It’s always a proud moment when you hear your students begin to improve their fluency in reading passages. When I heard my kiddos begin to use intonation and reading expression, I knew that we are ready to go up some reading levels. And fast!
There is a direct correlation between reading with fluency and reading comprehension. When your students have quick word recognition and smooth reading fluency, that provides a link to comprehension. Reading comprehension comes so much easier when your kiddos aren’t working their brain in overtime trying to decode all the words.
How Do You Improve Reading Fluency?
Practice and modeling. Modeling and practice. Like with anything, they need to hear a fluent sentence and repeat it. Your auditory learners can improve their fluency by listening to you and repeating the sentence. But your visual learners might need a picture cue. I have two sons who collected those little finger skateboards… once they outgrew them, I brought them into school. Here’s why…
I wanted my students to see that they’d read like a skateboard. Not a robot. A robot keeps its tone on a flat line. A skateboard could go up on the curb, or down a ramp. Just like our voices! By letting my students play with the mini skateboards, they can see that their voices can go up and down too! Get a set of fingerboards through Amazon affiliates here. This visual representation of our reading intonation really helps students change their reading expression when asking questions or giving commands.
Use Nursery Rhyme Songs To Improve Fluency and Expression
We all know how helpful poetry and nursery rhyme songs are when we’re practicing reading with fluency. Not to mention the language development and vocabulary. That’s why I add nursery rhyme songs to my poetry stations when it’s time for independent reading groups.
I take a lot of pride in using these classic nursery rhymes with my students. I see a boost in their memory as well. Here are some of my student’s favorite nursery rhyme songs and activities that I use in my poetry stations.
Each nursery rhyme song is performed by a professional children’s musician! Mr. J, Children’s Musician is a performer and a teacher too! There are twenty-five songs, each just as fun as the last. If you’d like to see an interview I did with my friend, Mr. J, click here.
Watching the nursery rhyme song set to music is a great way to practice fluency! Singing along with the familiar classic nursery rhymes helps with expression and memory.
Once they’ve listened to the nursery rhyme song, here’s their opportunity to practice their reading fluency and expression! They’ve already heard the song so the reading passage should be familiar. They’re always welcome to go back and re-watch the video. The more familiar they are with the nursery rhymes song, the easier it will be to read aloud… which means the fluency in reading and reading expression can only improve!
From here on out, I give my students rhyming and fill in the blank poetry activities. To make a complete station, I put Mr. J’s awesome nursery rhymes song videos on an envelope with a QR code, and all the pieces to the poetry station inside. My kiddos favorite thing to do is watch the video while they’re putting the poetry puzzle together. They also love reading the nursery rhyme on a foldable book. Once I starting incorporating nursery rhymes into my poetry stations, I noticed my students read with fluency! So fun!