. Users can select the reading level, adjust the font size, email or print copies, and listen to the text with a Read Aloud option. Elementary appears to most useful for High Beginning-Intermediate-Advanced ABE/ESL students, Middle and High for ASE and GED students.


CCRS and the Reading Foundational Skills

In Minnesota ABE’s 2016 Professional Development (PD) Survey, a number of instructors wondered if the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) address beginning literacy skills. Over the past two years of getting to know the CCRS for Adult Education, the answers from Marn Frank, ATLAS Literacy & STAR Coordinator, have included yes, no, and yes!

The documents below describe Minnesota's combination of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) + CCRS Reading Foundational Skills 1-4, at Levels K-5. The result is a complete and clear sequence for teaching alphabetics and fluency to adult readers at Beginning and Intermediate levels. ​Reading research and practice recommend balanced literacy instruction – emphasizing BOTH print and meaning-making skills.

  • OverviewWhere in the CCRS World are Alphabetics and Fluency?
  • Download - Reading Foundational Skills (RFS) 1-4, K-5
  • Download - CCRS RFS Resources: This document provides links to FREE professional development, instructional, and audio/visual resources – all from Minnesota ABE practitioners!

Center for Adult Literacy Text Library

Center for the Study of Adult Literacy (CSAL) has organized an electronic library of over 1600 texts at grade levels 3.0-7.9. Users (teachers or learners) select from “easier, medium, or harder” stories and subjects or topics such as Health, Food, Babies, Children, Teenagers, Families, Advice, Non-Fiction (real life), Fiction (made up), Jobs and Work, Money, History, Science, and Other. All of the stories or articles have been reviewed by the CSAL team and are recommended for use with adult readers (at High Beginning-Intermediate-Advanced levels).

ESL Literacy Readers

This collection of 40 stories was developed by experienced ESL instructors from Bow Valley College, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are theme-based and organized by three Canadian Literacy Benchmark or CLB Phases. CLB I (Initial, Developing, and Adequate) is similar to Low/High Beginning ESL, CLB II is similar to Low/High Intermediate ESL, and CLB III is similar to Advanced ESL. All are FREE to preview, download, print, fold, and staple into reader booklets. There is also an ESL Literacy Readers Guide with ideas for before, during, and after reading activities and extensions.

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ESL Yes!

This website offers 1600 FREE stories intended for Beginning and Intermediate level ESL students. They are categorized as Beginners, Easy, or Short and accessible using a personal computer or mobile device. They were created by a Mike Carlson, who taught English Language Learners for 24 years in New York and California. All repeat key words or simple phrases multiple times. All were grade-leveled using Flesch-Kincaid, which determines readability by word and sentence length. Most of the stories have accompanying audios, and some provide two audio speeds: normal and slow. Many of the stories have vocabulary, cloze, scrambled sentences, crosswords, and dictation exercises. 

Note: There are slightly distracting pop-ups or ads along the side or top of the stories and exercises.

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Fluency - Challenges & Possible Solutions

NEW [updated July 2017] Common fluency instructional challenges and solutions developed by Minnesota STARs and Trainers.


Fluency Instruction for STAR/EBRI Volunteers

This handout describes what STAR/EBRI volunteers “need to know” about evidence-based and explicit fluency instruction. It also clarifies how they can improve - but not necessarily perfect - students’ oral reading fluency of paragraphs, passages, articles, or books.


Fluency Techniques for STAR/EBRI Volunteers

This handout for STAR/EBRI volunteers describes three fluency techniques considered most effective for adult readers. All interweave the steps of explicit instruction for guided oral readings of paragraphs, passages, articles, or books.


Newsela (fluency)

From the Newsela homepage, teachers can sign up for FREE and unlimited access to printable news articles, about the same topic, but at 5 lexile scores (see below for grade equivalent correlation). For fluency instruction, reading teachers can: (1) introduce the topic to all students, (2) group them according to fluency instructional levels, (3) assign a matching, grade-level version for guided oral reading, and then (4) conclude with an all-class, comprehension check. The high-interest categories include: War & Peace, Science, Kids, Money, Law, Health, Arts, and Sports. The newest grade equivalent (GE) to lexile range (L) correlation is: GE 2-3=450L-790L, GE 4-5=770L-980l, GE 6-8=955L-1155L, GE 9-10=1080L-1305L, GE 11-12=1215L-1355L.

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Reading Skills for Healthcare Workers

This NEW website from SW ABE Marshall has a goal of making 175 CNA (certified nursing assistant) and general healthcare passages and audios available to adult readers at grade levels 5.5 to 8.5 (Intermediate level). All were written by licensed language arts or ESL teachers, most with pre-CNA course experience. All are intended to supplement direct instruction and support fluency and comprehension skills. All are printable and include pre-reading questions, definitions of healthcare or high frequency vocabulary, and text-dependent questions.

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Reading Skills for Today’s Adults

This website is a source of passages (Levels 0.7 to 8.0) and audios intended “to help adults become better readers and more informed consumers, parents, employees, citizens and community members.” It is useful for Beginning and Intermediate level students.


ReadWorks is a non-profit organization "committed to solving the nation's reading comprehension crisis by giving teachers the research-proven tools and support they need to improve the academic achievement of their students." Their website provides a wide variety of FREE, research-based units, lessons, and authentic, leveled non-fiction and literary passages. A login is require to view and print over 2,200 passages at K-12 levels, each with question sets to support text comprehension.

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Stellar Fluency Ideas

These “stellar” (meaning outstanding) ideas for fluency instruction were collected from participating MN STAR administrators and teachers during 2009-2012. Note: Some of the contributors’ original wording was reduced or revised for clarity and consistency.


The Change Agent

This subscription-based, online or print, social justice newspaper is published twice a year (March and September). It includes student-written articles (leveled according to readability), discussion topics, and lesson plans. It is useful for Intermediate, Advanced, and Adult Secondary level students.


The Times in Plain English

This website offers FREE "Plain English Version" articles about current world and national news or events. It is not affiliated with The New York Times, but the writers often use this renowned newspaper as a source of reliable information. All of the articles are edited by Arthur Schiff and grade-leveled according to Flesch-Kincaid. This readability formula is used because "it seems to work well and is readily available from Word" (

From the blue HOME tab, users can view excerpts from recent articles and corresponding photographs. Clicking on a title opens up the entire article for reading or printing. From the blue ARTICLE INDEX tab, users can browse past articles and Tips for Teachers, which provides text-dependent questions. There is a SEARCH feature, and past articles are also categorized by the topics: News, Money & Work, Health & Education, Immigration, Law, Politics, Of Interest, New York, World, and Features. This website was recommended by several members of the LINCS Reading and Writing Group.

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