Adventures in Literacy Land: Fluency

Showing posts with label Fluency. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fluency. Show all posts

TEACHING READING IN SMALL GROUPS: Reading With Fluency and Expression

In Chapter 6, "Reading With Fluency and Expression," Jennifer Serravallo shows us how, in small groups, we can help our readers become more expressive through
  • small group shared reading
  • warm-up and transfer groups and
  • performance clubs. 
"Imagine reading instruction that depends on the voices of kids, their passions and foibles, hopes, and heartaches, and that depends on the face-to-face interactions between teachers and students around a book." - Lucy Calkins on Teaching Reading in Small Groups

Jennifer Serravallo imagines both.  She shows us how in this chapter on Fluency.

The Power of One Word

Earlier this year I was intrigued by a blog post from Tammy over at Forever in First.  She wrote about the book Moo!  After checking it out myself, reading it to my students, watching my students read it over and over, I witnessed the power that one single word (plus punctuation) can have!  And this only led to more books...

Exploring Software and Websites to Support Reading Comprehension

As teachers, we look for new ways to present information all...the...time, don't we? Pinterest, blog posts, Facebook, TPT, Instagram, and websites are all sources of help for teachers, and teachers are great at sharing lesson ideas they find. Today, I thought I'd do some sharing too. We have been exploring software and websites to support our kiddos with comprehension, so I'll share a review of what we've learned.

Five Unique Ways to Build Reading Fluency

Students' reading fluency develops just like bike riding skills. Our little ones start off reading word by word with occasional "falls", but with lots of practice, they gain speed and momentum to glide along and make meaning. This post includes lots of help for addressing reading fluency including freebies.

Reading is like riding a bike. You watch little ones beginning to ride a bike, they're wobbling all over the place. But as we practice and practice and practice, we don't even think about peddling anymore. Eventually we can ride with no hands. – G. Reid

Students' reading fluency develops just like bike riding skills. Our little ones start off reading word by word with occasional "falls", but with lots of practice, they gain speed and momentum to glide along and make meaning. The challenge of reading fluently requires several subskills in order for a reading to experience fluency success. What are those skills?

Using Reader's Theater to Build Fluency

Many of my early readers read word by word, with little expression. I need to provide experiences for them to read more fluently and with proper phrasing and intonation. This will not only make their reading sound better, it will make the content more comprehensible. 

Read-alouds and shared readings allow teachers to model how fluent reading sounds and shapes the understanding of the text. 

Rereading stories helps students practice reading books on their independent reading level to improve their fluency and comprehension. 

During guided reading groups teachers can build fluency and support children’s expressive reading through choral reading, reading along with books on tape and reader’s theater.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
I love developing my students’ fluency skills using all of these strategies, but my favorite way to work on fluency and reading expression is reader’s theater. I first fell in love with reader’s theater when I read Sharon Taberski’s book Comprehension From the Ground Up and had the opportunity to meet her.  Since there were not many Reader’s Theaters for Kindergarten she encouraged me to write my own.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Reader’s theater helps readers develop fluency, build detailed retells and improves phrasing and expression when reading. Reading, speaking and listening are combined to make reading an engaging experience for my students. My students LOVE performing reader’s theaters and look forward to Theater Thursday when we break out the microphone for our weekly performance. Check out Comprehension From the Ground Up and consider adding reader's theater to your reading workshop.
Are You My Mother? from Jonelle Bell on Vimeo.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Provide opportunities for your Kindergarten students to read fluently and with expression by using reader’s theater scripts in Kindergarten. This post includes a link to a great professional read and pictures of reader’s theater in action in a Kindergarten classroom.
Check out more about Reader's Theater on my blog, 
A Place Called Kindergarten.

Building Fluency for Struggling Readers with Reader's Theater

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead!  I am here to share some information about how you can support your struggling readers and help them improve their fluency with Reader's Theater.

