By Julie Diamond, OCT
To piggyback on the last blog post on fluency in numeracy, this post is about building fluency in literacy. Reading fluently is when the reader is able to read with accuracy, speed and the proper expression. When readers stumble over words, or rush through the words withouttakingabreathlikethis, they aren’t able to understand the text they are reading. Building better fluency means better comprehension.
Here are some things you can do at home with your child to help:
1. Find an Easy Text: Fluency will be impossible if the text is too difficult. Your child needs to be able to read the words automatically so find a book that is easy. This will take the stress off your child to read the individual words and instead on fluency and understanding the text.
2. Reader’s Theatre: This is a great idea for all learners but especially if your child’s attention span is limited. You and your child take turns reading parts of a script to bring to life a play or movie using your expressive voices. Check out some examples of scripts here to get you started. If your child has a favourite movie or show all you’ll need to do is type a scene into speaking parts.
3. Practice Sight Words and Play: The Dolch sight word list is divided by grade to give you an idea of the sight words your child should know. Using this as a guide, you can play fun games like Snakes ‘n Ladders, Memory, Go Fish, or even Bingo. Check out this website for the Dolch list by grade and activity ideas.
4. Model Fluent Reading: A read aloud with your child should be a daily occurence in your household regardless of your child’s age. Reading and discussing books together above their reading level helps develop their vocabulary and comprehension levels.
5. Re-Read Favourite Books: Some teachers and parents discourage children from re-reading the same books over and over. However, I’m not one of them. I have found that reading new material doesn’t help reading fluency. Rather the more a child re-reads a book, the more fluent they become. Instead of focusing on reading each word, they focus on bringing the story to life with different voices and expressions only further developing their comprehension as well.
6. Do Choral Reading: This is when you read a passage aloud first then ask your child to join in and read it again together at the same pace. It’s another way to show your child what fluent reading should sound like. Choose a book at your child’s level (or better yet below) to make it easier for them to keep up with you.
As mentioned with building your child’s fluency in math, practice is key. Please comment below and let me know an activity you do with your child to build their fluency skills.
Julie Diamond is a certified teacher in Canada and the founder of Teachers to Go.
Julie Diamond speaking at the OISE conference for Alternative, Innovative and Inspiring Career Paths for Teachers at the University of Toronto.
Jenna Srigley is the administrative assistant/social media co-ordinator at Teachers to Go and offers invaluable insight as a mom of 2 teens.
Fun Fact: Her and Julie (see above) are also sisters :)