Materials: Fun short text with rhythm such as poems at the Independent Level
Parents and teachers: Assist your children/students in becoming fluent readers by:
1. Providing them with models of fluent reading. Find someone who will read to the children if you are not a fluent reader. Allowing the voice to fall and rise (vary pitch) with enthusiasm at appropriate times throughout the reading exercise would be the perfect way to model read. For example, the reader should allow his/her voice to rise at the end if the question is being read. For example, “Is this sufficient?” should be read as if the reader is actually asking the question to someone in person. The voice will rise at the last word because it is after all a question.
2. Ask children/students to repeatedly read passages as you offer guidance. They should practice reading passages until they can read them as the model did, assuming the model is an adequate reader. Do not allow someone to model reading unless that person is an efficient reader. A child’s interest in learning to read can be hindered by an inadequare reader.
3. Model fluent reading. Ask the children to reread the text once the text has been modeled. By doing this, the students are engaging in repeated reading. Usually, rereading a text four times is sufficient to improve fluency. Text with rhythm and/or poems is a good choice for this activity. It is the actual time that students are actively engaged in reading that produces reading gains. Use text that is interesting to the child and contains 100-200 words.
By listening to adequate models of fluent reading, students learn how a reader’s voice can make written text make sense. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading aloud daily to children/students. By reading effortlessly and with expression, you are modeling and teaching how a fluent reader sounds during reading.
Ask the children to reread the text once the text has been modeled. By doing this, the students are engaging in repeated reading. Usually, rereading a text four times is sufficient to improve fluency. It is the actual time that students are actively engaged in reading that produces reading gains.
Encourage parents or other family members to read aloud to their children at home. As children/students hear several models of fluent readers, they are exposed to many ways a reader can sound. Soon they will see that some sound more interesting than others or that some make the text come alive more than others. A reader that comes alive and keeps children attention is generally what the child would like to sound like when they spend time reading.
In addition, students improve their fluency by combining reading instruction with opportunities to read books that are at their independent level of reading ability. Books that are at a child’s independent level will require minimal assistance from a parent/teacher. (see the three levels of text readability below)
Independent level text – This type of text is easy to read with approximately 1 out of 20 words difficult for the reader (95% success)
Instructional level text – This type of text is challenging to read but manageable with approximately 1 out of 10 words difficult for the reader (90% success)
Frustration level text – This type of text is too hard to read with more than 1 out of 10 words difficult for the reader (less than 90% success)