There are endless opportunities for fun, engaging fluency practice throughout the summer to keep up a child’s reading skills. I especially love DIY literacy projects and activities that I can put together using items found around my home. The best part is… once you create the activities, you can use them all year-long!
Fluency Jars are my new favorite literacy tool! I’m already creating a few to use for fast-finishers and exit tickets in my classroom next year. If you’re looking for some new fluency tools to try, these jars are perfect as an alternative to On-the-Go Fluency Bags mentioned in my “5 Summer Activities to Boost Reading Fluency” post.
For this project, you can use any kind of container – a jar, bucket, bottle, or bin. Really, whatever you have lying around the house! This is the perfect opportunity to upcycle those containers you’ve been saving “just in case.” Below are a few suggestions for making your own!
DIY Fluency Jar
To create your own Fluency Jar, use an old mason jar, trail mix container, animal cracker bucket, or even a pickle jar! Make sure you clean it out (obviously), but then you can fill it up with fun fluency materials.
You can decorate your jar or keep it plain. If you wish to decorate it, stickers are fun to add as an incentive for each day you practice. Or you can have your child decorate the whole thing before filling it, to kickstart the weeks of fluency fun ahead. (Somehow, having a colorful container makes the fluency activities inside a little more exciting, right?) Use puffy paints, jewels, sequins, or whatever craft materials you have to decorate the outside! I like to use wrapping paper and stickers to transform the jar. Personalizing it can help with the “buy in” process and can increase motivation for using the jar each day.
So what goes inside? Fill the jar up with fluency cards and materials that are quick and easy for on-the-go practice. You can use sight word cards, word lists, fluency phrases or sentences (pictured above), task cards, or ANY fluency materials at your child’s independent level.
NOTE: Teachers – Create a fluency jar as a ticket out of the classroom. Have students read a phrase/sentence on the way out the door to lunch or specials or use for literacy centers or fast finishers!
DIY Shake & Read Bottle
Shake & Read Bottles are a fun way to practice fluency with words and phrases! I like to use them for silly sentence making. I cut apart sentences so that students can mix and match the different sentence phrases using whatever sentence parts that pop up in the bottle.
To make a Shake & Read Bottle, find a clear bottle that is smooth and easy to see through (seltzer, soda, water, etc.).I like to use 1 liter or less, just so I don’t have to buy a ton of filler, but use what you have! Fill it 3/4 of the way with rice (or some type of grain that doesn’t stick together). Add strips of paper with words, phrases, or short sentences that can pop through the rice. (I used fluency sentences from The Curriculum Corner in my example below). Cardstock paper works best for the phrases and sentences, as it doesn’t bend or get distorted during the shaking process. Shake the bottle and have your child read any words, phrases, or sentences that pop through to the surface!
DIY Fluency Bucket/Bin
Fluency Buckets or Fluency Bins are more similar to On-the-Go Fluency Bags. Use a plastic beach bucket from the dollar store or even a plastic bin with a lid. Fill it with fluency cards, passages, poems, or even short independent-level books (similar to on-the-go reading bags discussed in this post). You can decorate the container or just keep it plain and simple. The most important part is what’s inside!!
FREE Fluency Jar Fillers
Here are a few FREE printable resources you can use to fill up those jars, bottles, and buckets:
- Task Cards
Do you have any additional ideas for Fluency Jars? Comment below. I’d love to add to my list!