The increased emphasis on fluency instruction is making such a difference for our young readers, both in the way their text reading sounds and their level of comprehension. Can you remember how a poor little struggler would be stumbling along and couldn't possibly remember the beginning of a sentence by the time he got to the end of it? Who knew that focused instruction and practice with phrasing, expression, and intonation could make such a difference ?!?
I can remember as a Reading Recovery teacher when I would prompt a child to "Read it faster", but honestly was thinking that the child was probably reading as quickly as he could. But it turns out that the specific prompting, practice, and expectation really do work! As in lots of other areas, we just can't assume that our struggling learners will "get it" unless we intervene with very specific and explicit instruction!
Here's a bit of what the Panel had to say about fluency:
"Fluent readers are able to read orally with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Fluency is one of several critical factors necessary for reading comprehension. Despite its importance as a component of skilled reading, fluency is often neglected in the classroom. This is unfortunate. If text is read in a laborious and inefficient manner, it will be difficult for the child to remember what has been read and to relate the ideas expressed in the text to his or her background knowledge. Recent research on the efficacy of certain approaches to teaching fluency has led to increased recognition of its importance in the classroom and to changes in instructional practices."
Most of your work with fluency will probably be during reading conferences, but here's a way to add fluency practice, specifically fluent phrasing, to your literacy centers.
Your students can use this set of cards independently or with a partner. You might even want to use a stopwatch or the second hand on your classroom clock (aha! some sneaky practice with time!:) for your students to play beat the clock with the phrase cards.
Click on the picture to download your copy at my Teachers Notebook shop.