Our next three blog posts are devoted to sharing some ways to use goal setting powerfully in your classroom with your early years students and even with your strugglers in high school. We start off this three-part series by looking at how to improve fluency.
Does each of your students really know what kind of reader he or she is? Is it clear what they need to do to improve? What kinds of goals could your students set that would be creative, self-directed and focused on reading improvements? We will be giving you tips over the coming days so you can set up your classroom in such a way that students know where they are as readers from the start then you can work with them to set goals to improve their literacy and challenge themselves.
Ask students to reflect on their ability to process print accurately and easily. Are they confident about tackling more challenging vocabulary? Can they remember what they have read easily? If students are struggling with these aspects of reading, more practise for improving fluency would be useful. Helping students become fluent readers involves concentrating on building automatic word recognition, enhancing the rate or speed of reading, and working on phrasing and expression in reading (prosody). Ongoing forms of informal assessment are a great way for students and teachers to gauge and reflect on current need in real time.
What could ongoing informal assessment look like?
i. Use a probe to check in on fluency with struggling readers use a stopwatch and a set text and record results, ready to compare the next time around. See our ALL website for Stopwatch Reading*.
ii. Pair students up and ask their partner to listen to how well they express themselves when they perform the piece out loud. Include a way to record the number of mistakes and how fast they are. Create a buzz by asking students to Read like a Newsreader* or perform their texts in another creative way in front of their peers. Students should record the improvements and goals where they are going to have access to it: school diary; reading record; school network class folder, or on the wall.
iii. Give students samples of scripts to read as a group. This is another fun, student-centred way of increasing confidence in reading it's a powerful practice known as Reader's Theatre*. Each student takes on a character, and they practise and rehearse before they present it to the class. Ask students to put as much expression into their voices as they can creating pace, pausing and intonation. Radio play scripts are often the best because they rely on dialogue and what the characters say to portray action. Ask the class/audience to close their eyes to imagine the characters and events for maximum effect!
The ALL Griffith team
* These Powerful Practices each have their own handy How to Guide on our website: http://www.accelerating-literacy-learning.edu.au/about-tools-for-teaching.html
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