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FluencyAny ideas for building fluency for 6th grade students?

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thenez | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:10 AM via web

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Fluency

Any ideas for building fluency for 6th grade students?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM (Answer #2)

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Have you read Kyleene Beers' book When Kids Can't Read?  It's got LOTS of great ideas for promoting fluency and vocabulary implementation, etc. for kids of all ages and learning styles.

Good Luck!

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thenez | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 13, 2009 at 2:45 AM (Answer #3)

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Thank you! Yes I have read her materials. Have you tried anything with your students?

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smajjr | Elementary School Teacher

Posted March 14, 2009 at 10:06 AM (Answer #4)

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Depending on their reading level, I would have them read books that are a full level or two below.  Let them choose comic books, simple science paragraphs, or take paragraphs from any book.  With my kids, if I give them less to read then they are more likely to race through it.

I have also given my students a choice in participating on the fluency chart.  They are old enough to decide if that is embarassing or fun and choosing to participate or not.  I do give out pencils/candy/erasers/etc for increasing by 10 wpm.

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afi80fl | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted March 14, 2009 at 12:58 PM (Answer #5)

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Three words... Sustained Silent Reading.  I've found through teaching Reading and Language Arts that the absolute best way to get kids reading better is to have them do it often, each day, with a book of their own choosing at a level that is right for them.  Reading just ten to twenty minutes a day is a way to encourage them to love the passtime, as well as to build their fluency, speed, and comprehension.  This is especially true if you have them journal afterward about what they've read.  You can check for understanding,  monitor the number of pages that they're reading, and get an idea about how they connect to the material they're reading.  Try it out!

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kahurt | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 15, 2009 at 5:29 PM (Answer #6)

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Do you read aloud to your students as a model?  Try using the book Watsons Go To Birmingham-1964 by Christopher Paul Curtis.  It's a great book to read aloud.  The book has short easy to read chapters.  One chapter will be serious while the next is funny.  One chapter is hysterical, I still cry from laughter when I read it aloud (I've read it 5 times).  The students get so excited seeing you get so much enjoyment from a book.  I also have students who will check it out at the Library to find out what happens before I get to it.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted March 16, 2009 at 10:55 AM (Answer #7)

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As a teacher of learning disabled students, I have my students read silently along to a recording of the chapter, short story, or segment we are doing. This way, they hear the way the text is supposed to sound in their heads, while absorbing the text visually. I occasionally stop the recording, and we diagnose and analyze that which was just read. This is especially helpful when the text involves higher-end vocabulary.

One great tool I have found to carry out this activity, which some call teacher read-aloud, is the Audacity program for PCs. It's a free download (last I checked), and it allows a teacher to pre-record each chapter, poem, article, or story, and play it back for instructional purposes much the same as the old-fashioned tape recorder would.

The only difference is, students don't feel like they're learning in the dark ages because it's a fairly new technology. They are also more responsive to verbal analysis when I use Audacity. A quick word of warning, however: your higher-end or honors students may feel a bit insulted if you choose to use this strategy. Some have complained that it feels too elementary-schoolish, even though the complainers were normally the ones who needed it worst. 

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jennifer-taubenheim | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:29 PM (Answer #8)

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My school uses the Read Naturally program and I have found it to be amazing. One of my students started the year (as a 7th grader) reading 30 WPM on a 2nd grade level. In 2 1/2 months he was reading 90 WPM on the same grade level. I really like the program. Some districts have it. I think its worth looking into.

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thenez | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 18, 2009 at 4:04 PM (Answer #9)

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As a teacher of learning disabled students, I have my students read silently along to a recording of the chapter, short story, or segment we are doing. This way, they hear the way the text is supposed to sound in their heads, while absorbing the text visually. I occasionally stop the recording, and we diagnose and analyze that which was just read. This is especially helpful when the text involves higher-end vocabulary.

One great tool I have found to carry out this activity, which some call teacher read-aloud, is the Audacity program for PCs. It's a free download (last I checked), and it allows a teacher to pre-record each chapter, poem, article, or story, and play it back for instructional purposes much the same as the old-fashioned tape recorder would.

The only difference is, students don't feel like they're learning in the dark ages because it's a fairly new technology. They are also more responsive to verbal analysis when I use Audacity. A quick word of warning, however: your higher-end or honors students may feel a bit insulted if you choose to use this strategy. Some have complained that it feels too elementary-schoolish, even though the complainers were normally the ones who needed it worst. 

Thank you! I will try that Audacity program. Many that complain that it is too elementary need to realize that our students are behind in grade level reading and we need to do what we an to improve their reading, it is a life long skill.

