Reading Strategies Goal 4: Teaching Fluency

I'm back! 
Today we are continuing our study of  




Today I'll be covering Goal 4- Teaching Fluency: Reading With Phrasing, Intonation, and Automaticity.

If you're just joining this study now & would like to read about goals one, two, and three- you can click below to read those.

Goal Three: Supporting Print Work


Teaching Fluency

One reason I really enjoy teaching first grade is that I get to see students progress into becoming fluent readers.  I love working with them and watching their development.
In the introduction of this goal a statement was made about fluency that I really thought was spot on.  Students who are reading fluently with phrasing, expression,  etc. are demonstrating their understanding of the text they are reading. When a student is struggling with getting the words out and are reading word by word, it is often hard for them to gain meaning from what they are reading.


In working towards the goal of reading  fluently, students need to be developing in:

Being able to read phrases and not just word by word
Reading with expression- using their voice to convey what is written 
Using emphasis to match what is written (words that are written in bold print or in all capitals)
Reading automatically (not having to stop and decode)
Reading at the correct pace- not too fast and not too slow

Our school has used a program for years to determine if a student is fluent or not.  They are timed on 3 passages and given an oral reading rate based on how they read these passages.  This determines their fluency rate. I am not a fan of this method. There might be other components of this program that our school has not used.  I feel it only measures a part of what is needed to be a fluent reader.  I have students every year ( thankfully not a lot) that can read all the words on the paper automatically, but when I ask them to tell me about what they read, they don't know.  I personally think a running record gives a much better insight into a reader's fluency and comprehension.

Jennifer gives so many wonderful strategies for developing fluency in our students.  There are 21 strategies in goal 4.  The majority of these are ones we can use with levels D through Z.  She states that we don't really expect fluency in levels A-C because they are working on one-to-one matching at this point (matching one spoken word for each word that is written).




Have I Seen It on the Word Wall?

Our goal in teaching sight words is that they will be able to recognize them automatically.  I wish we could just show them the words, talk about them, practice them a few times and BAM they know them!  For some kids, this is what happens. For some kids, the more they read, the more they increase (on their own) in recognizing and reading these words.  For a lot of kids this just isn't so.  These kids can read the words in isolation during the week we are focusing on that list, but forget them at a later date.  In first grade we do a lot of activities to increase student ability in reading sight words.  We play games, we practice reading fluency phrases, we build the words, etc.  

In strategy number one Jennifer says to teach the readers to ask themselves if they've seen the word before they try using a different strategy.  Students who are good candidates for using this strategy could benefit from doing a warm-up read of the word wall before their independent reading for the day.

One activity I use in my classroom that my students enjoy is a word grid.  I call them Superhero Words.   I have them made for all of our Fry's sight words each week.  My kids love reading them & trying to decrease the amount of time it takes them to read through the grid.  I put a grid in each week's homework packet for them to practice at home during the week (as opposed to just giving a list of words). 
Here is an example of what a grid would look like for the first 10 words from the Fry's first 100 words.



The same 10 words repeat over & over in a mixed up order.  I have found this beneficial in helping some students with automaticity.

I have made an editable grid for you to snag HERE.
You can type in 10 words (along the top row and in 2 squares in the 2nd row).  As you type the top row you will see the words you are typing fill in other squares on the page.  On the second row the two squares that are for the last two words are somewhere in the middle of the row- you'll need to type in one and see if the words show up in other grids.  You can use this grid over and over.  Just save it separately with the words you typed, then use it to type in different words later.  This is a super easy activity to prep- type in whatever words you need to practice. 



A few prompts Jennifer suggests you can use when working with students on this strategy are:
Is that word you know?  Check the word wall.
Don't try to sound that one out.  Check the word wall first.
I see that one on the word wall.


Fluency Phone for Feedback


I love fluency phones. I own several and the kids love using them.  I have commercially made ones, but I've known many people who have made their own using PVC pipe.  If you watch, you can find them on sale.  Lakeshore recently had them for $2.99 each.



Students can use these phones to quietly read and listen to themselves.  You can prompt them to listen to themselves and if they sound choppy to reread and see if they can sound more like they talk. 

Here are some prompts you can use with this strategy:
As you listen to yourself read, do you think you think it sounded smooth or do you want to to go back and reread?
You really listened to yourself there- I noticed you went back to smooth out your reading.

These phones are fun too.  I may or may not have "received" calls on them from a popular famous singer, actor who asked questions about my students who were sitting with me at that time. The kids LOVED it! 

It's too early to be getting excited about school starting, but The Reading Strategies Book is really getting my wheels turning & I'm feeling excited about implementing some new strategies to spice up my reading instruction!


Have a great week!





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