Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Focus on Fluency

Lorraine Wiebe Griffith and Timothy V. Rasinski reported the results of a fluency focus on instruction in a fourth grade classroom in A Focus on Fluency: How One Teacher Incorporated Fluency with her Reading Curriculum from The Reading Teacher, 58 (2). Over three years Griffith incorporated Readers Theater, partner reading and timed readings into her intermediate classroom. The results were startling- over 90% increases in instructional reading levels for struggling readers.

Griffith's careful inclusion of fluency exercises into her reading program reaped tremendous benefits. The major injection was Readers Theater. This approach uses short scripts and small groups of readers practicing a reading to be dramatically read at a predetermined time. She used Friday afternoons as performance time. Each week new scripts were utilized. Scripts were found online, from commercial publishers and self-created. After practice with the technique, she also encouraged students to transform their thoughts, stories and poems into scripts as well.

One key to her approach was a careful and slow implementation. She did not try to include a radical change of her program at once. Her initial foray included a short segment of time outside of reading time and scripts sent home for practice. Gradually she shifted to include more fluency activities.

Although she implemented this program at an intermediate elementary level, Readers Theater could be implemented at secondary levels as well. With older students scripts could include speeches being discussed in history or ELA classes. Portions of published dramas could also be used. While there are some scripts available for science and math areas, it might be an interesting Common Core activity for student groups to write and perform a short script describing a concept or vocabulary term. Selecting short pieces is critical if the desire is to have struggling readers reread text and have the activities take place in short segments of a busy secondary classroom.

No comments:

Post a Comment