I mentioned Reader's Theater in a blog post last year called No More Robot Reading. Check it out here. Are you wondering -what is Reader's Theater?  In Reader's Theater, students do not memorize lines. They use scripts and practice using vocal expression to get the audience (or imagined audience) understanding the story rather then by using visuals like props and costumes. There are so many Reader's Theater resources out there, and many are free! I will share some with you at the end of this post.

Reader's Theater is a  great vehicle to get students to improve their  intonation, pausing, and inflection and to read with expression. I love using this with my RTI Tier 1 reading groups and there is such a wide variety of reading levels available in reader's theater scripts that I can use it with all readers-from struggling readers to those who need a challenge.

I found some great advice over at  Reading Rockets for using it. Some of Susan Finney's advice includes: Starting out with fun scripts (limit boring dialogue), you can model each character's part and match the character to which student would be best to read it (OR my thought is, after your students are comfortable with the concept of Reader's Theater, challenge your students by assigning them a part that they may not have gravitated to), and provide teacher support for vocabulary and understanding characters.

You can do so much with reader's theater - as the title of this post states,  it is terrific for practicing fluency, but you can do a TON with vocabulary and comprehension too!

Here are some resources for Reader's Theater.

Aaron Shepard has some amazing resources on his blog!
      Aaron's Tips for Using Reader's Theater
      Aaron's Free Reader's Theater Scripts
Timeless Teacher Tips' Links to Reader's Theater Scripts - an old site but useful: scroll down for links  to scripts
Giggle Poetry's Poetry Themed Reader Theater Scripts
Joanne Griffin's Reader's Theater Scripts
PBS Kids'  Scripts
A post from an elementary teacher with her tips on using Reader's Theater
Using Reader's Theater Scripts for Homework
Ideas from a New York Times Post if you would like to adapt prose yourself for RT


When to Say "So Long!" to Finger Pointing

Hello Literacy Land Readers!  I'm dropping in today to talk about...

Finger pointing, or having children point to each word as they read is a common practice for emergent readers.  Finger pointing helps the reader learn to look carefully at print.  It supports two early reading behaviors, directional movement and voice-print match.

However, there comes a time when readers should learn to rely on their eyes rather than their fingers.

When a reader points as he reads, he is forced to slow down, which limits fluency and often causes him to sound robotic.  Pointing can prevent students from growing into fluent, expressive readers.

Once students show evidence of correct directional movement and master one-to-one correspondence, it is time to say 'so long' to finger pointing.

When I sense that my students are ready to move to eye-tracking, (usually at a Fountas and Pinnell Level D), we have a little good bye ceremony for the pointer finger.  We literally "kiss" that finger good bye. While many students will outgrow the use of finger pointing on their own, others will need some guidance.

Try using the following strategies to move your students from finger pointing to eye-tracking:

Read in Phrases
Explain to students that when their mouth is saying a word, their eyes should be moving ahead to get ready for the next few words. Demonstrate the how it sounds to read word by word and how it sounds to read words grouped together in short phrases. Students need to hear the difference. Looking ahead to upcoming words also helps students prepare for upcoming punctuation.

Work Out Tricky Words
Teach students that it is okay to use their finger when they come to a difficult word. By using their finger, they can isolate parts of the word and tackle them one chunk at a time.  Remind students to remove their finger as soon as the word is decoded.  Then go back and reread the sentence smoothly to get the meaning.

Keep Your Place
It is common for some students to lose their place as they read.  As students progress through the reading levels, the font of the text decreases and the length of the text increases, often resulting in students skipping lines as they read.  When this happens, encourage students to ask themselves if what they are reading makes sense and sounds right.  Using this cuing will often solve the issue.

However, for students who consistently skip lines, you may want to try a sliding tool like a bookmark or index card.  The student can slide it down the page as they read.  The sliding tool allows them to keep their place in the text while still being able to read the line of text ahead.  Some teachers have students place the slider above the line the student is reading.  This allows students to train their eyes to make the return sweep to the next line (without the slide tool covering the words).  Other teachers prefer that students use a finger to point at the beginning of each line the child is reading.  As the student's visual tracking improves this strategy should be phased out.

The ultimate goal is to read without the use of finger pointing or sliders so that readers can focus on the meaning of the text.


