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Elementary Teacher Resources, Issue #036 - Fluency: How to Build it?
July 13, 2009


We all know it’s important for reading success.

And… we know we should be working on it, but how?

Three easy ways pop in my head.

1) When the kids walk in the door each morning they have to read several favorite poems or nursery rhymes (either from a book or on a wall) before they start their day.

My kids love to do this because they all stand around the easel and pick a "way" to read it: old man, super hero, baby...

They think it’s funny.

I think it’s helping keep them excited to be engaged in reading.

Not only is this building fluency through repeated readings, but it scaffolds the children who aren’t ready to read by helping them memorize poems and nursery rhymes.

Hold on… I’m going to get a little data-y on you here.

The “Journal of Child Language” published an article by P. E. Bryant that stated, “Data showed a strong relation between early knowledge of nursery rhymes and success in reading and spelling, despite differences in social background, intelligence quotient, and beginning phonological skills.”

Basically, it doesn’t matter where kids are from, their IQ or a bunch of other stuff… if they know nursery rhymes they have a better chance of being readers!

Sign me up.

2) Another free and easy way to work on fluency is to have your kids re-read guided reading books with a buddy and do a comprehension activity together.

My babes like it because they can sit with a friend, read and discuss books.

Repeated readings helps build fluency – AND comprehension.

So, let them read, read, read, and read it again.

Have you ever had a child ask you to read the same book over and over?

They do this, not to drive you nuts, but to build listening fluency, memorize the story and drive a deeper comprehension.

Even young children know that re-reading favorite stories is a good thing!

In my room, I have tons of laundry baskets that the kids sit in. They can grab a buddy, a few baskets and a few books and go to town.

It works!

3) Another quick idea is to have the kids read ALONG with books on tape.

If you don’t own books on tape, record your reading lessons onto tapes and have the kids use those to read along with.

You’ll be modeling fluency, but also “think alouds”, comprehension questions and a ton more!


What does this all come down to?

There are tons of quick, fast and easy ways to build fluency in your classroom. You just have to find the “gimmicks” that work for your kids!

Happy Reading!

If you liked our first Literacy Centers eBook... you will love it's new companion "More Literacy Centers for Primary Grades".

We have created and tested 18 new centers specifically made for the busy teacher like you!

Check out my podcasts on my podcast blog. They are fun and helpful!

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or homeschool moms!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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