Need a quick and easy way to teach fluency? My simple solutions will have your kids engaged and excited to read!
I was reading with my five year old when I noticed his attention had turned from the story to the contraband toy in his hands. My frustration was mounting and I needed a way to keep him engaged and learning. This is when I opened my arsenal of activities I used when teaching young readers.
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They Importance of Building Fluency
I have talked about fluency before (here and here) and expressed it importance of creating solid readers. Without fluency kids aren’t free to think and comprehend. They will be too focused on decoding words to understand what they are reading.
By creating fluent readers, we are exposing them to more words. They are reading, learning, and remembering words. A word bank is building in their mind. And beyond that, they are being exposed to the different sounds in our language. They learn how to tackle and decode words according to patterns and trial and error. And in our English language there is definitely a need for trial and error! No rule truly applies!
How To Build Fluency
The best way to build fluency is to expose kids to books and stories. Have them read them more than once. The more they read a book, the better they get at reading it. Give it a try sometime. Read the story to the child, and then have them give it a try. The first read will be slow and word for word. But the 2nd, 3rd, etc. read will get faster and faster. That is because they are recognizing words and remembering how to sound them out.
Finger pointing is also another go to for learning to read in building fluency. This ensures the child is looking at each word as they read it. They are more likely to notice their mistakes if they are finger pointing. The more often they read the same book, the less likely they will need to finger point because they have basically memorized that story. Also, once they become fluent readers, finger pointing will drop off as it will slow them down. Fluent readers want to read fast!
Quick and Easy Fluency Practice
One of the best ways to work on fluency is using rhymes and poems. Pick a short rhyming poem or rhyme. I love using nursery rhymes or silly poems such as Shel Silverstein. Kids get a kick out of the silly rhymes and poems and want to read and reread them. It is not difficult to get them to participate. Sometimes I type the rhyme or poem using larger font so that it is easier for the kids to follow and finger point. They can also use the paper to draw what they are visualizing which helps build comprehension skills!
I have also used Fluency First to gather rhymes and poems. The book is useful because the poems and rhymes are already written in larger font for ease of reading and finger pointing.
Give It a Try!
Unearth those Shel Silverstein books you’ve had since you were a kid. Find one of your favorite poems and read it with your child. Let them read it to you. Get the Mother Goose rhyme book you have read with your child since they were little. Maybe there is a favorite rhyme of theirs, choose that one! They will likely remember it and be excited to read it on their own. Most importantly, have them practice the same poem more than once!