Text Tracking Tools for Guided Reading!

Hi again, everyone!

I'm Jenny from Luckeyfrog's Lilypad and I am so thrilled to be posting here on Adventures in Literacy Land for the first time on my own!

A couple of weeks ago, my second grade group and I started a strong focus on fluency.

Fluency is such a tough thing to teach sometimes, because students mistake speed for fluency. When I introduce fluency to my students, we talk about how it is "not reading like a robot." and I give them four guidelines: PASE (Pausing, Accuracy, Speed, and Expression.)

You can read more about how I introduce fluency to my students (and how to get these bookmarks for free) here.

One of the things that I notice them doing is pointing under each word, but one. at. a. time. I tell them when they move their fingers like robots, it's no wonder they read like robots! I encourage my students to move their fingers smoothly to read smoothly.

Moving your finger under the words isn't exactly something my second graders love to do, though... so I like to make it more fun! I have a collection of special text pointers in my room- and they were ALL purchased for under $5.

I think these were intended originally as fancy toothpicks for in food, but I found them on clearance at Wal-Mart. They are perfect for highlighting a word or part of one. (I particularly love to use them for my students who need to 'chunk' a word and look at one part at a time.)

Weirdly enough, I have found some drink stirrers from a party supply store to work well, too! (As a bonus, these can be turned horizontally and can help a child highlight a line of text- perfect for those with trouble tracking each line!)

My students have also loved these tiny finger puppets, which I found at the Target Dollar Spot!

They were winter themed- perfect for reading seasonal books (and even for retelling some stories!)

Far and above, though, my students' favorite tools for tracking text are the finger lights. I originally found these at Half Price Books, but I just found them at REI today and they can be ordered on Amazon, too!

The little elastic strap fits around your finger, and you can point a light at the words. They come in red, blue, green, and white. These are fun in any context- but if you let students go under a table or even turn out the lights to read with these, you will quickly become "the coolest teacher ever"- and your kids are forced to track smoothly with the lights, too!

With my older students, of course, I don't typically encourage students to track with their fingers or other tools... but for those who struggle with fluency or moving through the word to check all of the sounds, these special text tracking tools have really helped my students- and they LOVE when they get to use them, too!

Do you have any special tools that your guided reading groups LOVE getting to use?


  1. I love these ideas! So creative! Thank you for such a great post!
    Emily, TRT/OG

  2. I use a lot of these same ideas! My kids really like the witch fingers too. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Okay...so where did you get the finger lights? That is so cool. During Halloween one year, I got Light Sabers, and you would have thought I was the coolest thing on this planet. The kids loved pointing and locating things with them on charts. I love these ideas...perfect for a K/1 classroom. I like using the voice "telephones" so kids can hear themselves. I have also enjoyed using the ipods we have for recording and playing back their reading. Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. I found them at Half Price Books (and more at REI)... but I linked in the post to where you can find them on Amazon. They are a great deal!

      I love whisperphones too :) Wish we had iPods!

    2. I got them at Dollar General for $1.50 a pack of 3! The kids LOVE them! It is actually cheaper to buy them than to replace the batteries!!

      Reading Toward the Stars

  4. Love the finger lights. I use the drink stirrers for pointers and the kids love them. Sometimes you can find ones that are zigzagged and twisted....we call them "swivel sticks!"

    Hanging Out in First!

  5. I use the E-Z Readers from Really Good Stuff. I also use text marking or scooping of phrases on consumable books. At times, I will do shared reading or poetry in 2 voice so they can match my vocal pace to their own.

    Great ideas !
    Wendy D.