Tag Archive: fluency


4th grade fluency: THAT WAS EASY!

IMG_8376My 4th graders have been doing some different work than what I’ve been doing with my other grade levels.  I just started working with 4th grade this semester and just a couple of weeks ago.  When I looked at the reason they weren’t accelerating in their learning within the classroom when looking at their reading tests, it was because of their fluency.

We have been doing some work on fluency.  We’ve been going over tricky word parts/patterns to decode more quickly.  We’ve been going over trickier words we don’t often come across.  We’ve also been practicing how to be more fluent and phrased readers and heeding punctuation.

And it hasn’t been easy.  This has been a struggle with some of these kiddos for a couple of years.  Today when I had them come to group they were feeling a little deflated.  “This is so hard.  When will it get easy?  I’m never going to get better.”  I stopped them right there.  We weren’t going to talk negative about ourselves in my room.  At. All.  We had to use the power of positive thinking.  I made them right then and there say, “I’m awesome.  I’m a great reader.  I have the ability to read phrased and fluently and heed punctuation.  I will rock this.”

I timed them again on their current reading passage and they all shaved almost a full minute (one of them shaved a minute and a half off) and increased their words per minute by 25-50 WPM which is AWESOME.  They were beaming from ear to ear and I couldn’t have been more proud.  Their accuracy also shot through the roof.  One of them went from 88% accuracy to 99% accuracy.

We always graph our progress.  When I showed them their growth over the week they were so proud of themselves.  Today they ALL had personal bests as well.

I pulled out my Staples Easy Button and they all pushed it after we talked about their progress.  When we put our minds to something and we work hard then what was once difficult is now easy (or easier!)

Fluent Readers

We had some students who were making great progress in their reading levels, but were struggling with fluency.  I had a teacher within the building ask me for what she could do and I thought maybe a short little video might help?  I’m a visual learner and so I had my son make a video with me.  He thought I should put it on my blog because he wants a million hits (Ha! Love him!)   I’ve had lots of students come up to me since seeing the video telling me they are reading more fluently.  Enjoy our silly fluency video!

IMG_9116Well hello there 2014 and all my fabulous readers!  It’s been over a month since I last posted and I apologize.  With my student teacher here I wasn’t very good about posting since she was doing most of the work with the kiddos.

4th and 5th graders had been reading new novels on the Kindles, but after doing their DRA reading tests before break almost all of them were on grade level so are being ready to exit Title 1 services (YAY!!)  Yesterday and today we worked on reading poetry to practice fluency as this is something all of them continue to need practice with.  I taught a mini lesson on fluency and then we put it right into practice.  We used the poems from Jeff Foxworthy’s book Dirt on My Shirt.

After we finished reading through the book of poetry we wrote silly poems and then shared them with each other.  My 5th graders created an acrostic poem along with me using “5th grade” as their title.  Enjoy below:

5-5 classmates ran across the room

T-to get the monkey with the spoon

H-having deep fried monkey meat in the afternoon

G-girls were grossed out by what they had to eat

R-realizing it all smelled like monkey feet

A-accepting that this wasn’t a treat

D-deciding to go sit back in their own seat

E-eventually accepting the inevitable defeat

IMG_91185th graders then wrote their own poems and I unfortunately didn’t save them/take photos of the finished poems and I let them take them home with them.

I only had two out of my four 4th graders here this week, but they had a lot of fun reading poems and each wanted to read all of the poems.  We brain stormed rhyming words to help them make their acrostic poem rhyme.

Here is Kendal’s completed poem titled 4th grade:

4-4 silly monkeys going in the street

G-getting out of the ridiculous heat.

R-running back to Dairy Queen to get a treat

A-away they go to get their seat

D-down the road they go to meet

E-eating their delicious Dairy Queen treats

Brian wasn’t completely finished with his poem titled Gorilla, but he had a great start:

G-gorillas are climbing in a tree

O-on the branch to drink their tea

R-realizing they had only 2 feet

The kids were able to take their poems home to finish or to help inspire them to create new poems.  I’m excited to see what they come back with.

Today was my last day with my Kindergarten kiddos!  A couple of days ago we red The Little Red Hen and in the back of the book is a reader’s theater.  The boys wanted to perform it for their class and their teacher graciously allowed us to come and show off our hard work practicing tracking with our eyes and using a loud, expressive voice.  They were SO cute!!

IMG_6134IMG_6135Mr. Brace and I have both been working with Kindergarten groups on Interactive Writing–a process where we get to work on writing a group message, along with a lot of other really fun reading and writing activities.  (If you’re interested in learning more about Interactive Writing and are new to reading my blog please click on the Interactive Writing tag on the right hand side of categories.)

The kids have really enjoyed coming with us and working on reading poems, writing a group message (as seen above), and writing their own messages.  Writing an individual message has been significantly more difficult for our students, but it’s been good practice as they’ve been able to practice letter formation, known words, directionality, spacing, and have been able to conference with us over how those individual sentences would look in a book.

IMG_0065Reading with expression continues to be something I need to work more on with my students.  Now that I am teaching Guided Reading Plus, I think I focus less on expression than I used to.  I have to remind myself every now and then that this is still an important part of fluency and the reading process.

IMG_0066My 2nd and 3rd graders (specifically 2nd grade) need some work with expression.  I found some phonics chant cards online, which you can download for free HERE, and have been trying them out with my 2nd and 3rd graders.  There are 16 different cards ranging from reading in a baby voice, clapping each syllable as you read, reading like a pirate, being a volcano and starting in a whisper voice and then getting louder until you get to the end of the row, to even reading in a monster voice or a squeaky mouse voice.  Not all of them are appropriate for every situation so I let the kids pick from 2 or 3 cards I’ve selected for them.

IMG_0067My goal is to have some fun reading in different voices to get them use to actively reading  with some sort of expression–even if that means reading like a mouse or a monster.  From there we are going to work our way to reading naturally with expression.  It’s a work in progress to become phrased, fluent, and have expression, but you have to start somewhere.  This is something I have the kids work on while I am checking for accuracy through a running record.  They can do it with a partner or individually, but it’s something different than what they normally do.  I had the cards laminated and then punch a hole in the card so I could keep them on a ring.  If you’re looking for a way to boost expression with your kids, consider giving this a try.  It’s a new and creative way to get kids thinking about the way they read out loud.