Saturday, March 20, 2010

Once again...Fluency

I read Chapter 6: “Developing Fluent Readers and Writers” from Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach, fifth edition, written by Gail E. Tompkins, AFTER I read the article on fluency that I just posted about. And I have to say, while I obviously found this chapter to be extremely informational, as well as a great resource to look back on due to the vast amount of resources listed in tables throughout the text, I did find it a little repetitive to read both the article AND the chapter during the same week. I would’ve rather have split this two texts up throughout the course of our semester. That being said, I did find this chapter to be very informational. I did appreciate the fact that Tompkins included the concept of writing fluency alongside the concept of reading fluency. Often, I feel that writing fluency is overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

I love reading a text in which an author goes out of his or her way to incorporate strategies, resources, assessment activities, etc. in the reading. It makes for an extremely informational and essential resource that I will obviously utilize in my future. There are numerous tables presented that list high-fluency words, word to incorporate on a primary grade’s “word wall”, mini-lessons, assessment tools, strategies, etc. and I will definitely go back to these when I’m teaching my future students fluency.

I found one specific section of this chapter to be the most beneficial and that was the section that specified the four different strategies that students use to identify unfamiliar words. I found this section to be the most beneficial due to the fact that students of ALL ages must use these strategies. Tompkins stated that “Beginning readers encounter many unfamiliar words, and even fluent readers come upon words that they don’t immediately recognize” (p. 197). That being said, it is obviously important for teachers to help their students develop the strategies necessary for decoding these unfamiliar words. The four strategies include:

  • Phonic Analysis
  • Decoding by Analogy
  • Syllabic Analysis
  • Morphemic Analysis

The chart at the bottom of page 197 was very useful in explaining what these strategies are and providing examples.

All in all, the Chapter 6: “Developing Fluent Readers and Writers” had a few main, important facts that I came away with. Those important facts are as follows…

  • It is important for teachers to instruct students and enable them to recognize high-frequency words and help children develop a “bank” of sight-words to draw from.
  • Teachers need to explicitly teach students a variety of strategies to utilize when attempting to identity unfamiliar words.
  • Teachers need to use a variety of different procedures that are integrated throughout the day and used repetitively, in order to help develop students’ reading fluency...same goes for writing fluency...and...
  • Third grade is an important cut off time for students to have developed reading/writing fluency, and if they haven’t then regular assessments need to occur as they progress through school.

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