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Collin’s Story: Reading for Fluency

Collin and I are continuing to read and write together one or two times a week. I hope that as I share our stories with you, you are able to take bits of learning for yourself to use with your own students.

When someone is just learning to read, there is a need to pay attention to many things at once. Trying to orchestrate all the different parts often slows down the reading. But reading in a slow, choppy manner makes it difficult to anticipate what is coming next in the story. That is why it is so important to teach for phrased and fluent reading even at very early text levels. Being fluent doesn’t necessarily mean reading fast. Pace is only a small part of being fluent. Using the appropriate intonation, parsing the sentences in the right places, and knowing how to change the voice based on the punctuation are all equally important.

In my most recent post about Collin, I shared that I was encouraging my student to read without his finger. We are still working on that new skill. I am also asking Collin to make his reading “sound interesting”. This requires interpreting the punctuation. To support teaching for fluency, I like to use books with plenty of dialogue. As you watch the following video clip you will see Collin reading a Jack and Daisy story, The Big Bone. I asked him to notice and use the quotation marks and the bold print in the text and to change his voice appropriately. Watch the video and see how he is doing.

This fluency rubric can help you consider both Collin’s and your own students’ fluency. You can find this and other useful assessment materials in the Pawprints Resource Center.

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books  early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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