Fluency Word Cards

Instructional Practice
Oral Reading Fluency

Word cards with familiar spelling patterns (or blends, rimes, digraphs, etc.) or sight words.

Target Student

Students with difficulties reading words accurately and fluently and students who have troubles with familiar spelling patterns, blends, rimes, digraphs, etc.


This instructional activity involves the use of flash cards to provide additional practice and exposure to familiar spelling patterns, blends, rimes, digraphs, etc. in words.

How To

Basic Procedure
Tell the students they will be reading cards with familiar word patterns.
Shuffle the word cards. Ask a student to read the first word card. To be considered correct, the answer must be provided within three seconds.

If the student reads the card correctly, place it face down on the table. You may say, “yes, this is [word].” If not, say the word emphasizing the pattern. Have the student repeat the word and place the unread or misread card in front of the student.

Show the following word card to the next student, following the same pattern previously indicated. Repeat until all word cards have been read or given to students.

Have the students who have cards in front of them attempt to read those words again. If they are able to read the card quickly and easily, take it back. If a student misreads any words again, have the student keep the card and ask him or her to practice reading it.

Write context specific phrases on the cards instead of a target word. For example, if the target word is “will,” the card can say “will eat.”

Context specific phrases can also be written on the back of cards as an error correction if the word is missed or incorrectly pronounced.


(Adapted from Essential Strategies for the Struggling Reader, 2001)


O’Shea, L. J., Munson, S. M., & O’Shea, D. J. (1984). Error correction in oral reading: Evaluating the effectiveness of three procedures. Education and Treatment of Children, 7, 203–214.

Tan, A., & Nicholson, T. (1997). Flashcards revisited: Training poor readers to read words faster improves their comprehension of text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 59, 276–288.

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