Prompts for fluency

See the post below this one to read about the importance of fluency.
Choose the prompts that work for you and your child:
  • Are you listening to yourself?
  • Did it sound good?
  • Let’s put ‘here comes’ together quickly.
  • Can you read this quickly?
  • Put all the words together so that it sounds like talking.
  • How would you say that?
  • Make it sound like …..(a favourite book read well).
  • Read it all smoothly.
  • Make your voice go down at the end of the sentence.
  • Make your voice go up at the end of the question.
  • Change your voice when you see these marks on the page. (! ? “ “)
  • Can you talk in a little voice like Baby Bear?
  • How would you sound if you were …. (cross, scared, excited, laughing etc.)?

Click on the picture of the boy reading if you wish to view a YouTube video about fluency.

Why do we want students to be fluent readers?

Fluent readers ‘sound like good readers’. They read aloud easily and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word, and sound ‘like a robot’.

Fluency can be important for motivation. Word-by-word reading takes a long time and it can be exhausting. Most students who learn to read fluently discover that they can enjoy reading!

Fluent readers recognise many words automatically, and they group words quickly into meaningful chunks / phrases, to help them understand what they read.

Readers who read word-by word are usually only thinking about one word at a time, i.e. they are not thinking about the surrounding words to understand what is happening.

By running words together, like talking, it is easier to predict which words are likely to come next.

E.g. Jack’s ……red…….car……..went………up…….and………d_____.

If you are only thinking about one word at a time you are not as likely to guess that the last word will be ‘down’. (The student may say a different word, e.g.  don’t , which does not make sense.)

Fluent readers can focus their attention on what the story, or text, means. They can make connections between the ideas in the book and their background knowledge (what they already know / have experienced). Fluent readers are more likely to recognise words and comprehend / understand at the same time. Less fluent readers, however, must focus their attention on solving the words, leaving them little energy for understanding the text / book.

From the very first lessons, Reading Recovery teachers insist that the students read fluently. They model the difference between fluent, and word-by-word reading. They prompt- how are you sounding? Are you reading with your slow voice? Even just the comment ‘robot’ can prompt the student to sound better.

As you are hearing your child read, check how the reading sounds. Is your child dragging out the words like: ‘said……….…Billy’ or putting them together quickly like ‘said Billy’?

Helpful prompts for writing

Here are some prompts that you might use when your child is writing at home:

  • How do you think it will start? (e.g. t_____, tr____)
  • Can you write more? (e.g. tr-ee)
  • What could you try? Think about _______ (…how it sounds, / …another word like that you know, /  …how you wrote _____).
  • What do you know that might help? (e.g. a rhyming word- fall / ball)
  • If you can write ________, you can write _______. (e.g. day / way)
  • Do you know another word that sounds like that? (e.g. come / some)
  • Stretch it. (Say it slowly.) What can you hear? (e.g. t-ee-th)
  • Have you heard another word that starts that way? (e.g. stop / stay)
  • Have you heard another word that ends like that? (e.g. going / playing)
  • Remind your child of what is known when reading, to use when writing. (e.g. You read that word when __________ {Recently read book}.)
  • Can you see it in your mind / head? What does it look like? (e.g. very)

Ways of Solving Words for Writing

The name Reading Recovery suggests that the lessons are all about reading. Writing is also an important part of each lesson because it is when the student learns to make connections between spoken and written words.

The student learns:

  1. Some words you just have to know. These are high frequency words, e.g. when, they.  Every day it is expected that the student will learn at least one new word by writing it 3-5 times and memorizing what it looks like. (The less time the student needs to solve the most used words when writing, the more time can be spent on solving new words.)
  2. Some words you get to with a sound analysis. (HRSW) The student is told to- Slowly say the word and write what you can hear, e.g. c-a-t, sh-i-p.
  3. Sometimes you can write a new word because it’s like a word you know (analogy), e.g. it / is, dad / glad.
  4. Some words you get to with visual analysis. The teacher demonstrates features of written English (the orthography, or letters we often see that go together), e.g. ch, oa, er,ing. As well as asking “What can you hear?” the teacher will now ask – “What letters would you expect to see?” (The more we read, the more we notice which letters are likely to be seen together, e.g. we know that ‘gzx’ does not look right.)                                                                                                             The teacher highlights other features of words as the need arises, e.g. endings (e.g. ing, ed), silent letters (e.g. knight), doubling letters (e.g. hop / hopping), dropping the ‘e’ (e.g. have / having), common vowel combinations (e.g. oa, oo, ai, ow, er) and spelling patterns (e.g. ight, tion), and unusual spelling (e.g. why, who).

See also- What are Sound Boxes?

Cover the pictures?

Some parents ask“Is it OK for my child to look at the pictures as he is reading? Should I cover the pictures so he is only looking at the words?”

We know that very young children enjoy using the pictures to create their own stories. They are not yet ready to understand the ‘squiggles’ (writing) on a page.

As the children become ready to learn to read, they use the pictures to check what is happening in the story to support word solving. That is why the teacher encourages your child to use the pictures for help, e.g. what is in the picture that could begin with those letters?

Children need to become flexible by using a variety of ways to solve words within text. Looking at the picture to gain meaning is just one of those ways.

When the child has the meaning already in his head, he is able to use his time and energy to use the look of the word, e.g. br-an-ch, and ask himself if that word would make sense and sound right within the sentence.

Covering the pictures would make the search for the correct word or phrase more difficult for these readers. Remember that we want them to experience success in order to be enthusiastic about trying new learning.