March 18, 2017

The Reading Strategies Book: Goal #4 - Teaching Fluency



Teaching Fluency 

Oh the joys of fluency! Reading with awesome fluency means you have great phrasing, intonation, and automaticity.

I completely agree with Jennifer when she says holding up a stopwatch does not help detemine fluency. In fact (and I might get clobbered for writing this) I think Dibels is hurting fluency rather than helping. Is that just in my school or do others feel this way too? At my last Parent/Teacher Conferences I had a parent ask me how fast her child could read. I told her that her child reads fluently at a level K (which is low for 4th grade, but the student had made improvement). The parent then said, "I don't care what her level is. I want to know if she can read more words than last year." This happens often and is a reason I struggle with Dibels.

Jennifer says, "So instead of a stopwatch, I think you can listen as students read aloud for a running record, and record their pauses and instances of expressive reading. You can then go back to evaluate the number of words in a phrase group, where the pauses were and whether they were syntactically appropriate." I LOVE this!

TOP 3 GOALS
(disclaimer: I like a lot more than three and it was hard to narrow this one down)

4.3 - Use a "This is Interesting" Voice
-I really like the anchor chart that goes with this strategy. I am always telling my students to use their "teacher voice" when they read. In fact, one girl tries her hardest to "read it like Mrs. Crofts would read it" and is always asking her peers if that sounded like Mrs. Crofts. So funny!

4.6 - Punctuation at the End of a Sentence
-Does anyone else have students who MAJORLY stuggle with this one? This is the reason I selected this goal to discuss. About 40% of my students this year struggle with punctuation and read right over the end marks or they stop at the end of the line no matter if there is a period there or not. I have retaught this strategy at least 7 million times this year :) Any suggestions would be very welcome.

4.16 - Read Like a Storyteller
-We use TumbleBooks at my school and my students LOVE it! When we talk about reading like a storyteller, I have them listen to a few books and we jot down things the reader does well and that they can practice. We then get a storybook from the book baskets and practice one of the things we wrote down. We do this with a partner and the partner helps the reader (which is also Goal 4.18). This is FABULOUS practice for fluency.

That wraps up Goal #4! Please, please, let's discuss in the comments (as long as you don't kick me out for not being a huge Dibel fan :)



16 comments:

  1. Fluency is so much more than time! I'm luckily not forced to use Diebels.

    After we started working on punctuation in reading groups,punctuation in writing improved. I love all these crossovers!

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    1. I really love how everything crosses over as well! My favorite is when my students make the connection without me prompting it.

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  3. I do model and talk a lot about phrasing, reading groups of words in the same way we talk. They use Fundations at my school so for fluency they use the term 'scooping'. I reinforce the same goals you refer to. We use Easy CBM fluency probes but all of my students know it is not a race to read words but to read fluently and for meaning!

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    1. I think there's a lot of research behind modeling fluency. I try to build in a shared reading small group opportunity where I read a bit - slow, then faster, then we read together once slow, then faster. Then they turn and read the same passage with a partner, so I can listen in.

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    2. Rachelle - I am not familiar with Fundations. Is it actually a fluency program? My school needs one. I currently build it into my shared reading like Jen said in her response.

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  4. I like that concrete way of evaluating phrasing, by counting how many words the lump together in phrases as they read.

    We're coming out of the DIBELS phase of being so hung up on number of words read. We still use a R-CBM, but I don't feel like we're driving kids to read faster and faster. I think we need to be doing more informal running records though.

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    1. I completely agree on the "more informal running records." Hopefully we come out of the Dibels phase as well. Do you like the R-CBM? Thanks for your comments~

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  5. Tina,
    I can't imagine why anyone would be a Dibels fan! It defies everything we are trying to teach kids when we say reading is about constructing meaning. Off my soap box!

    I, too, have noticed that my students don't pay attention to punctuation when they're reading. I talk about the purpose of punctuation - for pauses and for understanding what you're reading - and this helps some of my students. I also model what it would sound like if I read without paying attention to punctuation. I think it takes a lot of practice and keeping them accountable to using punctuation.

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    1. Thank you so much for that first sentence! I really thought I was going to get run-off the internet for stating my dislike for Dibels.

      Punctuation is a thorn in my side this year. My students are making improvement though...slowly, but steadily. At least they aren't getting worse, right?

      I know you teach in Ecuador and how does the language thing work there? Do your students speak Spanish or English? Just a thought I had.

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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    2. I teach at an international school. My students learn in English for most of the day. They have one 40-minute period of Spanish every day. So, most of my students are ELL's who speak Spanish as their first language. A lot of this is a challenge for classroom teachers as we try to ramp up our program so that it's more vigorous across the grade levels. We are also a PYP-IB and DP-IB school.

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  6. I've thought a lot the last two years about how fluency and comprehension are connected. I really wish there was a way to assess how a child reads inside his/her head! I know that in my head I hear the voices of the characters, but I can't always make my accent right when I am reading aloud. I think attention to punctuation, reading like a character, adding emption, etc. becomes important for comprehension and not just so that it all sounds good when reading out loud.

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    1. I completely agree with everything you wrote! Being able to guage their reading in their head would be so useful! I am a much better reader in my head :)

      Tina
      Crofts' Classroom

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  7. My students read SO much differently when we are reading together as compared to DIBELS. They basically speed read and cannot always retell well because their focus was on speed. Is that really the goal-speed? I have very fluent, expressive readers, but they are not not near the recommended goal. It is frustrating to listen to speed reading...
    Fluency is so much more than speed! Ugh!

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  8. One last comment about the connection between fluency and comprehension...When kids are reading out loud, they are aware that they have an audience, whether it's their teacher or their peers doesn't matter much. In the former case, they are being assessed, and in the latter case, they are being judged by their friends. Both can be scary. Sometimes, when I notice a student is struggling to read out loud I stop them and ask them to read in their heads instead. Then, we talk about the text. Most of the time, comprehension is spot on and the reading out loud was a challenge.

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  9. I often start guided reading lessons with comprehension questions. I want to know what they know after they've read to themselves.

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