The science is settled when it comes to Interactive Read-Alouds. Not only do
classroom teachers recognize that Interactive Read-Alouds are a powerful and
engaging teaching tool, but the research indicates that they’re undeniably effective
as well.

 

Need another reason to use Interactive Read-Alouds? They make lesson planning for your Reading Block time a breeze!

 

In case you’re a little late
to the party, here’s a simple explanation of what an Interactive Read-Aloud is:

Interactive Read-Alouds make the
most of read-aloud time by uniting the elements of comprehension, fluency, and
standards in reading. They provide an easy way for teachers to purposefully and intentionally model and teach a specific reading skill (or many skills at
once). Interactive Read-Alouds provide teachers and students with a format
that includes a proven step-by-step routine for both guided conversations and
reflective thinking about the chosen text. This format enables students to demonstrate
knowledge acquired with strategic listening, discussion, and responding in writing
about the text.

 

Want to improve the effectiveness
of your read aloud time? Who doesn’t? Interactive Read-Alouds increase student
engagement, increase students’ understanding of the text, provide teachers with
the opportunity to model comprehension strategies, teach literary concepts, and
build vocabulary! They cover every reading skill and standard, starting with activating prior knowledge and extending all the way up to a final response to reading!

 BONUS: They also improve the overall
class climate by building a sense of camaraderie, teamwork, and interdependence
within reading groups!

 

The following list of Read-Aloud strategies
are a set of ‘tried and true’ teaching tools from my classroom—and many
others, that have proven to successfully help teachers plan an engaging,
lively, and effective Interactive Read-Aloud lesson!

 

We can all agree that any
lesson that includes kinesthetic elements will be more appealing and engaging
to kids, right? With sign language,
kids can use simple signs for making a connection with the story as they read
(or listen), such as thumbs up or down if they agree or disagree with something
that’s stated in the story. Perhaps you can even have them learn an ASL sign
for certain vocabulary words within the story—a great way to reinforce and
remember a new vocabulary word! Having
kids learn and use the sign for a particular vocabulary word (one that’s
repeated in the story is best) will automatically make them more engaged in
Read-Aloud time. They may need to be reminded to ‘sign’ when you first start
this practice, but eventually they will come to love it!

 

Incorporating Sign Language into your Interactive Read-Aloud
time will accomplish many important goals:

Noticing who’s paying attention to the story and who’s not

Improving student’s careful and strategic listening

Makes learning new vocabulary & reading time more FUN for kids!

Click HERE for a helpful link to search/learn ASL words online!

 

 

Sometimes called
THINK-PAIR-SHARE, ‘Turn & Talk’ is one of Kagan’s most useful cooperative
learning strategies that’s especially effective for teaching reading. During
and after reading, students will have a chance to think of a question that they
can ask a partner, that will encourage reflective thinking. (You can use
resources that provide question stems for students to make this process flow a
little more smoothly.)

 

This strategy also helps students to be more interactive and engaged as
they read & listen to a story. They may use post-its or their own notebooks
to stop and jot down important parts of the story. You can also guide them with
a directed list of what to ‘jot about’ at first, such as events in the story or
character traits, for example, or let them decide what’s important for them to
jot down as they go.

As a busy teacher, when you think about incorporating a new teaching method, it
can sometimes feel overwhelming and you may feel as though it’s too complicated
to make a change. The best part of Interactive Read-Alouds is that they truly
do make life easier for you as a teacher–and make reading comprehension more
accessible for your students!

Interactive Read-Alouds take the familiar steps of reading instruction that we already know
as ‘BEFORE, DURING and AFTER Reading’ and transform them into an easy to use, much
more lively (and yes, truly INTERACTIVE!) format for reading instruction! I really
hope that you’ll give it a try, you’ll be so glad you did!

 

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Interactive Read-Alouds make the most of read-aloud time by uniting the elements of comprehension, fluency, and standards in reading. They provide an easy way for teachers to purposefully and intentionally model and teach a specific reading skill (or many skills at once). Interactive Read-Alouds provide teachers and students with a format that includes a proven step-by-step routine for both guided conversations and reflective thinking about the chosen text.

Interactive Read-Alouds make the most of read-aloud time by uniting the elements of comprehension, fluency, and standards in reading. They provide an easy way for teachers to purposefully and intentionally model and teach a specific reading skill (or many skills at once). Interactive Read-Alouds provide teachers and students with a format that includes a proven step-by-step routine for both guided conversations and reflective thinking about the chosen text.

