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Fluency Practice

Compiled By: Mrs. G

It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between good fluency and silent reading comprehension. Here are some ways to incorporate fluency practice into your classroom

Fluency is a big push in my room...
Posted by: Kat's Mom

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...

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Posted by: Ann

I just started a fluency program that is working great! Each week 1/2 of the class are readers and the other half are listeners. I choose books that are 1 level below their instructional reading level.
Day 1 - They use a "phone" (pvc pipe phone) to read the book aloud to themselves. Usually this is during our SSR time.
Day 2 -- They read their book out loud to a listener. (again during SSR time)
Day 3 -- They read out loud to a different listener
Day 4 -- They read out loud to an assistant or me.
Day 5 -- They read out loud to an adult. I recruited our principal, assistant principal, literacy coordinator and speech teacher. They each listen to 3 children and write a couple of notes for me about their fluency.

They read the same book all week. They are always asking me to read their "book" when they have free time. Also, these are normally picture books. If it is a longer picture book they only read 5 pages to the adult on Friday so it doesn't take up too much time. Then the next week the listeners become readers and the readers become listeners, so each child gets a turn. The reports that have come back from the adult listeners has been great! Hope this makes sense! Good luck.

Posted by: Rebecca

Poetry- My students keep a poetry spiral(notebook). I give them a copy of a poem each Monday. I display it in a pocket chart too. We use this all week (they illustrate it, color code it [by rhyming patterns, repetition, etc.] ). We choral read it, echo read it, have one half of the room read part, then the other half, alternate lines, etc. We read it a lot all week and they have to have a certain amount of signatures on the back by Friday showing that they have read it that many times outside of class. By Friday, they have to read it to me. Then the poem (strips from the pocket chart) goes into the Poetry Center.

We also read the poems from the weeks before. Sometimes they choose, sometimes I choose. Sometimes we go back and read them all together, in our small groups, with a partner, etc. This is a favorite!

Read Around- This is not exactly Round Robin. I give them a paragraph or page. They tag it with a sticky note. They get to practice it to themselves several times BEFORE they read it to the group.

Reader's Theatre- Another FAV! This does NOT require props or costumes. The students get a script on Monday. They have all week to practice it. On Friday, they read to the class. One thing you might try is to have stands (like music stands) for them to put their scripts on. I usually find plays that will involve a third or a half the class at a time(I only have 17). I might make the sets so we perform it two or three different times, or sometimes I give each group a different script. There are some good scripts on line. Lisa Blau is one site that has a lot.

Radio Reading- I have a play microphone to use. This works best in small group (at least for me it does). Each student performs a text that they have practiced and had a chance to rehearse. One reader takes on the role of an annoucer the others are listeners. Then the next student takes his turn. I usually use small passages for this.

Hope these help.

weave it into everyday instruction
Posted by: teachfla

I make fluency part of everyday instruction. We read a Morning Message as a class every day where I focus on rhythm and how we change voice patterns for different punctuation. We listen to our reading story on tape once a week, and I require my kids to follow along using their index finger. I think they notice more that way. When we read in their science or scoial studies books, we read chorally. If students don't read with the same cadence, we read it again. I require them to read all instructions for worksheets out loud together, too. If I read them anything, my rule is "I'll read to you. If you don't follow along (meaning with a finger) then you'll read to me." We recently sat down as a team to go over Dibels results and my kids had really high scores compared to the other classes. I guess it's working!

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Posted by: bonnie

Some things you might want to try are:
1. Readers Theater... students have parts to read not act or memorize. They do however usually practice their parts so often they do know them. They practice their parts dozens of times (in class and at home), this practice helps them to read fluently. This does transfer to other reading. They need multiple (like 8) exposures to increase the fluency.

2. choral reading

3. poetry... I give a poem every few days and introduce it and we read it. I read it model it discuss it etc.. then they echo then they read. Then we read a few oldies but goodies afterwards plus every chance we have a few minutes to spare we get out the poetry folders. Kids need lots of exposures to same material to be fluent at it and this way provides it without saying reread it again.

4. Whenver we read stories (shared reading) we find neat ways to read it again. They practice parts (pages or sections) and be experts on, or we take 1 minute timers and each read for a minute the whole stroy, or practice with a few partners and tape the story so I can hear it on my way home, buddy read. I wnt them to get lots of opportunities to reread but don't want them to say oh no not agin... they don't.

5. timed readings... a partner times you on a cold reading on a brief passage 150 words. You time them, mark the plae you were when 1 min. went off, practice few times together both choral silent echo etc.... retime practice on their own few times ( I use phones made out of about 4 inch lengths of pvc pipe with elbows on both ends what a GODSEND) retime agian work til see progress and reach their goal (which they had set with partner after cold reading... mine are usually around 100 words read correctly per min

There's lots more but this should keep them busy awhile and improving at the same time.

