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:

Sasha Long
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