Fluency is termed as the capability to perform reading activities with accuracy speed and with correct expression. Students should be able to read in a fluent manner so that they can be able to comprehend whatever they read whether reading in a silent or loud manner. Fluent loud reading should be done in phrasal bits and with the appropriate intonation. It should also have expression as well as be smooth. Fluency also enhances coherence of speech. Students that are not fluent may sound awkward or choppy when reading. This lesson plan-a teacher’s guide with a detailed step-by-step description of how the course of instruction in a lesson will be conducted- introduces the activities and strategies that can be used to help students in fourth, fifth and sixth grade to attain proficiency in their reading activities.
Lesson Plan-Fluency Reading Plan
The application of this lesson plan shall use a selected book befitting fourth, fifth and sixth graders in teaching fluency. The selected book upon which the teaching shall be based is titled, Crispin: The cross of lead. The book is authored by Avi, and it’s a Paw Prints 2008 publication. This is a 208 paged book that tells a story of a thirteen-year-old boy named Crispin. Crispin is accused of crime at this tender age, and as a result he becomes a wanted criminal. Crispin is forced to assume a new identity and stay on the run so as to avoid getting caught and stay alive. This is a suspense story with a setting in England at around the fourteenth century.
Standards: SIOP Standards.
Theme: A five day mini-unit fluency study for fourth, fifth and sixth graders.
Lesson Topic: Reading Fluency.
Objectives: To be outlined on the board.
Language: Students should be able to:
Students should display greater word knowledge, which should in turn help them decode, recognize, read, spell and categorize words in an accurate and faster manner.
Content: The student should be able to:
At the end of a well taught lesson all students are expected to display understanding of letter sounds and phonic patterns in their reading activities and assessment.
Students should display proficient decoding and recognition of words as well as proper phrasing and speedy reading. The students should display word decoding ability through the use of prefixes, blends, r-controlled vowel patterns, diphthongs and continuous text root words.
Fluency in reading is determined by proper inbuilt knowledge of patterns that define spelling and pronunciation in relation to sound. Teacher aided instructions and practice can assist students in detecting phonetic patterns in words so that the students can easily internalize understanding in the decoding and word recognition activities. Efficient and effective teaching instructions should depend on the use of learning activities that help in shaping the way in which students understand usual word classification rather than through memorizing. The generalizations that the students are made to internalize about how to define different categories helps the students in assimilating new concepts and experiences in to their existing understanding (Tompkins, 2010).
Key Vocabularies: The teacher should identify vocabularies within the selected book upon which the lesson shall be based as well as other terms related to the study of fluency such as prefixes, diagraphs, diphthongs, blends and suffixes.
Materials: Stop watch or clock and copies of the selected book.
Motivation: Building the Background.
The teacher should pick different passages and assign them to different students, thereafter; s/he should ask the students to read them out loud to the all class whilst noting the difficulties encountered in the reading activity.
The teacher could also test the students’ vocabulary understanding level by presenting teaching aids such as pictures, charts or a variety of objects which s/he should ask the students to state the names out loud and write them down. Through this exercise the teacher should be able to assess the students’ understanding level in terms of vocabulary proficiency which is essential in determining how well and fast and individual can read.
Each day should present a different methodology and activity used in teaching a certain aspect on fluency enhancement.
Students should be introduced to word recognition basics using the syllable division method where they are taught how to divide words into syllables that can help them determine the respective sounds. Getting the initial syllables right should automatically trigger the full word. For example the common strategy with words that have two middle letters as consonants involves the division of the word into two halves between the consonants (e.g. mid/dle, nap/kin won/der/ful). Such divisions should help students to readily recognize the sounds. If a consonant appears between two vowels the word should be divided before the consonant.
The teacher should teach common phonic rules that can help students decode words. These are not very reliable, however; they can enable students to try the first common sound and determine whether the word makes sense when pronounced fully.
-If a vowel exists between two or more consonants, the students should always try the short vowel sound (e.g. flat, fat and exceptions gold, mind)
-If a word ends in –e and it has a single syllable such as home and dive, the student should always try the long vowel sound (exceptions have).
