KS2 Reading Fluency project: text selection guidance – Years 3 & 4

    Published: 23 February 2020

    The Herts for Learning KS2 Reading Fluency Project prescribes that teachers work with a group of struggling readers – those working below, and often well-below, age-related expectations – for a period of 8 weeks. Throughout the 8-weeks, the teacher meets with the small group twice a week. Session 1 focuses on fluency training; session 2 allows for discussion of the text. Each week the group turn their attention to a new text.

    One aim of the project CPD is to support project teachers in selecting quality texts to use across the 8-week intervention period.

    Below are some of the criteria for text selection that we cover on the training, along with some recommendations for texts that would work well with Y3/4 cohorts on the project:

    NB. For text suggestions for Year 5/6 fluency groups, read KS2 Reading Fluency Project: text selection guidance

    • The texts have to be challenging! They should support the children to secure the reading skills and stamina that was required to meet the expected standard in the end of key stage 1 test (the assumption is that the children selected for the project did not meet this standard at the end of the key stage). The project aims to place children on a good trajectory to be able to read age-related texts independently by the end of the year. The project is designed to lead to accelerated progress.
    • The texts have to be good! This sounds obvious but it is an important point. We ask our young readers to work really hard in these sessions. They should be rewarded with a text that packs a punch: whether that be in the form of a quirky take that provokes a belly laugh at the end, or a text so tantalising terrifying that the reader cannot help but shiver (all within moderation for our younger readers, of course!). With this in mind, complete short narratives are our text of choice.
    • The texts have to be really good! This is a purposeful reiteration of the point made above. Repeated re-reading is a key aspect of the project. If the text isn’t good enough, the children won’t be enticed to re-read it. So, to emphasise it one more time, the texts have to be great!
    • The texts have to be diverse. We don’t want the children to get better at reading just one type of text. Instead, we support them to hone their reading muscles on a range of texts that look, feel and sound remarkably different to one another. Variety is the key here!

    Text recommendations:

    Moving House by Louise Copper from The Story Shop: stories for literacy, compiled by Nikki Gamble

    A bit creepy, but not too terrifying: this text is just right for Year 3/4 and the length makes it perfect for a 20-minute fluency session. The use of rhetorical questions, exclamation marks and the balance of short and long sentence give lots of scope to challenge children’s developing prosody.

    Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

    Any of the double-page spreads would work well for a fluency session, but the ‘Introduction’ is particularly suitable. Although the text looks fairly accessible, be warned – lurking in the introduction is a 36 word sentence: the perfect length for modelling well-paced, phrased reading.

    Ask Dr K Fisher about Minibeasts by Claire Llewellyn (Author) and Kate Sheppard (Illustrator)

    Like Lesser Spotted Animals, each double-page spread would work well for a fluency session. The text is formed of question and answer texts, written in the form of letters from concerned minibeasts to the renowned agony aunt, Dr K Fisher. The texts are both informative and amusing – the perfect combination to test the comprehension of readers within this age bracket.

    Poo: a natural history of the unmentionable by Nicola Davies (Author), Neal Layton (Illustrator)

    A text that delights and disgusts in equal measure! Although there are a number of sections that would work well for a fluency session, try the ‘Rainbow Poos’ section on page 11. There are a number of longer sentences in quick succession which will work well to build up the reading stamina of pupils in the group.

    No Ideas George by Robert

    This 500-word competition winner is simply brilliant – well done, Robert! There is a great deal of inference involved in unpicking the story; something that the children should be able to do after a well-modelled read. Not only is it a great short story, but it reminds the children that they too can be authors.

    Find the text here.

    Fantastically Great Women who Worked Wonders by Kate Pankhurst

    Some of the double-page spreads in this book might be too ‘busy’ for a fluency session with this age group – there is a lot going on across some of the pages! The page focusing on Katherine Johnson works well however as the text is a little easier to navigate and contains some chunks of text that will require stamina to work through.

    Water, Water, Water! From from Sidesplitters, Fantastically Funny Stories by Michael Rosen

    Much like ‘No Ideas George’, this short story is very funny, but will require inference on the part of the child to achieve a reaction. Following an expert modelled read and echo reading, the children should be able to spot the joke and even explain it to you.

    The Tortoises Picnic, an English Folktale, from Funny Stories chosen by Michael Rosen

    This text is just the right length to build the stamina of year 3/4 readers, and it is genuinely funny. The hope is that, following modelled expert prosody and echo reading, they will snort with laughter when they get to the end, but if not, it provides lots of scope for unpicking to reveal the ‘joke’.

    Pirates Magnified by David Long

    There is plenty of choice of double-page spreads within this text to choose for a fluency session. Try ‘Life on Board’ as a starting point. The main body of the text could be read during the fluency session, while the children could be encouraged to engage in repeated re-reads at home, with the aid of a magnifying glass to spot the various members of the crew.


    For more tips on text selection and to receive further text recommendations, join us on one of our fluency training sessions. Forthcoming dates and venues are published on our project pages.

    The next round of the KS2 Reading Fluency Project launches on Tuesday 21st April 2020. Course code ENG/20/13/P

    Please note: This summer term project focuses on Year 5 pupils and is open to schools in Hertfordshire and surrounding counties.

    Please contact the following HfL English team members for more details about the KS1, KS2 or KS3 Reading Fluency projects.

    Penny Slater: National Project Lead & KS3 Project Lead

    Kathy Roe: KS1 & KS2 Hertfordshire Project Lead

    Michelle Nicholson: Herts and national project adviser

    Jane Andrews: Herts and national project adviser

    Contact details

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