When I am working with emerging readers, I introduce them to passages after they can sound out basic CVC words and can recognize at least 30 sight words. Emerging readers are different than developing readers or even proficient readers in that they must have success early to maintain their level of stamina.
In my classroom, we start with the short vowel sounds and add consonants to that. So, when I am working on fluency with students, I wait to give out passages until I see that the students are proficient with basic sight words presented in class and know the short vowel sound I am working on and how to blend letter sounds together in a CVC structure. That can happen pretty quickly in first, and that is what makes it such an exciting grade to teach.
I usually wait until the first progress report to make my reading groups. In my striving reader groups I am working more on phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding strategies. In my on grade level groups, I am working on phonics, but I can introduce fluency passages as a tool for practice and fluidity. In first grade, I’m not trying to make them fast. I want them to be accurate. In my high flying group, I am working on long vowel patterns, fluency and comprehension with other passages that offer long vowel sounds.
Each of my emerging reader passages is based around a specific short vowel. They are all leveled, so you can give students a specific level if you’d like to differentiate.
My small groups would run like this:
Daily: Review phonemic awareness skill of the week.
Daily: Review the vowel of the week and practice a decoding skill.
Day 1: Chorally read the passage with students. Mark the text for a specific vowel pattern. (Circle all the short e words in blue.) Then have them answer the Day 1 Question.
Day 2: Have students take turns reading line by line. Mark the text for specific sight words. (Circle our focus sight words in red.) Discuss whether the text is fiction or non-fiction and how we could determine that. Answer the Day 2 comprehension question.
Day 3: Have students take turns reading the passage. Ask the Day 3 Question. Pull in a different high interest passage and work on listening comprehension. (In my case it is often a different fluency passage at the higher end of first grade.)
Day 4: Have students read the passage for a timing. Ask the Day 4 Question.
Day 5: Assessment or additional skill based work.
My Reading for Meaning Series is a wonderful too for kinders who are reading fluently and need a bit more of a challenge, or firsties who need to monitor their comprehension while they are reading. There are 10 passages per month. All leveled so that you can differentiate.
I hope you found these resources helpful!