Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smooth Operator

Some of my favorite classroom activities for practicing reading fluently are shared reading, reader's theater, and partner reading. Another big component for teaching fluency is having it modeled with frequent, well-read read-alouds and also direct teaching in minilessons and conferences. It always amazes me how a simple demonstration comparing a "robot read" with a "fluent read" turns on light bulbs for readers. Additionally, studying how punctuation shapes reading is a huge help (phrasing, making it sound like talking, using end marks and commas to guide our voices).

But what does home support look like? I have noticed Fran's reading level has progressed nicely this year. When he is reading something with very high accuracy or familiarity, his intonation and phrasing are spot on. If the text is new (even with high accuracy), he does a great job reading with meaning about three-quarters of the way through the text and then reads more in short phrases to finish. That being said, our reading time is right before bedtime and he is exhausted from a busy day in full-day K and playing outside until dinner. Still, I have been thinking a lot about a home-support plan.

Basically, I think partner reading would be a good way to address this for a few reasons. Most importantly, Fran likes reading with me as a partner. I read a page, then he reads a page. Also, when we read as partners, I can subtly help with tricky spots and also cycle in-and-out modeling good phrasing. Fran and I have also talked about reading "quick enough so it sounds like talking." The Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie books are a great read for this- the books are all dialogue and one person can read the Elephant talk bubbles and the other person can read the Piggie part. I think Fran would also enjoy writing and performing puppet shows (or having Elephant and Piggie Puppet shows.)

Reading fluently- or smoothly, with expression - will also elevate comprehension. I think these activities will be a fun for Fran and will make him feel very proud. Hopefully Claudia will outgrow her puppet fear so we have an audience!

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