making fluency and comprehension interesting?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TulipsGirl, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2007

    I am tutoring a 6th grader this summer to try to bring up her fluency and comprehension skills.

    I know that she will need a lot of drill and practice with worksheets for these skills, but the last thing that I want to do is bore her.

    Considering that this is 1:1, do any of you wise teachers have ideas on how to keep her motivated and interested? Games we can play 1:1? I know how to keep a 6 year old engaged, but a 12 year old? I'm a little nervous about this one!

    Any ideas would be really appreciated!
     
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  3. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2007

    nothing, huh?
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2007

    I'm secondary math, so this is coming from the mom of 3 young kids.

    Can you give her reading comprehension on stuff she finds interesting?

    Get zookidz magazine, or whatever. Even take her to the library to find books she wants to read.
     
  5. hapyeaster

    hapyeaster Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2007

    I would NOT say to do drill and practice. She needs to be taught strategies for her comprehension. Prediction, think alouds, rereading if needed, questioning while she reads (do this with post it notes), and modeling good reading to her are all great ways to improve her comprehension. Find out what she likes. Let her pick books that interest her, and let her pick a large variety of things to read. Read aloud with her, take turns. If your help her find the good reads, and help her improve her comprehension, then the fluency will fall into place.

    "I Read It, But I Don't Get It" by Cris Tovani is a MUST Read for you. Also, "Strategies that Work" by Stephanie Harvey. These are what got me through my first year of teaching struggling, reluctant readers! Good luck to you!
     
  6. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Thank you both so much for your advice. I'm going to check out those books!
    I asked her today, (our first session) if she likes to read, and she said "no way, too hard." It's a shame. A good book can be a great friend on a rainy day. (Aside from the fact that it gives you access to knowledge...)
    Thanx again for the suggestions :)
     
  7. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2007

    A suggestion for fluency:

    Use poems. The rhyming pattern and rhythm will help build fluency. I have seen this work with upper elem kids. We gave them a choice of poems to pick (think Shel Silverstein) and then let them practice reading it. This might be a good choice since they are often short and will build confidence since kids often thinks poetry has to be hard.

    FYI--I did this with my whole class and at the end of the week we had a poetry/popcorn party where the kids sat in the "poet" corner and read there poems to the rest of the class. They had a ball! We darkened the lights and had a lamp backlighting our poet.
     
  8. Sluggermel

    Sluggermel Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2007

    I just got a job teaching middle school reading to 5th and 7th graders. Do you think those two books you mentioned will be valuable for me as a new teacher to the middle school reading field?
     
  9. hapyeaster

    hapyeaster Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2007

    YES!!! They are wonderful books, and if you research, you will find they are highly rated. I just purchased "Mosaic of Thought" 2nd Edition, and am reading it now. It came out 10 years ago, and fueled the fire for today's reading trends.

    If you teach reading, I also recommend joining IRA (International Reading Association). It is around $40 per year, and you receive journals 8 times per year, as well as a newspaper. I have grown so much over the past 2 years, just reading these journals.

    Check out http://www.readinglady.com

    It is very helpful, and can show you a bit about some of the books I mentioned.

    Best of luck! and have fun! -Teresa
     
  10. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    So I checked out I read it but I don't get it (awesome title, by the way!) from the library, and I have to say, I'm really impressed. I liked some books that I got from my college program about how teachers can modify textbooks to help kids understand them better - but this is the first time that I saw a book all about how to help kids help themselves!
    There are no quick fixes in here. The author basically spells out for you what good readers are thinking while they read. I could never have spelled it out for my student if she hadn't done it so succinctly!
    It's great.
    Oh, and I reserved strategies that work, too!
     
  11. Sluggermel

    Sluggermel Rookie

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    Wow, great to know! I purchased Strategies That Work on Half.com for like $5! I will be looking for that in the mail. I still haven't bought the other one, but it sounds like everyone loves it considering the rave reviews I have heard about it everywhere! I was told that with my new job, I will be doing pull-out and push-in, but mostly push-in. I am a novice at this so I don't know exactly what I'll be expected to do, but I would like to be prepared since middle schoolers have difficulty with comprehension more than fluency. I will have to definitely check that book out. I never thought about the library. I will have to check the libraries around here to see if they carry it. Do you think it is a book to buy though? I am excited to check it out!
     
  12. hapyeaster

    hapyeaster Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Yes, I think it is worth buying. I refer to it often.

    I am still a novice, but last year it was just trial and error. I had other teachers looking at me like I was crazy, and they were so unfamiliar with the "new" reading strategy concepts...which in fact are not ALL that new.

    I did a LOT or read alouds. I would stop and "think aloud" to the kids. I would have then keep a reading journal, and they would predict...we did a lot of prediction. Then, we moved into Text Connections...text to self, text to world, text to text. It was exciting as the year moved on to see them make text to text connections to books or pieces we had read ealier in the year. I also did "sticky notes". This is where they have a pad of stickies, and they write questions about what they are reading..."I Wonder" moments. This got them to thinking about what they were reading.

    That was about all I got to cover, and I hope this next year I can take it further. My kids had never experienced this type learning, and it was different for them, and I had never taught it...so it was hard for me to know how to do it.

