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Building Fluency at Home

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Family Paired Readings Family paired readings are strong fluency builders and involve children and parents reading together. For 15 minutes per day a child and parent read simultaneously from a book selected by the child. When the child feels he or she can read independently, he or she gives the parent a signal (e.g., a nudge) to show readiness to read alone or independently. When the child makes a mistake, the parent rejoins in the reading. Topping (1989) documented significant gains in reading from students who participated in family paired readings.

Family Paired Reading Times

  • Your child chooses a book that is relatively comfortable to read. You can help your child choose a book. Have your child read one page. Your child shouldn't miss more than 1 to 2 words on a page.
  • You and your child read together until your child signals you (maybe a nudge) that he or she is ready to read alone or independently.
  • Your child continues to read independently until he or she makes a mistake. Then you rejoin your child in the reading. Again, your child can signal you (maybe a nudge) when he or she is ready to read independently again. Continue this cycle of reading for about 15 minutes.
  • Praise your child for signaling when appropriate, trying hard to decode words, and reading fluently.
  • After you finish reading, talk about what was read.

Have your child retell what was read. You can gently clarify if your child misunderstood what was read. You can also expand upon what your child tells you. Encourage your child to tell you about favorite story parts, favorite characters, and favorite illustrations, and why these are favorites.

(adapted from Topping, 1989)

Reading Aloud to Develop Fluency  Reading aloud to children is thought to be one of the most powerful types of reading activities teachers and families can provide to children and students of all ages. When we read aloud to students, we help them develop an idea of what fluent, expressive, and meaningful reading is all about (Rasinski, 2003a). Reading aloud helps build knowledge or schema (Chomsky, 1972; Durkin, 1976) and especially benefits students with reading challenges (e.g., second-language learners and students with reading disabilities) in developing a more expansive vocabulary and knowledge of story structure. Reading aloud also introduces children to new titles, genres, authors, and illustrators, inviting children "into the world of literature....it is both a gift and a responsibility" (Johnson & Giorgis, 2003, p. 704). As such, Watkins (2001) and Freeman (1995) discuss the importance of providing read-aloud books that allow children to reevaluate their opinions and prejudices to nurture intolerance to injustice and to foster the development of empathy, a sense of fairness and a social conscience. Similarly, Pieronek (2001) emphasizes choosing books free of cultural bias- i.e., culturally sensitive or responsive books. The following sequence is recommended in structuring read-aloud experiences:

Ten-Step Read-Aloud Planning Sequence

  1. Select a book that is age appropriate.
  2. Determine if the book is conceptually understandable.
  3. Review the book to ensure that it is free of cultural bias.
  4. Practice reading the book before the read-aloud time.
  5. Activate the children's schema beforehand- brainstorm and web ideas on chart paper or the board for all to see and reference during the reading.
  6. Discuss the book title and the book cover; stimulate thinking about story possibilities- who? what? why? where? when?
  7. Make some story predictions.
  8. During the reading, share pictures and illustrations.
  9. Read with enthusiasm- bring the story "to life."
  10. After reading, discuss predictions and what actually happened. (Pieronek, 2001)

Families can have fun retelling stories in homemade read-aloud books.

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