What is reading fluency?
Being able to read fluently includes being able to read aloud smoothly and with expression to show an understanding of the text. To me, fluency is much more than just accurate reading of the individual words, but rather the comprehension of the words in order to share the reader’s understanding. Many of the students I work with have difficulty with accurate and fluent reading. So I’ve been looking for some good ideas that link in with the program I’m using in order to help my students become more fluent.
Helping my students to become fluent readers
One of the ways I’ve been helping with this is to read aloud to my students. I try and model what fluent reading sounds like and talk with my students about how my voice changes according to elements within the text, such as punctuation. Or how I may have raised my voice, or lowered because the text used bold type or italics. I might say, “Did you hear how my voice went louder as I said that word? That’s because the author put that word in bold so it’s meant to be emphasized.” I may also change my voice for different characters and I will also change my facial expression to show mood, as well as raise and lower my voice to show different moods. I think it’s important that students hear what fluent reading sounds like.
I’ve also started implementing a few targeted activities to help with fluency as well. These are ideas I’ve found on the Internet and thought they’d also work well with my students.
1. Fluency poster
I use the following chart to talk about some of the things I do with my voice when reading aloud. Then together, the student and I pick parts of their reading book to re-read practicing a particular element. It might be to read the dialogue differently for each of the characters, or change our voice to go up slightly at the end to show a question. The students seem to enjoy re-reading small sections of the book and focus on reading it in a different way.
I found the poster over at I Teach. What’s Your Super Power, so head over there if you’d like a copy for yourself.
The other way we’ve been practicing reading fluently, is by using fluency strips. I found this idea at Rowdy in Room 300, and thought it was brilliant so have been using it with my students as well. What I love about this idea, is it’s also a great way to review reading focus words we’ve been learning.
With the pictures below you will notice that the words used include those with the 2 different spellings of the /ch/ sound: “ch’ and ‘tch’ as well as a couple of 2 syllable words. I’ve then included some different punctuation marks so the students can change their voice according to the punctuation. The student I used these with didn’t want to do it at first, but after I completed a few of them he just took over and wanted a go. He especially liked saying object, he would even change his facial expression and body language to suit the tone of his voice.
Such a simple idea, that really seems to engage the students.
For More TnT Weekly Wrap’s, see these:
- TnT Weekly Wrap: Phonics Games;
- TnT Weekly Wrap: Reading Success; and
- TnT Weekly Wrap: Free Play Dough Mats.
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