Fluency is always a focus for me and the students in my classroom. How can I improve reading fluency in my students. Or, working backwards, what is keeping them from developing this skill?
Readers who are less skilled in fluency tend to read word by word and with a monotone voice. Short, chopping reading is a good way to describe it. When we hear it, we immediately recognize the lack of fluency.
Today, we have some helpful tips to improve reading fluency with your students and to help get rid of the choppiness and build decoding phonics skills.
Build Individual Phoneme Skills For Fluency
Word mapping is an activity with big impact for hearing individual phonemes and graphing these phonemes. Start where your students are and build from there. If your student(s) struggle with decoding vowel team words, practice mapping words with those sounds. The more exposure to hearing the individual sounds and matching the correct letters to those sounds the stronger their decoding skills become.
Blending Sounds For Fluency
Maybe you have small groups or intervention groups that can hear the phonemes, but cannot blend them together. In other words, they have a solid base with individual phonemes but need intervention with blending. There are lots of blending activities that can help!
If need be, concentrate on on beginning sounds of words to help students identify the phonemes. For example, say a word- brick. Ask students the two sounds they hear at the beginning of the word. Then they can identify what letters make those sounds. Hearing the two sounds together (after being able to hear them individually) helps to develop sound fluency.
Your teaching might sound like this:
Say the word “sled”. What sounds do you hear at the beginning of “sled”? /s/ /l/ is right! After practicing this type of activity add in the next step of blending those sounds. Yes, we hear /s/ /l/ at the beginning of sled. Now let’s blend those sounds together to make it sound smooth /ssss/ /lllll/… /sl/. Blending the sounds, once students master hearing them individually helps them develop their reading fluency.
For older students, using word part cards for quick reviews are great ways to build blending sounds for fluency. Word parts can help students recognize and build automaticity. They, then, can use this knowledge to help when decoding multisyllabic words. You can sign up for our newsletter and receive these word part cards FREE in our Free Resource Library here.
Prefix – Suffix flip charts are a quick and fun way for students to see units in words and the different parts of words too. You can find this chart here.
As students learn to blend the individual beginning sounds, they can begin to decode in pieces. It produces automaticity by hearing and identifying in units of sound. Students will gain word fluency as they practice activities like word triangles.
Explicit and Systematic Phonics Teaching Improves Fluency
Teaching phonics explicitly and systematically is an effective approach to decoding skills that can lead to stronger fluency. Students need us to teach these phonics skills in a sequence that makes sense and for the concepts to build upon each other. In this way, most students can learn the skills quickly and move on to the next set.
Providing lots of different activities when teaching will help with this. If you are teaching blends and digraphs skills, then it is best to have lots of lessons that will take students from hearing the individual phonemes, to blending the sounds to units of sounds in words to build their fluency skills. And lots of activities will keep the learning fresh and engaging!
Leave a Reply