 

 

 

Looking to boost your students' fluency? Carefully assessing where your students are is key to moving them forward.

 

In order to accurately assess a student’s fluency and guide his or her development, a teacher needs to look at all the components of fluency.  In the simplest of terms, fluency can be divided into three critical components: accuracy, rate, and prosody (expression and smoothness).

Looking to boost your students' fluency? Carefully assessing where your students are is key to moving them forward.

 

Accuracy
A student’s ability to decode and process the text can be measured by finding his or her accuracy rate. An accuracy rate can be determined by finding the percentage of words in a text that students can read accurately.  For text being read independently, a target accuracy rate should be 95% or higher.  If the reader has teacher support, the accuracy level can be between 90%-95%.  Any text that a student can not read with at least 90% accuracy is at the frustrational level, and it is likely that the reader will not be able to adequately comprehend the text. When a student does not have an adequate rate of accuracy, it is likely they are losing or changing the meaning of the text.

Rate
A student’s ability to process text automatically can be measured by his or her reading rate.  This is easily done by having the student read a grade level text for 60 seconds and counting the number of words that are read correctly in one minute.  A student’s target reading rate will increase as he or she moves up in grade levels.  Your district likely has a suggested target reading rate for each grade level, but if they don’t, HERE is a link to suggested target reading rates.  Students with a rate of 20% below the target reading rate should be considered for intervention.  As strange as it sounds, it is also possible for a student to read too fast.  Students who sound like they are “speed reading” is not able to use proper expression when reading.  It is also likely that comprehension suffers when a child is “speed reading”.  When it comes to rate, it is important to teach an “appropriate” rate and not simply a “faster” rate.

Prosody
The prosodic reading ability of a student is best measured by listening to a student read grade level text aloud and rating the quality of his or her reading.  A prosodic reader combines smoothness and expression.  A smooth reader can read in long, meaningful phrases.  They notice punctuation and pause as needed.  Expression is more than just changes in voice inflection.  An expressive reader will change their voice to match characters in the text or the overall tone of the text.  A prosodic reader is easy to understand and a pleasure to listen to.

Looking to boost your students' fluency? Carefully assessing where your students are is key to moving them forward.

As in all areas of the classroom, parent involvement and communication is crucial to the overall success of the student.  I have found this rubric very helpful in communicating their student’s progress in fluency development.  You can grab this rubric to use in your classroom HERE.

 

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Looking to boost your students' fluency? Carefully assessing where your students are is key to moving them forward.

 

Looking to boost your students' fluency? Carefully assessing where your students are is key to moving them forward.

What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

 

What is reading fluency?

Even people not familiar with the elements that make up fluent reading, know a fluent reader when they hear one.  They read smoothly with proper intonation.  A fluent reader is easy to listen to and understand because it simply sounds like they are telling you a story.

A successful reader is able to process the text on the page and comprehend the text that has been read.  Reading fluency can be thought of as the bridge between processing and comprehending the text.  A fluent reader is able to process the text in such a way that allows them to focus on understanding and comprehending on a deeper level.  There are three areas of fluency for a reader to develop.  First, a reader needs to be able to decode the text with minimal errors. This is also referred to as accuracy.  In order to decode successfully, a reader needs a solid knowledge of phonics and other strategies to help them attack unknown words.  Next, a reader will develop automatic processing which allows them to use as little mental effort as possible to decode so that they can focus more on understanding the text.  Finally, a reader will develop prosody.  Prosody can be described as expressive reading.  A prosodic reader will pay attention to phrasing and punctuation.  They will also use proper intonation.  Readers that do not read with prosody are often not able to fully comprehend the text to their fullest potential.

What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

Just like your car is fueled by the gas you put in it, comprehension is fueled by fluency.  You wouldn’t expect your car to run without gas or even with bad gas.  You can’t expect your young readers to comprehend without fluency.  By ignoring the development of fluency, the reader is being allowed to practice bad habits instead of moving closer to becoming a fluent reader.  Fluency alone does not guarantee strong comprehension skills.  However, it is unlikely that comprehension will develop without fluency.

Grab these fluency bookmarks for FREE! What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

It is important for teachers to understand what fluency is, but it is equally important for students to understand what a fluent reader is.  The knowledge of what a fluent reader gives a student an obtainable goal to work for.  I love using these bookmarks with my students.  They help keep the keys to being a fluent reader in front of my students so they can more easily make a conscious effort to improve.  You can grab a copy of these bookmarks for FREE HERE.

