Reading with fluency can be a difficult thing to achieve for some readers. Fluency needs to be modeled, practiced, and approached in a strategic manner for those that it does not come naturally. Fluency activities also need to be multi-dimensional.
One of the sayings in my room is that fluent reading sounds like talking! Then we talk about what that means. And what that doesn’t mean too. We don’t normally talk super fast or super slow. That our rate actually changes, our voices go up and down and we use expression. All of this helps the listener to understand or comprehend the meaning behind what we are saying. Good fluency leads to better comprehension and that is what reading is all about!
One thing we work on to improve our fluency is to practice scooping words into phrases. Readers who do not have good fluency will not automatically read this way. They may either read word by word or they may read so fast the words blend into each other. Either way, comprehension is affected.
Modeling and practicing how to scoop words together is important. Students can help scoop the words into phrases using chart paper and poems.
You can take a page or passage from a book and write it on chart paper for students to help scoop into phrases. Or use a document camera and your Smartboard! But modeling and practice are going to be essential to gaining improvement.
Sometimes a lack of fluency is partially because of the student’s accuracy. They may not have a large enough bank of learned sight words. Sight words must be automatic to allow the reader to keep the right pace when they read. So one of activities that my students do is to practice sight words in different fun ways until they do become automatic.
Students also can do a quick phrasing practice with words that are already scooped together for them. I like for students to hear me model what it sounds like too! They don’t need to spend lots of time on this. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. You can get this practice in small groups during reading, literacy centers, and during RTI intervention groups.
Keep the practice fun and engaging by including games! Students can play by themselves or with a partner and practice scooping!
Some students need the next step of scooping phrases with the support of having the phrasing already done for them. Once they get the feel for this, phrasing will feel more natural to them.
We also need to be sure that students attend to punctuation as they read and practice scooping words into phrases. They need to understand that the punctuation is very important to comprehension.
A fun way to practice is to read with different expressions!
The point of fluency is for it to lead to better comprehension. You can use quick checks like these to check in on both the student’s fluency and their comprehension.
You can find these 5 Fluency Intervention sets here. They are available individually or as a bundle. Each intervention binder has a level so as your readers increase levels they be moved to the next level if needed.