Do you have children. who. r-ea-d. l-ike. th-i-s?
How can we get children to read fluently?
So firstly, why do we need to read fluently?
We need to read fluently because it is difficult to understand what we are reading if we read in a halting way. Our working memory can’t combine all the different aspects and layers that entail comprehension of a text, e.g. use the punctuation or intonation – for example when reading dialogue or expressing an emotion.
Children who are still decoding every word cannot focus on what the text means. We need to release them of the laborious task of decoding to develop their fluency. How? Practice and repetition of known texts so that more and more words are committed to long term memory and no longer need to be decoded.
The great thing about getting children to read with expression that this activity in itself helps them to understand the text. They must look at punctuation, who is speaking and what emotion that person has when speaking. They can use pauses for dramatic effect etc.
The thing is that children don’t like to reread text that have already text but a great way to get them to practice is to ‘perform’ it with expression. My 8 year-old reader loves to read with expression. We even have a ‘clapper board’ that she loves to use before starting. Sometimes I record her so that she can watch herself read.
We can get children to read with expression to one another. They can comment on how to improve the expression or how to change the expression. How to make sure the listener knows which character is speaking and what they are thinking and feeling when they speak. This can be fun and really help with reading fluency!