Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reading Fluency in Upper Elementary

Fluency has always been a part of my guided reading program, but I struggled with how much emphasis to place on it and what activities to use. I've been searching for something that will take it to the next level for older students. So I'm redoing this station for next year. 

I'm adding a list of "must do" and "may do" at each station, for starters. Must Do activities are to be completed immediately and before the May Do activities. Must Do activities provide the assessment and practice for all students.  May Do activities provide challenge for early finishers and advanced students. 

Before I officially start detailing the station, let me tell you where the majority of the materials will come from. 

There are so many activities that can be done with the materials on this site!  You do need a paid membership, but our school purchased memberships for us so I'm lucky.  Let me list just a few:

Mini Reading Books
 If you're planning to use the printed/copied books from year to year, you might want to consider laminating the covers and taping the spines so they are more durable.  You may also want to separate the books by level so students are choosing books that aren't too easy or difficult with which to practice. Here's how one teacher does this . The picture below is an example from her post.

 

Buddy Reading Station
Must Do: Practice Fluency Strategies with Mini Readers or Multiple Copies of Chapter Books (AKA: Buddy Books)
These strategies are not new, but I'll be teaching them early in the year in both the whole class and small group settings. 

Ideally, a more fluent reader would be paired with one that is less so. However, my students will most often be completing stations with their homogenous small reading group.  In this case, I will try to make the reading material be something they've already read so it's more of a practice than an introduction to new material. 

If I want students to read together, here are some techniques:
Choral Reading: Reading the same thing at the same time.
Echo Reading: One partner reads with fluency and then the other reads the same thing, trying to mimic or correct the fluency. 
*Turn-Based Reading: Take turns reading paragraphs or pages before answering the questions together.

If I want them to read separately (this could be used as a differentiation for advanced students), I will have them do the reading and questions independently and then come back together to discuss their answers. 

Now, here's where I break away from the small readers for a moment. I also plan to use our Science and Social Studies textbooks at this station. Since it will be material/words we covered in class, it will still be ideal for fluency. Bonus: Sneaking in core content review.

Buddy Reading: Comprehension Check
I want to add a reading comprehension accountability to this station, so from time to time I will use:
Buddy Reading Questions: Click here to get your copy.


This buddy reading packet is editable for your class needs. 
This packet includes:
Book browsing policy (how to pick a book for buddy reading)
A prereading activity
Think-Aloud question starters (during reading)
A book recommendation form (after reading)
 
Reading Comprehension Bookmarks: Click here to get your copy.


 
Reading Strategies Organizers: Click here to get your copy.


 
Using Sticky Notes to Increase Reading Comprehension: Click here to get your copy. 

 

Buddy Reading: One Minute Fluency Checks
The passages are ready for printing on Reading A-Z so I don't have to go searching for material. I plan to let students give each other fluency checks with these passages AFTER I've used them to "test" them. The students will use the following at the buddy reading station. 

 
Teacher Station Fluency Extension: Using Reading Series Mini Books
You can always use any leveled readers you have, including those from your reading series if you don't have an A-Z membership. As a matter of fact, I have students choose and practice a few paragraphs from their reading series leveled book. I have them do this with their whisper phones (see example below) so they'd can hear themselves read, but not disturb anyone else.

 

After they've had time to practice, they "share" their paragraphs with the group. Other group members are listening for examples of fluent reading and we compliment the reader on these when they finish. We also *politely* offer suggestions on things like voice level and tone and pronunciation. 

Fluency Home-School Connection with Mini Readers
I have sent the printed/copied books home for fluency practice with Mom and Dad (or anyone who's available to help). This can be in addition to or in place of the usual nightly reading.  It's a great way to involve parents.

May Do Activities
Fluency Games
All I need is several copies of the following resources.  Some are games and some are Fry/Dolche lists for upper grades.
 

Poetry Station
Pairs or trios can practice with various forms of poetry. In addition to the standard poetry books, I'm including:

Two-Voice Poetry
You can pick up a copy of my examples and activities to use with it here.

Some great two-voice poetry books that I will include for students to read together:

Reader's Theater
These are so great for practicing fluency without being boring!  Ideally, each student would have a copy while I read fluently as an example during small group reading. 

There are so many awesome reader's theaters out there.  Here are some of my favorite finds:

I have a Virginia Studies-related reader's theaters available (Patrick Henry) and I plan to make more.  Click here for your copy. 


Reading A-Z (again!)
All the scripts are listed by reading level so I can even differentiate  for each small reading group and it goes all the way up to level Z.  

Phew!  What about you?  Any other ways you know of to incorporate fluency practice into upper elementary?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

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