Friday, January 2, 2015

Repeated reading of Poetry Can Enhance Reading Fluency and Phonics

Sherri Faver's article, Repeated Reading of Poetry Can Enhance Reading Fluency, from The Reading Teacher 62(4) and Timothy Rasinski, William H. Rupley, and William Dee Nichols' article, Two Essential Ingredients: Phonics and Fluency Getting to Know Each Other, from The Reading Teacher 62(3), share a common thread of using poetry to support reading instruction. They both advocate poetry to be read and reread to develop fluency. Rasinski et al. also showcase how to use poetry to reinforce phonics- pulling poems that utilize a rime being taught. Rereading the poem offers opportunity to see the phonics skill in action.

For example they suggest using
     Rain, rain go away,
     Come again another day
     Little Johnny wants to play
when teaching the -ay rime/word family (away, day, play). Similarly you could use "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out!" by Shel Silverstein when  discussing the -out rime (Stout, out, shout) or the -ate rime (late, state, hate, gate, fate, relate). You could also use it to springboard a discussion of different sounds ou can make.  Not only can you practice and recite the poems, which is fun, you can use them as jumping points for rime discussion. You can pull words for word sorts- v-c-e words, words with short a sounds, words with suffixes, words with two vowels next to each other, words with consonant blends, and so forth. Nestled in amongst the rereading you can insert phonics review and instruction as is appropriate for the students you are working with. Word study and word play elevate simple repetition and provide purpose for rereading when performance is not available.

Not only does poetry provide an excellent opportunity to quickly practice reading in an enjoyable manner, it also provides practice using word families which facilitates fluency as well. It is a win-win situation. While both articles focus on early readers, this approach could also be used with older struggling readers so long as the poems are found to be interesting to them. This might, in fact, be better tolerated by older readers since it avoids some of the "babyish" and "senseless" criticisms leveled at reading materials often used with remedial readers.

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