An Easy Fluency Fix

Hello to everyone!  It's Andrea from Reading Toward the Stars with an idea for helping with fluency in your classroom.

I have been working with my third graders to help them read with fluency.  They love to ramble through words or read soooo s-l-o-w-l-y that anyone that would fall asleep.  Each week we work on a new passage and different strategy to help with their fluency.  Several weeks ago, we worked on using punctuation to help build our fluency.

After reading the passage several times, we talked about how to read it, so it would be understood more clearly.  I read it with NO punctuation, and they laughed at me.  I made lots of mistakes and sounded awful.  I then read it as it was supposed to be read, and they "got it".

We talked about the punctuation in the passage, and they highlighted all of the punctuation.  Then when they read it, they read it with better fluency, pausing as needed to make it sound right.

Using punctuation is an important factor in fluency.  Students need it to help with prosody and inflection.  It helps to make sense of what they are reading and leads to better comprehension.

What are some ways you help your students attend to punctuation when reading?


Fun with Christmas Carols!

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea here from Reading Toward the Stars with some quick and easy ideas for using seasonal songs in your classroom.

I have been working with my kindergarten students with gaining concept of word.  This is something that our current reading program lacks, and it is heavily assessed throughout the year.  This past week we worked on using the song "Jingle Bells" for concept of word practice.  They used bingo markers to put marks under the words in the poem.

After doing that, we counted the words in each line and went back and read the poem, while they pointed to the dots as we said each word.

After reading through the poem, they then looked for various letters in the poem and marked them.

They really had fun with this and can't wait for the next poem.

This week with my older students, we are going to work on reading Christmas songs and not singing them.  This helps with fluency practice since the students have to attend to the words and think about what they are reading.

I am going to use my Fluency with Christmas Carols with them to help them with this.  We will READ the songs. Then they can fill in the blanks with words from the songs to practice.  You can grab this freebie by clicking {here} or on the picture below.

How do you use holiday songs in your classroom?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Fluency Rubric

Hello Literacy Land friends! 

Last month I stopped by to share some information that I learned at a Smekens Education workshop.  The post was all about the power that punctuation has on fluency. Today I wanted to share just a few more fluency tips that I received and tried out!

Smekens suggested that fluency be taught intentionally.  Students cannot work towards something that they don't understand.  One way to help this understanding is though a fluency rubric.  The rubric is to be created with/by the students and over time.  You can check out the other suggestions that they have for this rubric by clicking HERE.

I really wanted to build some lessons around the idea of this rubric.  My thought was that if I built this foundation and the expectation, then students would work towards it throughout the rest of the year.  Here is what I decided to do:

Day 1: Introduce the rubric and the term fluency; read "Wolf"
Day 2: Introduce the power of punctuation on fluency with the book "The Monster At The End of This Book"
Day 3: Introduce phrasing using "Wolf" and a concrete ribbon lesson
Day 4: Practice phrasing (swoops) and rhythm through poetry

The following terms are used on Smekens fluency rubric: "robot reader," "skateboard reader," and "robot reader on a skateboard."  I liked these terms because I think my first graders can relate to them.  They are more concrete than just a smiley face or sad face.

So on day 1I decided to jump right in and explain the three parts to our rubric.  Then....we did not add anything else.  Instead, I just read to them.  I read "Wolf."

If you have not read this book, it is perfect when introducing fluency.  The wolf is learning to read.  As the story goes on, students get a pretty good understanding of what it means to read with fluency because the wolf goes through these different stages.  After listening to the story, my students were able to quickly add to our rubric.  They told me that a robot reader may read too slow or too fast but that a skateboard reader is not going too fast or slow.  Along with this, they added that robots are choppy and boring, while skateboards are smooth and interesting. (Yes!!!)

As each day progressed, we added to this rubric. 

After reading this text on day 2, students were able to tell me that skateboard readers sound like the character and change their voice by using punctuation.  Robot readers do not.

