Children Writing Stories to Read Themselves Can Build Reading Fluency

Children writing stories to read themselves is one of the most powerful reading fluency strategies. If they write it, they will read it so teaching the writing process is important to reading.

Let's face it - it's hard to find material that reluctant readers want to read. And since reading a lot is what is needed to build fluency, which is the stepping stone to comprehension, students absolutely must read!

It doesn't really matter what they read - it just matters that they read.

In my experience, children writing stories to read themselves is a good way to get kids who don't want to read to do so.

In the Beginning......

Children love to tell stories! Kindergarten and first grade teachers are particularly good at writing those stories down on chart paper and reading them back to children. The really good ones allow students to illustrate their stories, incorporating

art for the right brain.

Writing Meets Fluency and Comprehension

Reading begins with the recognition of sight words which provide a context for learning letters and sounds. When students learn to put those words together to make sentences, the writing process has begun.

Building those sentences and learning about subjects and predicates builds a foundation for reading comprehension. Practicing the sentences repeatedly builds fluency so this is the point at which all three skills merge - reading fluency, comprehension, and writing.

Word Wall Sentences

Writing and the Reluctant Reader

Often students not yet ready to read when the rest of the class is ready are left behind and find themselves sitting in the next grade as non-readers. Unable to catch up, they fall farther and farther behind until they convince themselves that they will never be able to read so they stop trying.

Teachers must understand and remember that children do not come to reading at the same time.

Differences in vocabulary, early childhood experiences, age, and maturity are all factors, and often when a child is ready, there is no one to go back and teach him the basics of learning how to read.

He becomes a "reluctant reader" who avoids reading because he knows he doesn't know how. You will find him most often in the principal's office or In-School Suspension.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Setting up centers give meaningful experiences to all students and provide the time needed to catch kids up.

Have reluctant readers dictate their own stories to you so that you can write them down. These are stories that they will read so write them in spiral notebooks and begin building a personal library of his stories.

These students generally love to draw so ask them to illustrate their stories, too.

One particularly useful resource I have used is Bare Books which is a company which provides reasonably-priced blank books.

Another idea is to hold a Flower Show in the spring to feature student writing and art.

For detailed information about the writing process please visit Creative Writing Prompts.

Return to Reading Fluency Activities from Children Writing Stories
Go to Reading Fluency from Children Writing Stories

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Even reluctant readers will read what they write.

Here are some forms of writing that children love to share.

  • Fractured Fairy Tales
  • - Kids love to change familiar fairy tales and add modern twists and turns. There is even a new television show, Grimm, which does the same so it is very current right now.

  • Plays and Readers Theater
  • - Middle school students love to write plays and readers theater and see them performed by younger students.

  • Poetry
  • - When kids learn there is no "right" or "wrong" way to write poetry, they can't get enough of it!

  • Their own stories!

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em!


Use emailing as a (supervised!) activity. Students can email you and also each other, but be sure to give them a topic or purpose for the messages.

Having email buddies is a good idea as long as they send copies of their messages to you. Students can discuss stories they are reading and even assume the identities of characters in novels.


Your IT person can set these up for students.


On our last field trip, my kids spent their time on the bus messaging each other on Nintendo DS devices. What a great resource for getting kids excited about writing!