Good Luck

one tool ---- whisper phones
Posted by: hescollin

Whisper Phones. They are cheap and simple to make. Take two pieces of curved plastic PC pipe and a short straight piece. Put them together to look like a telephone receiver. Student whisper reads in one end and can hear themselves with the end at their ear.

We learned this at a readers workshop a couple years ago.

We have 25 minutes of silent reading each day. Some students read with an adult, some read with a buddy (they can sit on the floor on pillows), some read to themselves (they can use whisper phones).

We use a pocket chart and change the arrangement each day.

Read from a chapter book daily to the class. We all read aloud fifteen minutes each day. Charlottes Web, Triumpet of the Swan, Charlies Chocolate Factory, The Ugly Ducklin, Stellalula, and the list of excellent books goes on and on. If you don't have the books, go to the public library and check out the book you want to read to the class. It's free.

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Posted by: Farrah

I teach Reading Recovery and work one on one with the lowest students in my school for 30 minutes everyday. I have been through extensive training and learned researched-based approached ways to teach those 'hardest to teach.' I cannot tell you how to teach fluency, but I have used this technique successfully when teaching phrasing (which relates to fluency).
Using a familiar text, such as a trade book or your reading book, write one sentence on an sentence strip. Make sure you put a lot of space between your words. Then you model how you want the child to sound when he reads.
For example, if the text is ' "I can jump," said the grasshopper.' Write that on a sentence strip and cut the strip between the words 'jump' and 'said.' Then model the phrasing like you would read it:
"I can jump" Read phrased (smooth and connected with inflections in your voice), but you will naturally stop here because that is the way we speak. There is a very brief pause between phrases when good readers read.
"said the grasshopper." This group is said together naturally when we speak.

You are modeling the natural technique of phrasing that good readers already do. You want to accentuate the pauses between the phrases to get your point across, because these choppy readers don't realize to put in the inflections and pauses when reading. After you model this technique, have the child practice one line at a time.
Praise them when they read phrased "I like the way you read that part! It sounds just like they were really talking!" or "Your reading sounds so smooth!" or "I like the way you made that sound!"

As to 'teaching' fluency: I guess you could have them read the same passage over and over and over again until they read it faster and faster, but that really doesn't teach fluency. It makes them think that the faster you read, the better reader you are and we know that isn't true. Reading then becomes a task of calling out words at a neck-breaking pace, and they don't necessarily comprehend what they're reading. I believe that phrased, accurate, meaningful reading leads to fluency--not that fluency leads to phrased, accurate, meaningful reading.

Posted by: Mrs. T

We don't grade our students in fluency but do use a rubric to let the students know what the expectations are. First of all... checking fluency shouldn't be on a first read of text. Kids should get to practiced and show you their best effort. Our rubric evaluates 4 aspects of fluency and each has an icon to help the kids remember:
I read quickly (cheetah)
I read smoothly (swan)
I remembered most of the words (elephant)
I read with expression (monkey)

I am thinking of adding an icon for "I read the punctuation" because we have been working on this a lot... I am not sure of an icon yet!

The kids practice with partners and use the rubric to evaluate each other. You could modify it for your class, model your expectations and add point values if you must assign a grade.

Posted by: LindaR

I taught 6th graders last year who were VERY low in their reading skills. Fluency is very important for comprehension, so you are wise to look for strategies.

I did a simple activity which seemed to get the kids excited, as well as GREATLY raise their fluency scores. I first tested them individually and let them see what they could do in 1 min. from a District assessment (a story summary from Houghton Mifflin). We had an established fluency range for each grade.

Then, whenever we started a new story in class (almost weekly), I would pass out the story summary sheet for each student, read it aloud as they followed. After that, I read it again for one minute for them to follow. I sometimes would miss a word, so they could know how to underline it (or strike through with their pencil).

Next, I would pair them up to listen to each other read for 1 min. and mark words missed. They also would put a bracket after the word where the timer went off. The timer was set as I watched the kids taking turns listening and reading.

I also required them to do a 1 min. fluency reading at home 3 times a week, using the same summary (parents sign!).

I hope I explained this well enough. My students were so excited to see their progress when I assessed them again in the middle and end of the year.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Posted by: imalith

Fluency practice is the repeated reading of a passage. Students should not try to "race", but read the passage with prosody. Since I have sixth graders, I start fluency practice after Christmas for students that need it. I do not have students practice fluency passages if they are fluent. These students may work on Reader's Theater passages to improve their vocal expression.

