Reading is under attack! 1.3 million fourth-graders perform below basic achievement levels for reading. You need to take comprehensive steps toward improving reading fluency amongst your students. But these steps don’t have to be difficult or boring. You can find many engaging exercises to motivate your children to learn.
What are some good tools for increasing reading speed? How can you keep students focused in the classroom? How can you help children improve their reading speed and intonation?
Answer these questions and you can create a class of happy and successful readers in no time.
Here is your quick guide on improving reading fluency:
Notecards are one of the best literacy tools. You can use notecards in several different ways, and many children have fun making their own notecards.
One basic activity is to write words on different notecards and lay them out in a line. A student should read them all together, and they can practice a word multiple times if they get stuck on it.
The words can be random, but rhyming words help children practice different sounds.
To add a small challenge, you can put the student on a timer. Lay the cards out in a row and then start the timer to see how many words the student can read correctly. If they cannot beat the timer, they can try again.
You can make notecard exercises more fun by adding props. You can attach a photograph to a ruler and have your students use it as a pointer. They can read words while watching the figure in the photograph run.
If children are struggling with the meanings of words, you can attach images to the cards that show the meaning. You can also write the definition of the word on the back of the card. You can buy cards from a reading tutoring center that you can reuse over the years.
Paired reading involves partnering two students together so they can read with each other. Being in a team can help a child stay focused and form relationships with other people in the class.
You can form any pairs you want. A student with reading struggles can be paired with a student who has great reading comprehension. But you can also pick two students who are reading on the same grade level.
The students will take turns reading a book to each other. At first, you can have one child read the book cover to cover and then have the other child read the book.
You can then have the students take turns reading every other page. This requires each student to pay attention to what is being said and break down the meaning of each sentence.
After they complete this part of the exercise, you can have the students switch off at random intervals. Forcing the students to start reading in the middle of sentences requires them to gain fluency with clauses, phrases, and individual words.
Make sure the students have a variety of books they can read. Non-fiction books use different vocabulary words and sentence structures than fiction books and poetry.
Each pair should agree on what books they will read. The students should work well together and not get upset when one of them makes a mistake.
Silly voice cards involve reading words and sentences in a silly voice. It makes reading more fun, and it gives students the opportunity to practice different intonations and rhetorical gestures.
You can try out a variety of different voices. The students can read in a monster voice, growling and dropping their words low. They can then read in a mouse voice, raising their voice and sounding squeaky.
Once students have their voices down, you can ask them to read words in the middle of a sentence in their voices. This requires them to change their pitch and volume rapidly.
Punctuation changes can affect how readers interpret and recite sentences. “I saw that last night.” requires a different reading than “I saw that last night?”
Write identical sentences on the board and change the punctuation at the end. Then ask the students to read the sentences out loud, modifying their voices to reflect the punctuation.
Once students understand end punctuation, you can add commas and other punctuation to your sentences. “I saw that last night, and I didn’t like it” requires students to create a short pause with the comma. They can also modify their voices, emphasizing “didn’t” or “like.”
Reading Different Texts
The more time your students have to read orally, the better readers they will be. You should have reading time in your daily schedule, and your students should spend the time reading texts out loud. Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of reading time into the schedule.
Students can read by themselves or with peers. Solo reading lets students find books they like and appreciate the content in the books better.
You should also give your students time to read at home. You should give them short texts they can practice with, then you can test them on their performance.
How to Start Improving Reading Fluency?
Improving reading fluency is essential. Notecards are easy for children to use, so give them out and have children read words off of them.
Paired reading can keep children engaged and let them learn from their peers. You can also try reading in silly voices and using punctuation changes to adjust the intonation.
The key is that you give students ample opportunities to read. Make sure they have a variety of books so they can develop a love of literature.
Keep thinking about fun activities for improving reading fluency. Read guides to reading activities by following our coverage.