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Home : 2007 : Jul : 21

    Fluency is a big push in my room...
    By Kat's Mom

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    I did my master's thesis on the importance of fluency, and it really changed the way I approach teaching reading in the classroom. After the different fluency-building activities I have added, I see a difference in my students' overall reading performance in all areas.

    One thing I do is book buddies with a first grade classroom. I used to teach 1st, so I kept all my tradebooks from then. My kids choose a book to practice for the week (some weeks I choose the books, according to their levels, especially at the beginning of the year). My students practice reading them to each other, and I even send them home in manila envelopes to practice w/ family members. I include a rubric w/ the book that the parent has to fill out and conference w/ their child about. Then, we read our books on Fridays to the book buddies. Reading these easier books helps build fluency in a way that tricks the kids into reading easy material, but with a "big kid" purpose.

    Back to the rubric I send home to the parents, I try once a week to send a fluency homework home w/ a rubric where the students have to read to their parents a book/ passage we read at school, and the parent must "grade" and conference with their child. The parent must grade their child based on fluency, word decoding, speed, attention to punctuation, and the big one, expressive tone. This homework has proven very successful because some parents get big revelations about whether their child is struggling w/ fluency or not. I just bought a fluency passage book from Scholastic at the end of the summer that has reproducible passages in it. I'm going to try to save myself some time by using these next year in place of me constantly running textbook pieces off the copier.

    One other thing the reading specialist recently did with the children was called "reading to the wall". The children are given a passage to practice "reading to the wall". When they have to face the wall, they can hear their voice reverberate back, and they are also not afraid to read out loud because everyone is doing it at the same time, and it's somewhat private. We then have them read the passage to a partner. Again, we make use of a child-friendly rubric, and let the partners rate each other's fluency based on the rubric.

    One other method I use I learned in a master's class, and it is a simple but helpful tip! When I do guided reading groups, I sometimes do running records. I actually ahead of time, assign page numbers in the tradebook for each student to practice, telling them they can ask a friend if there is an unfamiliar word they don't know. Then, we read the book with each student reading their assigned pages. It's like the looked-down-upon Round Robin, except the students read better and faster because the student had time to practice before reading their pages.

    Also, never underestimate the power of the Read Aloud. Your modeling the fluency and expression has an impact on the children, I think...


    View the original thread this idea was posted on



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