Suggestions for Improving Reading Fluency (grades 3-7)

Would any teachers be willing to share ideas for improving reading fluency with students in grades 3-7? Our school currently uses the Guided Reading program of Reading Plus and Read Naturally (Master's Edition). I'm looking for more creative/fun ways to improve fluency (reader's theater with costumes, perhaps?)

Tags: fluency, reading, reading_fluency

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I love this David! There is no doubt that it would greatly contribute to accelerated progress with fluency, expression, and processing of visual information, but how are you dealing with copyright issues?
In a similar vein: Just discovered this piece of research which shows that DVDs with subtitles are also effective at helping remedial and ESL students at quickly improving their reading level.
What state are you in? I am a reading coach. In grades 1-3, I have a couple of things that I do. First, I go into the classrooms and get the students all hyped up about my reading clubs. If our DIBELS benchmark score is 40, then my DIBELS clubs are the 60 word club and benchmark club. I do this so that students will not settle to read what they have to. Anyway, all the students want to be in my 60 word club. I then give special treats to all students; they just range from really great 60, great benchmark, and good. No one is left out. I take my DIBELS cart around and reward each class after we progress monitor and DIBEL.
Leigh and Sarah,

Yeah, just focusing on having text support for audio and what you say in the classroom can really quicken and foster language learning and reading skills..... I really think that for young grades (I taught grade 4 for a few years to challenged students), karaoke offers a very "backdoor" approach that works. And as suggested, even just an overhead with an mp3 works and is the same thing.

But I'd encourage others to get the karafun karaoke player and it automatically downloads the editor too -- with it you can learn how to easily and quickly make a karaoke for your class. And let's not forget the benefits and empowerment kids get just through a microphone and performance....a "soft" skill that is very much necessary and hard to come by this day and age...

Lots of songs/poetry/stories/news in karaoke on my site. Check out our karaoke classroom. but I also have lots of the regular click and play readers available on the net....

You might try using Audacity (a cross platform and free sound editor/recording software... or Garage Band to record the group as they complete a choral reading activity. Then, play it back to them so they can evaluate their fluency and expression. Of course, you can do this for individuals as well and point out the time length of the recording. If you save their work, and do not post it to the web, you can make an in-house listening center. Publishing any class- created audio books would probably violate copyright laws.

You could also have children "Skype" into a classroom to read a book they have practiced reading and read orally to another class.
Hi Kay,

We use Audacity to make audio books just as you describe. When we want to publish them to the web, I use fairy tales, folk tales, old poetry and other public domain type stories. Granted, the printed tales have an "author" who is usually identified by "as told by" but I don't think this is a violation as long as we don't reproduce the art.
Hi Kay- I'm wondering how you handle the safety issues on skype with your class... is there a way to set up skype accounts that cannot be accessed by "the public"? I would love to use skype, but can't figure out a way around the safety issues. Thanks!
My understanding is that your Skype account is only available to those you sign up as contacts.
My experience has been that sex sites can contact you- and can pose as whatever, asking for conversation. But I did notice there are some new privacy settings available, I just haven't checked them out. Maybe that solves the problem :)

I would love to hear more about your Fluency Clubs!! Sounds like a great idea!
Karaoke and DVD subtitles. Wow! What creative minds. My differentiating reading strategy, explained below, is not as creative, per se. However, it is effective. I've used the strategy for all 4-8 grade levels, as a reading specialist working in the classrooms.

I suggest that teachers should allocate a few 15-20 minute sessions per week for fluency practice. Teachers differentiate the instruction, dividing students into small homogeneous groups i.e., kids with similar fluency levels. Use the same fluency passage for each group, or different ones with varied reading levels. Use accompanying CDs with CD-players at each group, or not.

The teacher quickly rotates from group to group to pre-teach the few tough words and begin the reading at the appropriate "challenge pace." Peer leaders stand at each group and lead choral reads, carrying on after the teacher moves to the next group. The integrated behavioral plan is key here. See How to Differentiate Fluency Instruction for details. Teachers and students really do love this strategy.
This is strategy I used last year with a remedial 6th grade student. I had her choose one poem out of _Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry_ by Michael Rosen (on Amazon: and I choose one for her -- a poem based on words she knew and could understand, comprehend, with 7 or 8 new words for her -- I then timed her on her reading 3-5 times. Let her repeat them over and over to herself for 10-20 minutes, and finally re-tested her. I did this for an entire week. By the end of the tutoring (6 weeks) she improved her reading fluency by 20 words -- which is a huge improvement for her! She'd often reduce her reading time by 20 seconds -- about 1/3 or 33% and learned many new words. She improved about 4-6 words a week. She enjoyed the poems too because I chose fun, or silly poems for her to read. Plus, she got to choose one of her poems. But I only approved of that poem if I thought it was challenging for her. If it wasn't challenging, with 7 to 8 words she didn't know, I had her choose another. She was never at a loss to find a poem she wanted to read. The Kingfisher book is FULL of fun poems - literally!

Also, keep in mind this was part of an entire reading intervention plan where I had her do several other activities with words. If you want further details, email me or find me on twitter and we can skype for a quick chat session :)

Let me know if you need any thing else. Good Luck!



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