Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reading Interventions

I've been reading (ironically) enough and using some fluency interventions with our third grade students. We don't have any summative data on the program yet, but I will say that the formative data looks extremely promising. I am going to talk a little about what I have learned in my research. Hopefully it helps.

The most powerful fluency intervention for kids past the primary (K-2) level is repeated reading. Repeated reading is a strategy to build automaticity, the fast (automatic) recognition of words. As reading becomes more automatic, comprehension is increased because it is not impeded by the decoding process. Below are the major components of a repeated reading intervention.

1.) Students work with a set of texts at their reading level. It is very important that students are not just given a grade level set of texts. Generally intervention kids read below grade level. So, if you have a struggling fifth reader, you first might use third grade texts to make them sound like a fluent third grade reader.
2.) The student hears a model reading of the passage (this could be a teacher read or an audio recording). The commercial program we're using, Read Naturally, has audio-recordings.
3.) The student practices with the passage (reading orally) until he can prove he has attained the desired level of fluency with that passage. He proves it by reading with the teacher who is timing words per minute.
4.) The repeated reading needs to happen at least three days a week for thirty minutes a day.
5.) The teacher needs to progress monitor words read per minute during each session.

The other intervention we are using is Reader's Theater. The kids practice a presenting a story at their reading level fluently. This intervention does not pack the punch of repeated reading, but it is much easier to implement.

Well, this is the most technical blog I've ever written, but these interventions have really helped my students in reading!


mrsgee said...

thanks for this. i'm not sure that our teachers will be willing to time words per minute, but reader's theater was something i had completely forgotten about. (it's amazing how quickly you forget classroom strategies when you teach music). i'll be reminding them soon (as i am sure they all got instruction in this at some point, and, like me, have just forgotten that it is available).

luckeyfrog said...

I've seen Read Naturally. Blastoff! also works well. Kids LOVE graphing their progress on "hot" and "cold" reads. Readers' theater is motivating, teaches students to use expression, and also requires rehearsal (and therefore repetition).

I agree that it is so vital for kids to read at their level. It builds up confidence and allows them a chance to actually grow.

When I saw Read Naturally done, there were 5 or 6 students and one teacher. Students had "stations" of sorts and simple timers with an on button and a stop/start button. They knew how to time themselves for one minute, and so it was only once they had read the story at least 3 times (I think- I don't remember the details) that the teacher monitored their hot read. The students did the practice individually (even at a 2nd grade level). Once they knew the routine, the students could work primarily independently, which I think could make a program like this much more viable for teachers. (As in, they don't have to sit there the whole time and be the timer every time.) I've also seen students have a partner time them.

Literacy Teacher said...

I have used both repeated readings and reader's theater with my students. They love both for different reasons. I do not time my kidos with their repeated readings, but I have seem postivie results over time in a child's fluency! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!