Yes, yes I’m guilty of participating in one minute timed fluency tests, which encourage students to read as quickly as possible. And if the kid is really experienced in the one minute timed test, he knows that skipping over words is fine because reading as many words as possible is all that matters. Never mind that comprehension didn’t take place. Or that the child read like a robot. Forget that the students didn’t stop at punctuation. Just read quickly. Am I right?!
Ugh! That was tough to write. But what is reading fluency, really? I’ll tell you and I’ll show give you ideas your kids will L-O-V-E.
Fluency includes three components:
Students often read a passage or book with fewer errors each time that selection is read. They learn new words, they use decoding strategies, and they just get better at that passage with several reads.
Rate is the speed at which a person reads. It’s not too fast and it’s not too slow.
Prosody is reading like a storyteller. It’s to read like we speak. We use expression and we chunk words into phrases. This speaking skill can be utilized during reading.
Here are some activities you can use to improve students’ reading fluency.
Read Like a Storyteller
In this activity, kids retell a familiar story. Since the story is one that has been heard, they will tell the story like a storyteller.
Giving students the opportunity to read a passage several times allows them to get better at reading new words. Pointing out words that are difficult to decode, will help them read the passage smoothly. Graphing words read shows students how reading a passage several times increases over time.
We speak in phrases, or chunks. We do not speak one word at a time, but rather by several words at once. Chunking phrases from the story helps kids to practice prosody. And it’s a game. It’s a win-win.
Passage puzzles are just another way to practice rereading, but this time students must comprehend the text. They will practice accuracy, rate, and prosody with this activity.
Your kids will love this activity! Begin by chunking a passage into meaningful parts. Put one chunk on a page by itself. Set the “chunks” onto the floor like a path. Have students walk and read the passage to practice all components of fluency.
Becoming a character is the best way to practice reading fluency. Students practice accuracy, rate, and prosody during readers theater. Not only are students practicing these skill, they are having tons of fun!
These activities can be used with any story. Improving fluency is essential for teaching kids to read. Here are some resources which include all of the activities you read about.