Fluency training is an EXTREMELY important part of the twice-weekly tutoring plan.
What is fluency training?
Reading fluency is developed with practice. When a child is learning to read, it is important for him to reread easy books. With each reading, he will become more familiar with the text and will be able to read more accurately and smoothly and with increased speed and better expression.
Why is fluency training important?
Fluency training builds confidence in the young reader. He is able to hear himself read like proficient readers do.
What materials should I use for fluency training?
Use books/texts at your child’s independent reading level. If you do not know your child’s independent reading level, read the post, How Can I Figure Out My Child’s Reading Level?
You may also use books at your child’s instructional reading level that he has already read. Over multiple readings, the text will become increasingly familiar and your child will be able to read it with greater accuracy, ideally with a 98% accuracy rate or better. (The link in previous paragraph to the post, How Can I Figure Out My Child’s Reading Level?, will also explain how to determine your child’s instructional reading level and his reading accuracy rate.)
Poetry can be incorporated into fluency training since its rhythm, rhyme and humor encourage children to read smoothly and with good phrasing and expression. A few poetry compilations that I recommend are Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry by Jane Yolen, Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Dunbar, Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Pretlusky and Marc Brown and Shout! Little Poems that Roar by Brod Bagert and Sachiko Yoshikawa. I find that humorous and rhyming poems are easiest to read. Poems with tongue-twisters, nonsense words and multi-syllabic words are difficult and frustrating for the young reader.
Your child should read books/texts between 4 and 6 times during the fluency training part of the lesson (spread out over many lessons) before retiring the book.
Have many books and poems on hand so that your child has some choice about the books he will read during fluency training. He should read between 2 and 4 books during this part of the lesson.
As part of your documentation process and a fun visual for your child, keep track of how many times your child has read a specific book or poem. Use stickers or stars to fill in the FLUENCY TRAINING BOOK TALLY CHART.
At what point during the lesson should I do fluency training?
Start every tutoring lesson with fluency training. It is a confidence-boosting warm-up.
Reading 2 to 4 books or poems will take between 10 and 15 minutes.
What support should I provide during fluency training?
You should not have to provide much support during fluency training since the books your child is reading are easy for him. He should consistently be reading with between 95% and 100% accuracy. The accuracy should increase over the multiple readings.
If your child does not know a word and hesitates or makes an error, withhold support initially and see if he self-corrects. If he asks for help, I recommend telling him the word. Fluency training is not the instructional portion of the lesson, during which word attack strategies are taught. Plus, by supplying the word, it is possible that the reading will remain smooth and relatively uninterrupted.
After the book is finished, if you would like to address a misread word, do it. For an emergent reader, who mostly uses context and at best initial letters to figure out a word, try cuing in the following manner:
Original text: I can run. Dog can run. I can jump. Dog can jump. I can swim. Dog can swim.
Read as: I can run. Dog can run. I can fly . Dog can fly. I can swim. Dog can swim.
Parent cuing: (Open to page: I can jump. Dog can jump.) Please read this page again.
Child: I can fly . Dog can fly.
Parent: Look at this word (pointing to fly). You read this word as fly, but look at the first letter in this word. What is it?
Parent: What sound does j make?
Parent: That’s right! Look at the picture. What could the girl be doing that begins with the sound /j/?
Parent: Great! Now reread the page using the word that starts with a /j/, jump.
Child: I can jump. Dog can jump.
For an explanation of the different stages of literacy development, including the emergent reader, read my post, Developmental Stages of Literacy.
If your child reads with less than 95% accuracy during fluency training, he is making too many miscues, or errors. Pick an easier book.
It may seem that your emergent reader is simply memorizing the text and that he would not know the words from the book in isolation. That is okay. This is all part of the process of learning to read. A child needs multiple exposures to a word before he truly learns it. Rereading books 4 to 6 times will provide this level of exposure.
Further documentation during fluency training
Learn how to calculate your child’s reading rate (the speed at which he reads) during Timed Repeated Reading. This documentation is not as important for the emergent reader because he reads so slowly, but I highly recommend using timed repeated reading and keeping tracking of your child’s reading rate when his reading skills improve and he can be classified as a beginning reader. Consider using the TIMED REPEATED READING CHART once your child is reading books leveled F or higher. There is no harm if you are interested in starting to calculate reading rate during timed repeated reading sooner.