 

Need Tips for Improving Reading Fluency in the Primary Grades

For even more ideas and resources for developing fluency in your classroom, sign up to have “A Teacher’s Guide to Developing Fluency in the Primary Grades” delivered to your inbox.

 

Love it?  Want to Save it for Later?

What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

 

What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

What is reading fluency? Why do I need it in my primary classroom? How can I help develop fluency?

 

Need Tips for Improving Reading Fluency in the Primary Grades

 

Why is reading fluency important?

Have you ever tried to learn to play an instrument?  If so, think about those early days of learning the instrument.  I can remember my days in middle school band.  Each note was a struggle!  If I was lucky enough to recognize the note at first glance, then came the struggle of how to hold my lips and which keys should be held down, not to mention when the note was to be played.  After lots and lots of practice, frustration, and even a few tears, the notes started to come more easily.

Eventually, the notes became automatic, and my fingers and lips knew what to do without me having to think much about it.  This allowed me to enjoy the music and the act of playing more than I ever could as a beginner.  I think about this experience often as I watch my young students learning to read, and I want to help guide them to fluency in reading so that they can enjoy reading.

Need Tips for Improving Reading Fluency in the Primary Grades

Teachers and researchers agree that reading fluency is an important factor in a student’s overall reading success.  As I begin to plan for the next school year, I’m thinking of students like Meg.  Meg could read fairly accurately.  Unless faced with more challenging vocabulary, she would get most of the words correct.  Meg was a good word caller.  However, when reading aloud, Meg would ignore punctuation and phrasing.  Her reading sounded choppy and labored.  After finishing the text, Meg struggled to answer questions about what she read, and she could retell only the simplest of details.  On the other hand, during read aloud time, Meg had excellent comprehension and was able to make numerous connections with the text.  What was missing for Meg?  For Meg and many others like her, the answer lies in reading fluency.  Unfortunately, the development of fluency is overlooked in some classrooms because other skills seem more important.

Parent Guide to Fluency in the Primary Grades

Looking to improve fluency for your students?  One of the first things I would suggest is soliciting support from your parents.  Many parents want to help their child at home but they just aren’t sure how.  “Fluency Tips for Parents” is a print and go document that gives parents easy to implement tips for fluency practice at home.  You can grab your copy for FREE HERE.

Need Tips for Improving Reading Fluency in the Primary Grades

For even more ideas and resources for developing fluency in your classroom, sign up to have “A Teacher’s Guide to Developing Fluency in the Primary Grades” delivered to your inbox.

 

Need Tips for Improving Reading Fluency in the Primary Grades

Parent Guide to Fluency in the Primary Grades

 

 

 

As of 9:00AM (CST) on January 3rd, sign-ups for this year’s exchange are closed.  The response has been amazing and I am excited for all classrooms that are participating. 

Looking to add some fun to your classroom during the cold winter months?  Last month’s Gingerbread Exchange was such a success and I am looking forward to kicking of the third annual Valentine Exchange.

The Gingerbread Man Exchange linked together 200 teachers and more than 3,000 students.  Here is a quick look at the Gingerbread Man exchange.  To see a full recap of the Gingerbread Man exchange, check out this POST.

What’s a Valentine exchange you ask?  During the month of January, your class will create 20-22 paper valentines and decorate them in any way you would like.  

They should be child-created heart shaped greetings rather than purchased pre-made cards.  You may use the template below or feel free to create your own template.

No later than Monday, February 6th, you will mail 20-22 Valentines to other classrooms across the United States.  You will also need to include in the envelope a brief letter from your class telling about your school, the area you live in, etc.  This can be a letter that you write together with your students and simply make a copy to send with each Valentine.  Then, sit back and wait for the Valentines to arrive at your school.  

Due to the postage expense, participating classrooms must be in the United States.  The Valentines exchange is also limited to kindergarten through fourth grade classes.  By signing up, you are agreeing to have your class create 20-22 Valentines and mailing them on or before Monday, February 6th.  If you would like for your class to be part of this year’s Valentine exchange, you can sign up by clicking HERE or on the image below.  

The sign-ups will only be open for the next couple of days or until the maximum number of participants have signed up.  Once the maximum number of participants have been reached, I will close sign ups.  NOTE: Everyone who completes the sign up form before I close it will be able to participate.  A confirmation email with more details will be sent out no later than Monday, January 16th to everyone who has signed up.  If you do not receive an email by January 16th, please email me immediately at pawsitivelyteaching@gmail.com.  Unfortunately, once the sign-up period has closed and groups are formed, I won’t be able to add additional participants.  Please comment below or email me if you have any questions prior to signing up.