The discussion about phrasing on day 3 is a tad bit trickier because I think it is sometimes hard for their little ears to hear how we group words as speakers and readers.  I try to make it as concrete as possible by using index cards, ribbons, and lots of movement.  You can read my full post about these activities at Curious Firsties. 
On day 4 we actually put the phrasing into action using phrasing swoops with a poem.

This helped all the lessons come together for them and they were able to add even more to the rubric about rhythm and phrasing.

As the lessons came to close (although we will focus on fluency all year long), I realized that they had actually learned a lot about how fluency should sound and not sound.  They loved the texts that we read and were very engaged.  But most importantly, my first graders came to understand that they would all be robot readers and skateboard readers this year.  I told them that as learners we can't be skateboard readers all the time.  Reading can be challenging and when it is we sometimes become robot readers.  I know I would fall into that part of the rubric if I was reading a medical journal.  But I went on to explain that as we read that challenging text more often, we become skateboard readers.

It is the cycle of learning and we are all on it.

Have you tried using a fluency rubric in your classroom?  If so, where there any lessons or books that you found to be helpful?


Attending to Punctuation

Hi everyone!  I am stopping by today to share some ideas about punctuation.  Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a Smekens Education professional development on small group reading instruction. I shared some of my take-aways from the PD at Curious Firsties, but today I wanted to dig deeper into the great punctuation tips that I learned.

In order to explicitly illustrate the power of punctuation, books need to be chosen with intention.  As I was thinking about this, I realized that some books just lend themselves to teaching punctuation naturally.  One example is the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.

The text within these books is simple enough that students can focus on the punctuation and the meaning behind what Mo Willems is saying.  Here are two examples from "There Is a Bird on Your Head."  The sentences are the same but the punctuation changes the meaning.

What a great opportunity Mo Willems has created for us, the teachers!  Thank you!!  It helps us to focus on that meaning of punctuation, which supports the fluency we are aiming towards.

Smekens Education recommends two other books because they also have simple text with a variety of punctuation.

Are there other texts that you feel lend themselves well to punctuation exposure, experience, and instruction?

These books work well to teach punctuation because the text is simple and allows the focus to be on the punctuation.  An activity was suggested that supports these texts.  Smekens suggests that students read just alphabet letters with punctuation.  This allows them to not worry about decoding, using reading strategies, or getting "stuck."  They can just read the names of the letters and focus their energy on the punctuation.

A C R !

F G Y ?

I found a FREEBIE that they created if you want to try this activity.

As they explained this activity, I thought you could also do it with easy sight words your students know. (It would sneak in some of that sight word practice).  Students could pick out three sight words from a pool of words that they know.  They could add a punctuation mark and read the "sentence" aloud to the group.  Then they could change the punctuation mark and reread the "sentence."  I picture this taking place in a small group or at a center, where I record them reading the "sentences" aloud.

What are some ways that you explicitly work on the power of punctuation?


Incorporating More Fluency

Happy Wednesday Literacy Land friends! It is Em from Curious Firsties to talk about some quick tips to boost reading fluency in our students---at any age!

Working with first graders that are currently reading at a lower level than peers, I am always searching for more ways to get print into their lives.  I am always looking for more ways to incorporate more "time on text" for them.

After attending a Literacy Conference this winter, I walked away with some fluency tips that I wanted to explore and implement.  Here are some of them:

1. Closed Captions at home
I don't think this is a new tip.  There is research to support the benefits that closed captions do have on reading.  I found many research articles listed on Zane Education.  In the fall, we asked our parents to start turning on the closed captions (with child-appropriate TV shows); however, my own little preschoolers watch PBS without the closed captions on because I never remember to turn them on.  It made me wonder...if I'm not doing it, how many other families are not doing it?

My school had conferences last week and we decided that we would make the closed captioning suggestion again, but this time we would use magnets.  My hope is that families will go home and remember this tip when they put their magnet on the fridge!

Thanks to 3AM Teacher for frame and KG fonts.
You can grab these magnets for free, print them off, cut them out, laminate them (if you would like), and stick a little magnet on the back.

