Monday, July 26, 2010

Building Fluency

One of the California reading standards focuses on the development of fluency. Fluency is the ability to read smoothly, accurately and with natural expression. In order to read smoothly, the reader needs to have a large sight word vocabulary which will enable them to read with automaticity. Automaticity is the ability to quickly and accurately recognize words. It allows cognitive resources to focus on comprehension rather than decoding. Automaticity is developed through practice. As students get older, usually beginning around 4th grade, the ability to automatically recognize prefixes and suffixes is important as well.
One of the most effective strategies for improving fluency is the implementation of Repeated Reading. Repeated Reading gives youth an opportunity to practice words to automaticity which ultimately helps the youth be fluent. The fluency formula is the number of words read in 1 minute – the number of errors which then = the number of words read per minute. Typical words-per-minute are 60 for 1st graders, 70 for 2nd graders, and 80 for 3rd graders. In typical repeated reading lessons, youth would practice a leveled passage for approximately 10 minutes each day. This practice can be in the form of partner reading, participation in a reader’s theater, or reading along with a passage on tape. During the practice, if a word is mispronounced, then a correction is made and the youth continues practicing. After practicing for four days, youth would again do the 1 minute challenge and see the growth they have made. Consistency and routine in Repeated Reading is what gets results. Talk with the school day teachers to see if they have access to leveled reading passages. If not, you can find them at Reading A-Z for a subscription fee, at

Not so usual celebrations…
July 26th is Aunt and Uncle Day. Your aunts and uncles are the brothers and sisters of your mom and dad. Some of you have a number of aunts and uncles, while others of you may only have 1 or none at all. If you find yourself without an aunt or uncle, adopt one. Aunts and uncles are wonderful. First of all they know the scoop on your mom and dad and if you are lucky, they will share stories with you that your parents wish would remain in the distant past. Aunts and uncles can offer great counsel and advice, can be the place to go when mom and dad are out of town, and will let you sleep over with your cousins (the kids of your aunt and uncle). So, on this special day to honor aunts and uncles, give yours a call and let them know how much you appreciate being in the same family.

Activities for Kids
Have the kids create a special card for a favorite aunt or uncle. Have them create an acrostic poem (use the name of the aunt or uncle to give you the starting letter, and then illustrate the poem. Be sure that youth take time to do an outstanding job.

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