-A vowel preceded by the letter –r it should not have the long or short vowel sound. These rules if well taught and memorized they should soon create word familiarity.
The teacher should introduce the students to the activities of looking familiar letter chunks within words. These chunks may include suffixes, prefixes, sound/symbols, base words, whole words or endings (Examples may include eat in meat and, and in sand). The identification of chunks helps the students decode and recognize words as well as their respective sounds (Tompkins, 2010).
Use picture sorting practice that will have the students practice timed sorting of words according to category as a means to show the sorting concept. Thereafter, let the students perform independent sorting without timing so as to ease tension.
After setting the fluency skills the teacher should use this last day as a teaching day as well as an assessment day to measure the progress and grasping of the concepts taught earlier. On this day the teacher should allow students to read loudly after him as s/he reads each sentence. Thereafter, s/he should allow them to read in unison so as the others can follow others by echo. Finally, he should allow the students to re-read selected paragraphs that have already been read.
Practice and Application:
Day One Activity:
The teacher should make a selection of words from read passages within the book-Crispin-and ask the students to divide the words into syllables and pronounce the syllable in exclusively before combing them to pronounce the full word.
Day Two Activity:
The teacher should offer students words that conform to these rules as well as those that fallin the exception category and ask them to do the decoding as per the rules, and identify exceptions where they exist.
Day three activity:
Offers students words from the selected book, they should have familiar chunks such the endings –ing and ask the student to cover with their fingers the familiar chunks and let them try to read the whole word as they add the familiar chunks.
Day Four Activity:
The teacher should allow the student to sort words while being timed by a fellow student to see how fast and accurately s/he can perform the sorting. For example, oddity detection can be used in sorting (i.e. the student could be asked to select and put aside words that do not start with a certain vowel or consonant).
Day five activity:
The teacher should select chapters or paragraphs that students should read out loud in class to their peers.
Review and Assessment:
The teacher should allow the students to read out loud to the class while doing word sorting in each paragraph in groups and later by each student. Timed reading should also help determine speed of reading which is an indicator of fluency achieved. The teacher could also dictate a passage and ask the class to re-write what s/he reads. If the students can identify and write out the words properly, that is an indication that they can be fluent in reading them.
The assessment of students may also take the form of an oral fluency assessment norm. This is a standardized score which is determined by the teachers by collecting scores of a large number of students in the same grade. The norms are derived from students in eight different economically and racially diverse districts. The raw score obtained from these scores can be used to rate a students fluency by comparing his/her percentile to the raw score (Scolastic.com, 2010).
Group the students in to groups of five students and ask them to choose parts of the book that they would wish to use in practicing fluency. Allow them to read these parts of the book to each other while the group members note, write and correct each others errors and weaknesses.
Students should be asked to select material of their choice and reading it during their own free time, and later tell the stories that they read to the class. This will offer them a chance to read on their own and further their fluency.
Fluency in reading requires a student to have proficiency in decoding, recognizing and reading out words with proper intonation and faster speed. Basically, fluency is all about reading, quickly, accurately, and with expression or intonation. Thus, fluency combines accuracy and rate; it requires automaticity in recognizing words and reading them out simultaneously as well as reading with prosody. Automaticity is the accurate and quick recognition of letters and words as well as their respective sounds Fluent reading should flow smoothly and sound smooth with only occasional natural pauses where necessary. Automaticity is essential because it helps in freeing cognitive resources used in processing meaning. The lack of proficiency in reading can be overcome through improving the students’ decoding skills and helping them practice more reading so as to attain smoothness and speed in reading. Fluency motivates students and makes them want to read more, whereas; lack of fluency makes tem feel that reading is laborious, and as a result they shy away from reading (Tompkins, 2010). Fluency’s significance increases as students get into upper elementary. The volume of reading increases dramatically as students enter upper grades in elementary school, and thus; students that find reading laborious may have difficulties in meeting the demands of reading in those upper grades.