I test the students fluency at the beginning of each quarter. To do this, I use three standard grade level passages. The student reads for one minute. I write down the number of words minus the errors. I start in December, so I compare results from the beginning of the first quarter. I find the correct fluency level for the student.

To practice fluency, students read the passage several times a day. They need to read precisely and correctly. They cannot read with a friend until they master the words. We choral read slowly at first. We practice other types of reading such as cloze reading, etc.

They read the same passage all week and must practice at home (if they are below grade level).

For testing and graphing, you need to just do a typical cold/hot read test. Students read "cold" with no practice and time for one minute. On Friday, after much practice they read same passage "hot" Mark each side by side on a graph cold is blue and red is hot. Obviously they will always show substantial improvment after the practice and it is very motivating to kids. The cool part is that you should start to see the bars of the blue cold reads going up. That is where the teacher is looking for improvement.

Finally, I retest again at the next quarter. Grade level students move up to reader's theater and some students move up a level, or continue to practice.

25 passages is plenty. Don't overdo fluency. It isn't real reading, as in reading for meaning. Some kids will always struggle to read fluently aloud. If they struggle with fluency, it is a sign that they will struggle with comprehension, but it isn't always an absolute.

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You Read to Me, I'll Read to You
Posted by: 1956BD

This series by Mary Ann Hoberman is excellent. They're four books in the series and students really seem to enjoy them. One is stories. One is scary tales. (Great to use around Halloween) One is fairy tales and the fourth is Mother Goose tales. There are fifteen poems or so in each book. Each poem is written for two voices. The stanzas are color coded for easy recognition of your part.

I have students pair up to read them together. I usually put a slower reader with a faster reader. The slower reader tries very hard to keep the pace that the better reader sets. I have them practice together for two to four days for 15 to 20 minutes of our reading class time. I walk around and listen. I also make suggestions for improvements. These usually have more to do with tone and intonation than pronunciation. Then each group presents for a grade. I let them add simple props and costume pieces for dramatic qualities.

I make sure they understand this is for a reading grade, because some students will begin to memorize it and I want them to actually read it on the day of the presentation.

These poems are also good to use with parent/child teams on literature nights if your school holds one.

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Building Fluency
Posted by: MW

My school is a "Reading First" school also. I found myself brainstorming ideas to increase fluency and how to use it in centers. This is what I come up with...I have the students re-read a small book for the week and use several activities to keep their attention. I use buddy reading, use a puppet to read (the student speaks as the puppet reads), we too make scripts or I use chart paper to group create scripts, we make a book of the story and too take it on the road to read (and or perform puppet shows) to other classrooms. The idea I've just put into action is using my camcorder to record a student reading a story (well practiced)to a group of students. We all love to be movie stars! Each of the families sent in the video tape and the student will share with their family and bring back the tape to add to it. This was a true hit with the parents! In the centers I have two different pop-up tents for students to read in and they love to do that. I believe fluency comes with re-reading in the beginning and our position is to make it interesting. I hope I've helped.

Perfect Answer your looking for...
Posted by: read2me

My 1st graders read their fluency folders every morning. I introduce 7 phrases or short sentences each week, starting at the 1st week of school.
I write them on sentence strips, on Friday I move them over to the Fluency corner. This is great for extra practice. They read, sort and write them.
Then a list of phrases are added to their folders. The students reread their fluency phrases from week to week. Every week 7 more are added. Some phrases or sentenes are dulicated, but they become very fluent with them. There is a long list, I do 7 a week . I just finished them last week. So our folders are complete.;)
I also put an ABC chart in, so that, they will become fluent at the begining of the year. Now I just put a list of Blends with pictures for them to read, fast and fluent, I say. This has helped in their journal writing, guided reading, and ORF in the Dibels testing. I have a list. If you want it, let me know.

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Fluency practice
Posted by: CC

When I explain fluency to my student I say When good readers read they sound like they are talking. Then I give 2 examples to illustrate my point. First I read a short passage without fluency. I read slowly word for word in monotone. I make it very obvious. Then I read it again at a good pace and with expression. I ask if they heard a difference and which way sounds more interesting. Then I choose a short passage for them to read. Make sure it is something they can read easily. The best passages are ones with a lot of punctuation. I explain how the punctuation helps you t read with fluency. Periods tell you to stop, commas take a short rest, quotations tell you to alter your voice, and so on. Then we practice. I read a sentece with fluency and they repeat. Then I call volunteers to demonstrate. Then they partner up and practice. I ask for more volunteers. By the end of the first lesson they get the idea. We continue to practice using familiar texts. Using a timer is another way to help students pick up the pace when reading. It is also a way to help them set a goal ex= 100 word in one minute. Good Luck.