2. Neurological Impress Method
Tim Rasinski introduced me to this type of paired reading when I saw him speak at the Ohio Literacy Conference in December.  Since then I have done some more reading and research on the method.  It is very similar to paired reading but there are some slight differences.

*Choose a book at the student's instructional level (for the first few sessions, I would use an independent text until the student understands the technique).
*Sit next to and slightly behind the student.  In "The Fluent Reader," Rasinski suggests that you try to read into the student's left ear.
*The more proficient reader points to the text (or both readers point).
*Both readers begin reading the text; however, the more proficient partner readers slightly faster and louder.

This is a more intense method to paired reading because the student will need to keep up with the proficient reader.  Due to this, Rasinski suggests that these sessions would last no longer than 15 minutes (and even less time when you first begin).  But that over the course of the week 3 of these sessions should occur.

ReadStrong provides some additional information on this type of paired reading.  I also watched quite a few videos that demonstrate how neurological impress method should look.  Here are two videos that my vertical team watched together to get a better idea of how to implement:

3. Purpose to Repeated Readings
Repeated readings also assist in reading fluency.  As Rasinski discussed repeated readings at the Ohio Literacy Conference he said that you should always set up your lesson with a purpose behind the repeated readings.  I was thinking, "Yes, yes, of course.  I do this."  But do I?  I always set up my lessons with why we need to do this or that.  But when it comes to reading  a text more than once, do I really give my students the necessary motivation to become more proficient and fluent?

It got me thinking....and I made some changes.

I started doing my daily fluency practice a little different this year in my small groups.  You can read more about that here.  One major difference is the purpose I establish.  Each Friday I will be audio recording each small group reading a particular text.  I use the free Evernote app to record them chorally reading.  Then they will each get a CD filled with these recordings.  They were so excited to hear about the CD.  YES!  Purpose was established!

Have you found that any of these tips have worked in your classroom?
What are some fluency tips that you use in your classroom or ask your families to try to incorporate?


Pinning Down Prosody with Poetry

Hello, everyone!  Andrea here from Reading Toward the Stars to focus on an important aspect of:

What is prosody?  Merriam-Webster says that it is the rhythm and pattern of sounds of poetry and language.  But, what does that mean when we are teaching students to read?

So many times when we teach fluency, the students think we just want them to read fast, but fluency is so much more than reading fast.   We want students to read at a steady pace, not too fast; not too slow; but just right.  To achieve this, we have to teach our students prosody:  pitch, stress, and timing to convey meaning when reading aloud.
Every week, my various student groups work with poetry.  On the first day we either read the poem together or choral read the poem, depending on the grade level.  We talk about the poem to make sure we understand it.  Throughout the week, we do various activities with the poem, like search for special words {sight words, important words, suffixes, prefixes, contractions, rhyming, etc.}.

My third graders need a lot of work with prosody.  They know the words in the poems, for the most part, but really need help with prosody.  Many times they just zip through what they are reading and don't take time to think about how it should sound.  I have started using one of my tried and true favorites for helping students with prosody ~ coding punctuation.

We love to highlight different words in the poems, but my students really liked highlighting punctuation and then reading the poem like it should sound.  After reading the poem really quickly, I had the students find the various types of punctuation in the poem.

We started with the question mark and talked about how it would sound when we read it.  We highlighted it and practiced that one line as a question and not as a question.  We talked about how it should sound and why.

Then we moved on to mark all of the periods in the poem and talked about how we needed to take a breath.  We practiced the poem with and without the periods.  So funny to hear them almost lose their breath without the periods!

The last thing we coded were the words in all caps. We talked about how we needed to read them loudly, as if we were shouting.  Then we practiced it.  This was, by far, their favorite!

I reminded my group that they did not just have to read like this with poetry, but that they should read like this ALL the time.  I gave them these bookmarks to keep with them to help them remember how to read with prosody, or emotion as we call it.  You can grab this freebie {here} or by clicking on the picture below.

I want to leave you with some great places to get some free poems and passages to help students read with emotion.

Enjoy these resources to help your students gain prosody, an important part of fluency!

What are some ways you help your students gain prosody while reading?

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday