Fluency Center {Video Tutorial and Setup Instructions}

Back by popular demand! One of my most pinned, viewed, and emailed about posts: back for a triumphant return! It must be my ABA background but I have a little ol’ soft spot for some fluency instruction. It makes sense to me. In order for a skill to be functional, you have got to know it fast. Think about any skill you have that you use on a regular basis – typing, telling time, tying your shoes – these skills are second nature and you do them with thinking. Those are skills that you needed to learn at some point but in order for them to be truly mastered, you learned to do them quickly.

Before I get off my fluency soap box, one more note. Fluency is accuracy plus speed – doing skills correctly but fast. The accuracy component is key. Doesn’t matter if you are doing something quickly if it’s wrong.

One of the ways I incorporate fluency into my classroom is with my fluency station. This one of the parts of my day that I WISH I had started my first year teaching. It doesn’t take that long to set up, is easy to train an aide to run, and is a great way to work on building fluency.

We call this station “Language” in my classroom. All materials are stored on one shelf (space saver!) beneath my writing center. I have a data binder and set of flashcards for each student.

My aide runs this station. If there is more than one student at the station, one student does flashcards and the other does an independent work notebook. We have a visual to show who is doing binders so the students know. If you aren’t doing a binder, you are doing flashcards!

The independent work binder has different writing worksheets:

Each student has a 3 – 4 sets of flashcards. Each student has a tupperware labeled with their name that holds their sets of cards.

I try to do a combo of math and reading skills. The flashcards are based on individual student IEP goals and progress. The content of these skills are mostly mastered.






The aide takes out the first set of flashcards, sets the timer for 1 minute or 30 seconds, and the student reads the cards or says the correct answer for each card. She sets aside the incorrect cards. Once the timer goes off she counts up the corrects and incorrects and notes it on the data sheet. She practices the incorrect cards for a moment and then moves on to the next set of cards.

I keep a master sheet in the front of the binder so I have a quick reference of when each flashcard set was started and mastered.

I have two students that do a discrete trial/fluency combo. I made a huge set of frequently used vocabulary words:

We work on 5 new vocabulary words at a time. These are taught in a discrete trial training method. Once these words meet the mastery criteria (usually 5 correct trials of each word on 5 consecutive days), these cards are then added to the ‘known’ set. Fluency timings are done on the known set.



Okay so maybe you are a visual person like me! Check out the tutorial:


  1. Do you have a copy of your data sheet available? I like how you include not only sight words but time and money too. That’s a great idea. I hadn’t thought of doing that for fluency.

  2. Hi, how do you teach fluency to kids who are non-verbal?

  3. Receptive language! It’s awesome! Lay out a field of cards and say “touch yellow” or touch dog. It’s a great way to build receptive language skills.

  4. Hi there Sasha. I am a 2nd year first grade teacher, but not of special education. I am very interested in your fluency station idea. Would you think this would work for my kiddos too? Would you be willing to share your data sheet for the fluency station only… on your site by change? I probably wouldn’t use the other 19 forms. Just curious 🙂 Thanks!

  5. hi Sasha just curious how long your students stay at the fluency station or what they do when they finish… 3-4 sets timed at 30 sec seems to go by quick.. thanks!!! and love this

  6. It seems like it would only take a few minutes but by the time they transition in, do each set, take data in between, do a little error correction – it’s more like 10-15 minutes. We aim for 15 minutes and have extra work available if they finish early. Great question!

  7. thanks Sasha 🙂

  8. Hi Sasha,
    When watching your video some of the fluency times are 30 seconds, a minute, etc. How did you determine how much time to test for each fluency set?

  9. This is a little bit subjective. For some kids 60 is too long. I recommend doing a little trial and error and testing out 30 seconds or a minute. For my guys that do 30 second timing, we do 60 trial every few weeks to test for skill endurance. Hope this helps 🙂

  10. How do you determine mastery of a set of fluency cards? Also, do you do maintenance checks to make sure the skills are kept after you are no longer targeting them daily? If so, what kind of a maintenance schedule do you tend to use?


  11. Great question, David! The mastery criteria is tricky for fluency because each child is so different and each skill can be pretty different so I tend to not make a hard fast rule across the board (ie. they have to hit this fluency before moving on). A lot of times I create a mastery criteria by doing the set myself and seeing what I get or have a same age gen ed peer do the set and seeing their fluency. Also – I look for an increase from when they started, a consistent time period of stable responding, and zero incorrects or “thinking” time in between cards. Hope this helps!

  12. Sasha,

    I know you said the students either do their flashcards or language binders depending on the day. What are the 5 sections on those language binders? Is it the same as the language arts leveled daily curriculum?

    Thanks so much!

  13. What do you mean by date Mastered and mastered fluency ( on Your flash card info sheet )?

  14. Hi Sasha,
    I love your products and I am trying to set my fluency station. I have all your data packets and your fluency mega pack but I can’t find your “Flashcard Info”‘ sheet where you keep track of when your kiddos start/master a specific set of flashcards. Is there a separate data packet you have this in?

    Thank you so much for all your amazing work!

  15. In the video, you said you record the information weekly into your Ipad. What program do you use for that?


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