Creating Fluent Readers

Of our students who are Not Yet Proficient Grade Level Readers, fluency tends to be the greatest issue.  Here is an excellent article by Tim Rasinski that indicates three very simple activities that build fluency.

Creating Fluent Readers

Mr. Rasinski advocates for assisted reading,  repeated readings and coaching to build fluency.  Here is an excerpt from the article.

Hearing fluent reading, however, is not the same as being a fluent reader. Fortunately, assisted readings can help. After reading a passage aloud to students, I ask them to follow along with me, first silently and then aloud, as a group. Sometimes I ask students to orally read a passage with a partner who is at the same reading level. At other times, I ask more fluent readers to read with students who are having difficulty with reading (Eldredge & Quinn, 1988; Topping, 1987a, 1987b, 1995) or I have students silently read while listening to a fluent rendering of the passage on tape (Carbo, 1978; Pluck, 1995). Such practices constitute a powerful strategy for improving fluency and comprehension.

Developing fluency in reading requires practice; this is where the method of repeated readings comes in (Samuels, 1979). Research indicates that repeated readings lead not only to improvement in reading the passage but also to improvement in decoding, reading rate, prosodic reading, and comprehension of passages that the reader has not previously seen (Dowhower, 1994; Koskinen & Blum, 1986; Kuhn & Stahl, 2000; National Reading Panel, 2000).

Passages meant to be read aloud as a performance—poetry, for example, or scripts, speeches, monologues, dialogues, jokes, and riddles—are perfect texts for developing fluency. I see many teachers converting their classrooms into poetry cafés and readers’ theater festivals on Friday afternoons to give students the opportunity to perform the assigned texts that they have diligently practiced during the week.

The teacher plays a key role in developing prosodic reading skills by modeling prosodic reading in classroom read-aloud sessions and then discussing the specific oral interpretation that he or she chose. Coaching provides another opportunity for developing these skills by making students aware of their own interpretation of the text and moving readers toward deeper levels of interpretation and meaning.


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