Spotlight on Reading
Every day your child is becoming a stronger and more confident reader. One critical skill within any quality reading program is the need to develop fluency. Below is a list of skills that fluent readers exhibit when reading aloud, as outlined by Dr. Mary Howard. This list may be helpful to you as you read with your child(ren) at home.
Fluent Readers Can...
1. Read all or most of the words
2. Read without long hesitations or pauses
3. Chunk words into meaningful phrases
4. Make reading sound like talking
5. Pay attention to the punctuation
6. Make the reading meaningful to the listeners
7. Use typographical features like bold print
8. Use the voice expressively for meaning
9, Use language to create a visual image
10. Vary pitch according to the message
11. Use an appropriate rate that fits the text
12. Talk about the meaning after reading (comprehension)
One way that we monitor students' fluency is through the use of a rubric. The rubric is a scoring model, which rates the students on a scale from 1 to 4, based on the following criteria:
Score of 1... Choppy reading; no stopping at . , ? (punctuation)
Score of 2... Mostly choppy reading with a little bit of reading so it sounds interesting; some stops at . , ?
Score of 3... Some choppy reading, but mostly reading so it sounds interesting; stops at . , ?
Score of 4...Reading so it sounds interesting; stops at . , ?
As you're reading with your child, also consider the use of think alouds. Think alouds are simply pausing periodically to think about what the author/story is telling you. This pause may be at the end of a sentence, page or chapter. This helps model for your child that good readers think about and interact with the story while in the process of reading.
Encourage your child to personally connected to the story. These connections may include:
Text-to-Self Connections - Relating the story to something in their personal life.
Text-to-Text Connections - Relating the story to another story they have read or heard.
Text-to-World Connections - Relating the story to something familiar to the reader's world.
Spotlight on Spelling
As spelling words come home throughout the year, you may find it more and more challenging to motivate your child to practice. Here are a few strategies to help infuse some novelty to this task.
1. The website Spelling City (spellingcity.com) has all of our spelling lists ready to go. Your child may be tested or play games using our weekly words. A link to this site can be found on this site under "links to explore."
2. Have your son/daughter spread shaving cream on the table or counter and practice their words in the shaving cream. After each word, they simply wipe their hands over shaving cream and they're ready for the next word. It's fun and it cleans your tables and counters!
3. Place hair gel into a large ziplock bag and add a little food coloring. Seal the bag and blend together. Once blended, lay on a flat surface and words can be written into the gel.
4. For long/challenging words, break the word(s) up into chunks and assign each chunk a different color. Have your child memorize the letters and colors for each chunk.
For example: metamorphosis
meta mor pho sis
The human brain not only likes to seek patterns in the world around us, but also has a strong ability to remember colors and pictures. When these two are combined, we are working in tandum with our brain's natural tendencies.