    Keep reading!! I will let you know how Mosaic of Thought is reading...I am reading Love and Logic and just scanning Mosaic, but I think that would be one you might want to get as well.

    :) Teresa
     
  13. tiredteacher29

    tiredteacher29 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Fluency

    I've only taught upper elementary grades, but we've focused a lot on fluency. Sixth graders in our state (WA) are expected to read 145-155 words correctly per minute. I would find materials at her reading level and then begin timing her reading for one minute. Timing makes it fun and you can graph her results so she can see her progress. This is a research based method to increasing fluency and my students have always loved it!
     
  14. etcetera83

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Strategies That Work is a really great resource for upper elementary and middle school grades. We used it for our professional development last year in conjunction with Reading With Meaning by Debbie Miller for the younger grades. I use so many of the strategies in the book! You'll love it!

    PS It's hard to type with a kitten on the keyboard!:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2007
  15. etcetera83

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Oh and Strategies That Work is based on Ellen Keene's work in Mosaic of Thought.
     
  16. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    I really want to try this with my student, because right now she is reading at about 115- 120 words a minute and I think that she would be motivated to see that her words are increasing (She tells me all the time how she wants to be able to read faster). But here's my question. What if her words per minute do not increase because I haven't taught her strategies to increase speed? ARE there ways that a student can help herself increase speed?

    Helno1: does the fluency that develops from reading with poems transfer to other reading selections (i.e. novels, textbooks etc)?
     
  17. TulipsGirl

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    Thanx etcetra83 for the suggestion Reading with Meaning for the younger grades. I Read It But I don't Get It seems like it's awesome for the 6th grader that I am working with this summer and I was also looking for something similar for my first graders next year. I'm going to look for it at the library. Gotta love this forum!
     
  18. tiredteacher29

    tiredteacher29 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2007

     
  19. Sluggermel

    Sluggermel Rookie

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    Is there something that is preventing her from reading quicker? With a student that I taught in a clinic-based setting, he was a seventh grader reading at a second grade level. To help him with fluency, we really focused on specific word families because after taking running records of his reading, it appeared that he was struggling with certain word families (r-controlled vowels and couldn't differentiate between long and short vowels). We just studied and practiced with word families and once he got that down, we definitley saw an improvement in his speed. Also, re-reading is a simple, but great strategy too. The more he read the text over, the quicker he got and he became very confident after that. We also did joke books that focused on the word families he was struggling with and he picked them up right away and had fun with it. Also, role-playing could really help. If she wants to act out a story with you, then you can practice the text over and over and that will also help her fluency and expression as well. I will try to think of other things. Good luck! Also, thanks for the advice on the books! I requested the I read it but I don't get it book at the library so that should be coming in soon. I will take a peek at it and see what it's all about and then possibly buy it. I am still waiting for the Strategies That Work book that is on its way in the mail!
     
  20. TulipsGirl

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    Good Question, I actually taped her reading to see if I could analyze what was slowing her down, and here's what I noticed:
    *there a few words that she had trouble pronouncing - about 4 in a 2 page passage. This seems typical to me, though. Correct me, if I'm wrong, please.
    * She speeds through punctuation. (We work on her expression, too, but I think that affects meaning rather than speed.)
    * She has false starts. Meaning she starts a word, restarts and then finishes it. These are words that she knows how to pronounce though, so I wonder why she hesitates or pauses.

    As far as I can see, the last one is the one that probably holds her back, right?

    Thanx for the advice about rereading roleplaying etc. :)
     
  21. Sluggermel

    Sluggermel Rookie

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    Yeah, it definitely sounds as if the last one is slowing her down. That's weird that she is hesitating. How do you know that she knows how to pronounce them any other time? Have you tried giving her a list of sight words at her level and having her read them down and see which ones she can automatically say and which ones give her trouble? Also, something I learned in my grad program that has been a HUGE help is called the DFM (Distinctive Features Method). What this means is that you go through a text that she will be reading and pick out words that you can predict she will have some difficulty with. Show them to her and point to the beginning and tell her what letters are in the beginning, the end, and the middle (in that order). It sounds weird, but it has really helped students read a text and helped their fluency because they won't stumble on those words when they get to it since you have introduced it to them prior to reading. Is fluency her main problem that you are working with her on? Or is it a comprehension issue as well?
     
  22. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2007

    I believe it did transfer to other selections, although I have no hard proof. I believe this for a couple of reasons. First, they are able to practice the poetry selections a lot without a lot of struggle thus building their confidence while increasing their speed. Second, the students hear what sentences should sound like. They realize sentences should have a rhythm and not be read 2 to 3 words at a time. Anytime a student can practice reading like this it is bound to transfer to other areas. Granted it might take time, but it is something I would use to supplement what I am already doing.

    Has anyone mentioned the Read Naturally program? It might be another solution to helping this girl read. Again, I have seen very positive results in fluency with this program in 3rd and 4th graders. You could also use the program to build comprehension by asking questions over the selections.
     
  23. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Where do you get your selections from?
     
  24. IowaLA

    IowaLA Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2007

    Poetry Selections?
     

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