Of all reading skills in the early grades, building reading fluency is THE most important, and most teachers make working on fluency a top priority. However, sometimes we have children who struggle to catch on. In today’s post, I’m going to use a poetry set I’m sharing with you to talk about how I work on fluency using my favorite poems and partner plays.
INTRODUCING YOUR FLUENCY LESSON
With each poem you use (or any new text really), it’s important to pull from it words you feel will be challenging to read or unfamiliar. For some, a brief introduction may be sufficient if the word is not a high utility word. With words that you know will be beneficial in writing or conversation, take more time to develop full understanding and recognition.
As you can see in the image to the right, I chose six words in all. Students can cut them out for matching, use context to get an idea of the meaning, and after discussion, they can write a kid friendly definition on the back with a picture or sentence if you like.
MODELING READING FLUENCY
When I’m introducing a new poem, we read through the poem chorally first, and I demonstrate the rhythm and phrasing. To help students with the phrasing, you can add slash marks to divide phrases or highlight with two highlighter colors. This process helps students “see” the phrasing and can be applied to paragraph reading too.
REREAD POETRY FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES TO BUILD FLUENCY
Close reading is not just for passages and picture books. We can closely read poetry too, and by this, I mean revisit with a different purpose in mind. Below, you’ll find a list of ways you can work in rereading:
- Highlighter hunts for words by spelling pattern or for sightwords.
- Questioning about the poem (text evidence)
- Color coding parts of speech or by the number of syllables
- Performance….recordings , partner reads, recitation
- Visualizing using the text
- Analysis of figurative language
- Graphic organizers when they work with the poem, and
- Writing in response to the poem
With each reading, students improve automaticity and deepen understanding. With this poem, I chose to include questioning about the poem, word work with parts of speech, visualizing using text information, and making comparisons.
CREATE POETRY ANTHOLOGIES
Kids love keepsakes. If you add each poem you use to a binder or 3 prong folder, your students will each have a book of poems by the end of the year. These can reread on their own, shared with friends, shared with family, and kept forever.
USE OF TECHNOLOGY FOR FLUENCY LESSONS
There are many great poetry sites available for kids and teachers. My favorite is Ken Nesbitt’s site, Poetry4Kids. Another great one is Ted Scheu’s site, That Poetry Guy If we can share these as well as others we come across, kids will visit them and read the poems at home. Additionally, with the technology we have, we can also record and keep student readings for comparison from the beginning, middle and end of the year to demonstrate to our parents how the child’s improved.
To download the sample I used, just sign up for my newsletter below. To check out the poetry bundles and resources in my store, click here. I have created a Sports Poetry Bundle, a Poetry on the Menu Bundle, or get them all in my Poetry Mega Bundle that target grades 2-4 as well as Concept of Word Poetry bundle for Kindergarten and First. I hope you’ll enjoy using this one with your students.
For more poetry ideas, I’ve created this Pinterest board filled with tons of great ideas.
- 10 Fun Ways to Use a Poem of the Week
- Using Poem of the Week for More Than Fluency
- Engaging Ways to Work on Fluency
Fluency is essential for students to get to the real purpose of reading, comprehension. When a students reading is clicking, the meaning flows. However, when it’s not, there is breakdown. I hope these teaching strategies help you in working on fluency with your kids.
Thanks for joining us, and be sure to come back soon. You can also follow me on Facebook or Instagram where I share things regularly. Until next time, happy reading!