Topics: Wit & Wisdom Featured Geodes Science of Reading Fluency

Using Wit & Wisdom and Geodes to Strengthen Fluency in Grades K–2

Liza Vaughn

by Liza Vaughn

December 7, 2023
Using Wit & Wisdom and Geodes to Strengthen Fluency in Grades K–2

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Posted in: Aha! Blog > Wit & Wisdom Blog > Wit & Wisdom Geodes Science of Reading Fluency > Using Wit & Wisdom and Geodes to Strengthen Fluency in Grades K–2

Wit & Wisdom® lessons incorporate best fluency practices for every grade. In this post, we explore fluency instruction for students in Grades K–2. Liza Vaughn, a PD manager at Great Minds®, shares how Wit & Wisdom’s fluency passages support young readers and how teachers can support their students’ fluency practice. 

The Science of Reading and Fluency

As a literacy coach in Tennessee, I learned more about the science of reading alongside my colleagues through a course on how students become successful readers. The science of reading emphasizes the importance of word recognition and language comprehension. When students strengthen these skills, they can fluently read and comprehend texts.

We recognized that, as early as Kindergarten, we grouped some of our students based on their reading ability, a designation that followed them throughout their elementary years and limited their ability to grow as readers. Through the course, our understanding of literacy instruction deepened, and we realized that all students benefit from access to complex texts with appropriate supports.

Fluency in Wit & Wisdom

When starting with Wit & Wisdom's complex texts, teachers who understood the what and why of the science of reading eagerly supported their students with a new curriculum. Still, many teachers told me that students felt challenged by the fluency passages in Grades K–2. All students engage with the same grade-level passage, so this challenge happens by design.

Wit & Wisdom fluency passages feature each module’s core and supplemental texts. Dense with information, including content knowledge and vocabulary, these passages provide students with important ideas for discussion and writing. In Lesson 10 from Grade 1 Module 2: Creature Features, students encounter this fluency passage:

Wit & Wisdom Lesson 10 from Grade 1 Module 2 Fluency PassageStudents can use the included information to answer the Focusing Question Task, which asks how Jane Goodall made discoveries about animals. Students practice this passage throughout the Focusing Question arc. As they work on their accuracy, automaticity, rate, and expression with the fluency passage, they also revisit key knowledge from the core text to support their content comprehension.  

Because younger students continue to develop accuracy and automaticity in their foundational skills programs, many will read the passage imperfectly—and that’s okay. In addition to providing students with valuable practice, the Wit & Wisdom fluency passages offer teachers the opportunity to better understand students’ hurdles. While listening to their students read, teachers can note which students need support with key fluency elements.  

Fostering a Supportive Literacy Block

We found that, rather than existing as separate components of the literacy block, foundational skills programs, Geodes®, and Wit & Wisdom can work together to help students improve their decoding, comprehension, and fluency. To help our students grow, my colleagues and I approached our literacy block in the following ways:

Foundational Skills Program

Phonemic awareness and phonics instruction indisputably help students learn to decode. To teach students phonemic and phonics skills, we used the free Tennessee Foundational Skills Curriculum Supplement each day. Our program included guidance that helped teachers notice and track students’ strengths and growth areas with phonics. To avoid isolated work, we used the same method to record anecdotal notes during Geodes practice and, for some teachers, to monitor students’ success with Wit & Wisdom fluency passages. This monitoring deepened teachers’ understanding of students’ literacy development.

I encouraged teachers to make connections to foundational skills during Geodes and Wit & Wisdom instruction. For example, one teacher would pause on a Geodes page to indicate words that followed the patterns students practiced in foundational skills instruction. Occasionally, students even identified words that fit patterns they were learning in Wit & Wisdom texts. These connections helped teachers and students realize that decoding never happens in isolation—decoding skills prove useful and relevant whenever they read.

Wit & Wisdom

Based on the anecdotal notes collected for each literacy block, teachers made informed decisions about the student support they offered during Wit & Wisdom instruction. Teachers provided scaffolds such as modeling fluent reading, pulling a small group to Echo or Choral Read module text passages, chunking fluency passages and module texts focusing on the most critical knowledge, and using the fluency protocol within Multilingual Learner (MLL) Resources—which benefited MLLs and many other students who needed fluency support.

We learned that the Wit & Wisdom fluency passages grow more complex over time: The passages in Grades K and 1 exhibit much less complexity than those in Grades 2 and up, when students possess more word-recognition skills. Knowing this helped us understand that students don’t need to read each fluency passage perfectly. Rather than ask students to memorize and perform the passage each week, teachers listened for evidence that students’ accuracy, automaticity, phrasing, and expression improved after each week of purposeful instruction.


Geodes build powerful bridges between the students’ foundational skills program and Wit & Wisdom by providing opportunities to practice learning. Using Inside Geodes®, teachers often prepared specific practice with the decodable and trick words before students began reading. After reading, teachers discussed the comprehension questions to ensure students understood what they decoded. For two to three days, students reread the Geodes text to improve their fluency and comprehension before moving to a new text with a similar Focus Concept.

When students read Geodes, teachers extended practice with other elements of fluency, including phrasing, expression, and reading rate. Teachers then used Wit & Wisdom fluency passages to assess how students transferred these skills to new and more complex texts. By giving students substantial fluency practice in Wit & Wisdom and Geodes, teachers noticed that students progressively improved their performance on the complex Wit & Wisdom fluency passages.


While the Wit & Wisdom fluency passages can challenge students in Grades K–2, they offer many benefits to both teachers and students: Teachers can identify students’ obstacles and offer appropriate supports across the literacy block while students can strengthen comprehension of complex texts and build knowledge. By ensuring that emerging and developing readers strategically develop word recognition and language comprehension, teachers set them up for success with fluency and comprehension. Once we learned about the science of reading, my team and I felt confident that supporting all students with challenging grade-level texts fostered equity and led to successful literacy development throughout students’ schooling. 

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Topics: Wit & Wisdom Featured Geodes Science of Reading Fluency