As we all know, reading fluency is a challenge many students face. Similar to the point I made about math fact fluency here, if a student is using all their mental resources decoding words and doing the foundational skills of reading, they have very little left to spend comprehending. This is especially troubling with the increased focus on critical thinking and understanding the nuances of text that are embedded in the Common Core. However, unlike comprehension deficits, there are a number of strong, simple to implement interventions that can improve student fluency.
Today’s freebie focuses on my favorite- repeated readings. Why do I like repeated readings? Well, its quite simple really. The student gets multiple chances to read the text and gets the feel the success of becoming more and more fluent each time. From my experience, struggling readers desperately need this feeling of success because their experiences with reading have ultimately been linked with feelings of failure and inadequacy. That being said, repeated reading can be B-O-R-I-N-G! This is even more so for those students who didn’t want to read it the first time!
Being that I am in Texas, my focus is on the TEKS, which as my fellow Texas teachers know have grown to incorporate a broader variety of genres utilized in testing. Genres that, quite frankly, are challenging for many students to understand…and from my perspective are open to interpretation (like poetry). The beauty of a genre like poetry is that two people can read a poem and get something different from it, but not according to the fill-in-the-bubble test…but I digress. Repeated readings…BORING, right? Nope! In my room, I have my students partner up and read poetry for fluency practice. The whole class does it for the first part of the year, and my struggling readers continue throughout the year. The rest of the class does it at random intervals or during partner reading time.
Here’s the typical flow: After hearing me read the poem while following along, I have students read to their partners and then read the poem together. This means each student has heard or recited the poem 4 times. Next I pull out my handy dandy list of fun…or my students brainstorm a list of their own. The list contains all sorts of crazy and fun ways we could read. Old man voice, news reporter, like an opera singer…you name it we’ve done it…and the kids eat it up with a spoon. Whether it is a wacky accent or using their quietest whisper, I never hear a complaint about having to read the poem again. Even better, all the funny voices crack me up because the kids take it so seriously. If you’ve ever heard a 3rd grader try for the perfect French accent when he doesn’t speak French, you’ll know what I mean. It’s the best!
Anyways, this year I got smart. Now I have cards. Each pair gets a card picked at random, and that is the voice they use for the second round of reading. Then they switch with another team or pick a new card for the third reading. Easy peasy! It takes all of 10 minutes, and while it can get loud, it is controlled chaos and the students are having a blast. I think my personal favorite is the poem about the purple cow done in a perfect imitation of an old, old, OLD man. I am pretty sure the kiddo even threw in a “Sonny” at the end of it.
So without further ado, you can get the cards I use at my TPT store for FREE!! Yep, that’s right…all this fun for not even a penny.
Have a fabulous week!