Increase Reading Fluency with Fluency Timer

fluency timer logoI’m excited to announce that I’ve developed and released my very first software application, Fluency Timer, available now in the new Mac App Store or via my own site at:

Fluency Timer is both a timer and a recorder that records students’ one minute fluency readings.  Research has shown that having students listen to themselves reading will increase reading fluency over time.  There are other voice recorders that exist but none have an integrated timer and all are too complicated for me to quickly teach students to use.

In my own classroom I have been having students read their daily reading passages into the computer and then playing it back and having them listen to themselves reading.  After the initial novelty of hearing their own voices played through the computer wears off, students study the reading passage while listening and start to become cognizant of their mistakes.  They ask me if they can reread the same passages over again to try and read them better.  It has made reading fluency into a game so that it’s no longer tedious to practice.

In addition to providing an instant independent work time activity, teachers can use it when assessing students to review student reading to complete running records, DIBELS assessments, etc. and to keep a record of how students have read throughout the year with automatic time and date stamping.  You can easily share recordings with parents coaches, administrators, and students themselves via the computer, an iPod, a CD, or a web site.

How Does it Work?

1. Press record. Timer counts down and automatically stops after 60 seconds.

2. Name your file and Save to iTunes.

3. Your file is added to iTunes.

4. From iTunes, play back for students, parents, and coaches or add to iPod and/or burn to CD.

Fluency Timer is available only for Macintosh computers (not for iOS devices at this time).  It’s exciting to dream up something and then see it come to fruition.  I hope you find it useful in your classroom.

For more fluency resources see the Fluency page of Open Court and the Reader’s Theater page for free printable Reader’s Theater.

Find Fluency Timer here.

8 Responses to “Increase Reading Fluency with Fluency Timer”

  1. Kevin Hodgson Says:

    Cool, Matt.
    I hope you get a lot of folks downloading the app.
    I’d love to get a reflection on your process of development someday.

  2. Mathew Says:

    Thanks Kevin,

    I do plan to write about how to go about creating an app some time in the future.

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  5. Jennifer Hackney Says:

    Hi! My name is Jennifer Hackney and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am majoring in Elementary Education and I am in micro-computing system (EDM 310). I think it is awesome that you have created a software that will help students become more fluent in reading. When I was younger I had a hard time with reading. So, I think it would of been great to have a software that would of helped me with it. I love that your students are eager to read more and improve their reading skills. It is always great to see students ready to learn. You’re blog is great and has awesome ideas to incorporate in your classroom. Our class blog is and my personal blog is if you would like to check it out. I look forward to your future post and talking with you.

  6. Steve Braudo Says:

    Any chance that you can adapt this nifty application for use on PCs, or is it only going to be available on MAC?

  7. Mathew Says:

    An iPhone version is in the works but a PC version is not likely given the expense of development and the lack of any PC app store. Thank you for your interest.

  8. Erin Holton Says:

    Mr. Needleman,
    Wow, what a great idea! I think it’s incredible how you were able to research and recognize an issue your students were having, invent a way to make learning easier and more entertaining, and then watch your idea come to life. This software looks like it’s easy enough that any student can quickly pick it up but integrated enough that parents and teachers can access it through iTunes. This really is an fascinating approach to help your students, and I’m interested to see if it helps them with their test scores! I look forward to continuing to read your blog and incorporate your ideas into my own classroom. Thanks for the insight! If you’d like to view our class blog you can see it at My personal blog is, and I will be leaving a summary of your post there. Thanks again!
    Erin Holton

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