Traditional reading practices usually recommend beginning fluency instruction in the middle of 1st Grade. It is typically at this time that accuracy shifts from taking all of the young reader's focus, and he or she can begin deepening comprehension and improving rate and prosody. I don't think we should wait until that point to begin strengthening fluency, though!
In the past decade or so, researchers and educators have realized that without fluency, comprehension (<--- the goal of reading) is nearly impossible. Instead of waiting until it's a problem, let's tackle it from the very beginning of a child's reading instruction. Our youngest readers can begin strengthening the parts of their brains that are needed for reading fluently (working memory and the frontal cortex are both vital).
I posted about this in 2013, and I shared my system for targeting fluency with students who are not yet reading independently.
Fluency Warm-Up Cards are perfect for Pre-K, Kinder, and 1st Grade students!
I printed these 2-sided and made 6 sets so that each chair at my guided reading table had a full set in the chair pocket. The students used these at least once a week to "warm-up" before the guided reading lesson.
They are perfect for differentiating since they cover letter names and sounds, VC, CVC, CVCe words, words with blends, words with digraphs, and words with twin consonants.
I recently updated this product to contain more cards, and I also freshened up the graphics and fonts. I decided to use animals on each card so that it is easier to tell students which card to find to use. ("Find the card with the orange octopus" is easier than telling them to find the one with the blonde girl in a red shirt lol.)
I'd love to hear how you target fluency with your youngest readers!