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thenez | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 18, 2009 at 4:12 PM (Answer #10)

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Three words... Sustained Silent Reading.  I've found through teaching Reading and Language Arts that the absolute best way to get kids reading better is to have them do it often, each day, with a book of their own choosing at a level that is right for them.  Reading just ten to twenty minutes a day is a way to encourage them to love the passtime, as well as to build their fluency, speed, and comprehension.  This is especially true if you have them journal afterward about what they've read.  You can check for understanding,  monitor the number of pages that they're reading, and get an idea about how they connect to the material they're reading.  Try it out!

Have you heard of an article by D.Ray Reutzel, Cindy Jone, Parker Fawson and John Smith called Scaffoled Silent Reading:A Comlement to Guided Repeated Oral Reading that works! It is a new trend where the Silent Sustained Reading takes on another component. The article encourages teachers to interact with student's reading by asking questions, monitoring students through individual reading conferences, discussing the book and setting goals for completing the books. I have found that when you do this your are more intune with each reader's needs and you can monitor their reading and thinking. You also have documentation for student records and for their improvement. This article comes from The Reading Teacher Vol. 62 No. 3 November 2008. It worth the reading.

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thenez | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 18, 2009 at 4:13 PM (Answer #11)

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Do you read aloud to your students as a model?  Try using the book Watsons Go To Birmingham-1964 by Christopher Paul Curtis.  It's a great book to read aloud.  The book has short easy to read chapters.  One chapter will be serious while the next is funny.  One chapter is hysterical, I still cry from laughter when I read it aloud (I've read it 5 times).  The students get so excited seeing you get so much enjoyment from a book.  I also have students who will check it out at the Library to find out what happens before I get to it.

We are reading this now in class. Great idea

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nate3131 | Student, Grade 9

Posted March 18, 2009 at 8:49 PM (Answer #12)

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From whose point of view is the story told?

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drgingerbear | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 23, 2009 at 8:27 AM (Answer #13)

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Fluency

Any ideas for building fluency for 6th grade students?

There are so many reading programs being published regarding fluency it is difficult to determine what is best for the students. However, as a reading teacher of 15 years (Middle and High school), having the students read is the best way to build fluency. I don't buy kits, programs, or packages. I just find books on topics they like to read. For example, I just received a grant to purchase 3 class-set of books from ORCA publishing. (Orca soundings is for MS-HS levels). The kids read the books and were begging for more. (These are urban kids in the 9th grade that are reading on a 3-5th grade level and HATE to read). I don't have them read silenty day after day... SSR (sustained silent reading) causes my students to check out and turn the pages without actually reading. To get them to read, I give them the reading assignment on a stickey note as they walk into class. The note has the page number I want them to read aloud. The have the beginning of the period while I am taking roll and answering questions to review the page and ask questions. They then read when it is their time and they are SUCCESSFUL. After being successful, it gains their confidence and then want to read more.. and more.. and more. After reading out loud for several weeks, you will notice that their fluency level skyrockets!

The key...

1. Choose books THEY will be interested in.

2. Find books 2-3 grade levels below their ability to increase confidence

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thequeen | Middle School Teacher

Posted March 28, 2009 at 7:27 AM (Answer #14)

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I recently read I Read it, but I Don't Get it!  Tovani had some fantastic ideas for building fluency and spent a lot of time talking about the links between fluency and comprehension. One of the fluency builders (that I didn't get from Tovani) I do with my 6th graders is this: I do whole group oral read aloud with the DOL.  I use a book called Daily Paragraphing where the student do grammar fix-ups in a paragraph.  After we finish the corrections, which we often do together, we read the paragraph together, snapping at commas and clapping at periods.  I have noticed an improvement in oral fluency.  I also do this with my ELL class, but on a smaller scale.  For this group I don't use the paragraphing book.  Instead we use passages from the novels we are reading and apply the same skills.  Making it whole group allows my less confident readers to try without embarrassment.  I also require 30 minutes of reading homework every night, and we read silently in class for 20 minutes every day.  I hope this is helpful to you.

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fernholz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 11, 2009 at 6:42 PM (Answer #15)

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As a Reading teacher I model reading aloud to students. This helps them gain fluency. We also do Reader's Theater plays. Even the students who don't seem to enjoy reading love Reader's Theater. Those are the students who take off during the plays. You would be surprised how fluently they read after a few practices performing with their groups. They love it!

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anthonda49 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 25, 2010 at 3:19 PM (Answer #16)

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I usually start reading a class study novel aloud to my students. That way they get over the usually less than interesting parts that must establish a story before the action begins. The large majority enjoy my reading, but I want them to also learn to read fluently. So, we take turns reading aloud, silently, teacher read, popcorn reading, group read aloud. This variety usually holds their attention. It is also fun to read as a narrator, then students taking character parts. If too many volunteer to be a certain character, we audition for parts.

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