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…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

“FluencyTutor” Could Be A Useful Tool For Students To See Their Reading Progress



Richard Byrne posted yesterday about an intriguing new site that would be useful for emerging readers and English Language Learners called FluencyTutor For Google.

It’s a web app only usable with a Chrome browser that provides a large selection of leveled reading passages that students can read, record, and store on Google Drive. Teachers can then listen at their convenience and correct and note students’ reading fluency. The reading passages provide quite a few supportive features that make them particularly accessible to English Language Learners.

Most of the features are free, but teachers have to pay $99 per year for some “dashboard” services like tracking student progress.

If I was teaching an online class of motivated adult English Language Learners, I could see FluencyTutor’s whole package as an excellent tool.

However, I definitely wouldn’t recommend a classroom teacher using it as a way to track a readers’ progress. I have the same concerns about using it for that as I have about Literably, a web tool in the same vein — having students read to us is as much about building the relationship (if not more so) than getting the data.

On the other hand, though, a site like FluencyTutor could be a super tool for students to practice on their own and compare their reading progress during a school year. It’s less about them tracking exactly how many words they read each minute and more about them seeing how their reading prosody — expressiveness, smoothness — improves. Just having the free features should be enough for accomplishing that goal.

Here’s a video explaining how it works — keep in the mind that some of the features it talks about the end are the ones you have to pay for:

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Thanks for posting this, Larry.

    I don’t see the application of “Fluency Tutor” to first language readers.

    Reading fluency doesn’t come about (for any but the most dedicated and mature of readers hell-bent on a mission) by recording and listening to oneself.

    In order to read fluently, one must first have the potential to do so (language comprehension, appropriate vocabulary, and the ability to recognize words).

    Then, one must understand the impact of language structures, phrasing and punctuation on meaning. This comes from direct mentoring from a skilled and trusted teacher.

    The road to fluency is repeated reading and responsive correction as necessary – at the moment, not later on once the teacher has had the opportunity to review a student’s recorded reading.

    So many students struggle with reading, and so many teachers struggle to teach them. I fear the over-reliance on technology when teacher training about how strong reading develops is not yet a priority – and when so many parents think that if their child would just try harder, reading problems would go away.

    But, full disclosure here, I only work with struggling readers. You can probably hear my bias.

    I enjoy your blog. Regards,

    • Diane,

      You make great points! I agree that recording and listening to oneself is not a huge part of becoming a fluent reader. However, in my experience with both struggling native and non-native English speakers/readers, anything that can be done to help them see that they are making progress — even an occasional visit to the computer lab where they can take a minute and record themselves reading so they can see how it compares from a few months ago — promotes a sense of self-efficacy. And that can help encourage intrinsic motivation.


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