5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Helping our children become fluent readers

The percentage of Indiana children reading at a "below basic" level has grown from 32 percent in 1992 to 36 percent in 2005. Apparently, we are still leaving many children behind when it comes to reading fluency in Indiana. Exactly what is a fluent reader and how can we, as parents, help our children grow into fluent readers? A fluent reader reads quickly, smoothly, and with expression. A fluent reader has a large store of sight words; automatically decodes unknown words, and self-corrects. There are many ways that we can help teach our children to be fluent readers.

Expose your children to a variety of literature…non-fiction, picture books, chapter books, poetry, folk tales, and fairy tails.

Read aloud not only to your child, but WITH your child. Offering your child opportunities to practice reading aloud can help improve fluency. Consider taking turns. The parent reads one page out loud and the child reads the next page. There are even some early reader books set up this way, with one page written for the parent to read and the next page written with easier words for the child. (Check out http://www.webothread.com for some great shared reading books.)

Providing oral support for readers by practicing paired reading with parent helps to avoid disrupting fluency. In paired reading, if the child falters, then the parent jumps in and helps.

Good fluency instruction includes learning about the rhythm and expression of our language. Model good oral reading to your child at least two times per week. Children must hear and understand what fluent reading sounds like in order to learn to be fluent readers. Once you have modeled fluent reading, ask your child what you did that good readers do to see if they can recognize what makes a good reader.

Echo read with child (you read the line and then they repeat it). This works well with short poems or nursery rhymes. Then the two of you can read the poem together.Reading new materials or re-reading familiar materials both help improve fluency. Repeated readings of the same materials will help children recognize high frequency words.
Encourage fluency through phrasing. Teach your child to recognize sight words and common phrases. Work on chunking stories into phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Use phrase flashcards to promote fluency. Take a short poem and break it up into parts then practice reading each phrase fluently.
Encourage your child to write. Provide them with paper and writing materials and encourage journaling or story writing. Help younger children put their stories down on paper and let them illustrate them.Continue to provide positive feedback and support as your child becomes a more fluent reader – parents, neighbors, siblings and teachers can listen to the child read out loud.

Some helpful websites for parents who are working to grow fluent readers:

Sight words - http://www.createdbyteachers.com/sightfreemain.html
and http://www.theschoolbell.com/Links/Dolch/Contents.html

Chunking -http://www.literacyconnections.com/Phonograms.html

Starfall – http://www.starfall.com/


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