Fluency can be achieved through regular corrected practice. The general formula to attaining fluency lies in: reading and re-reading words that are decodable in connected words. Unknown words should be decoded rather than be guessed from the contextual perspective. The texts used in teaching fluency should be engaging texts that can sustain interests. There are common methods used in enhancing students’ fluency. These methods include the indirect approach and the direct approach. The direct approach uses a modeling approach and regular practice characterized with repetitive reading done under the pressure of timing. On the other hand the indirect approach uses the methodology of encouraging children to voluntarily read on their own in their own free time (Tompkins, 2010).
Under the direct approach repetitive reading often restricts reading sessions to “sight reading”. The direct approach can be likened to learning how to play a musical instrument. Sight reading is never sufficient in learning how to play a musical piece, however’ what is needed is repetitive playing of the piece till the rhythm and tempo is achieved. In repetitive reading students work on reading activities just as they work on the making of music, and they continue doing it until they achieve fluency. Repeated reading is known to work well with readers that are full alphabetic-those that know how to decode words. In repetitive reading timing is an essential part and it should emphasize speed rather than accuracy. If accuracy is emphasized speed is reduced. The students’ reading assessment should be graphed against time in terms of words per minute. This can be motivating because it evidently portrays progress (Tompkins, 2010).
The indirect approach is a form of voluntary reading that helps in improving fluency. Sustained silent reading (SSR) offers students an opportunity for students to find out the existence of pleasure in reading. The students should be allowed to choose material of their own choice as long as it is relevant to their level of education. The students can select magazine or book of their interest. The class should be allowed to read for a certain period of time each day. This method of improving fluency has been known to work well in encouraging the habit of reading and to lead towards a positive attitude of reading. The achievement has even been proved to be profound in peer discussion set ups. In this method teachers are encouraged to participate in the discussions that follow reading activities by reading the literary work that the students read. In the application of this method there should be no interruption and the discussion sessions and question time should be postponed till the end of the session of reading so as to avoid affecting concentration. Journals and book reports should not be demanded from students because this method is supposed to encourage free reading and make it sound interesting. However, if there are willing students that may want to do these kinds of informal assessment they should be allowed to write them because they will help assess their advancement. Notably, sustained silent reading is known to work well when there are discussion groups set up to allow the students to read and share with their peers about what they are reading. This offers motivation to other students to read what their peers are reading. This creates some sort of peer pressure that pushes the students to want to read more and more. As this becomes sustained it becomes part of the classroom culture. Other steps that can encourage voluntary activities of reading include providing a library that well stocked with plenty of books with a wide variety of subjects and topics so as to encourage reading and provide choosing opportunities. The page turners are the best for young readers such as easy series books instead of the classics in their personal reading. This is important because quantity is more important when the teacher wants the students to gain fluency, rather than quality. The lesson plan outline can be said to consist methodologies applicable within the direct approach method. However, it should be noted that reading out of the class for fluency is equally important because it allows the students to freely practice at their own pace.
The process of reading entails two different and highly related areas. These two are comprehension and word identification. It is has been noted that lack of automatic word recognition greatly affects the students’ ability to easily comprehend what they read. A slight difficulty in word identification may draw away attention from the meaning of the text as slow the speed or reading greatly, in turn; this creates a necessity to reread so as to comprehend the meaning of the text (Tompkins, 2010).
Fluency is the accurate, fast reading that has proper intonation and pauses that are properly placed. This can be only achieved through teaching decoding of words and repetitive practices of reading that are meant to help the students learn how to automatically recognize word. This enhances accuracy and speed. Speed in reading can never be achievable if there is not automatic recognition of words which can only be attained through repetitive reading practices. Reading fluency should be encouraged at an early stage because it helps in other exercises such as understanding of comprehension. Fluent reading reduces the cognitive effort required for recognizing text and thus giving concentration space to understanding of the underlying meaning.
Scolastic.com, (2010). Oral Fluency Assessment Calculator for Grades, retrieved on 9thOctober, 2010 from http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4446
Tompkins, G. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach, 5th edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.