Using Repeated Reading to Improve Writing
According to the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2001), fluency is one writing trait that should be developed and assessed. Sentence fluency is “the rhythm and flow of the language, the sound of word patterns, the way in which the writing plays to the ear, not just to the eye. Fluent writing has cadence, power, rhythm, and movement. It is free of awkward word patterns that slow readers’ progress” (www.nwrel.org/assessment).
By exposing students to good writing found in children’s literature as well as examples from students themselves, they may begin to see and hear the connection between the flow of oral and written language. For example, young children and second language learners often do not realize that the phrase “once upon a time” is made of four separate words and are surprised when they see the phrase in print. Likewise, when they try to write a fairy tale, they may write the phrase as a giant word, onceuponatime. While it can be argued that young children who do this have not fully developed their concept of word, this is also an example of how fluent readers chunk common phrases when reading orally so that they are heard as one word.
Students can improve their writing skills along with their reading fluency when teachers encourage them to read and reread their own writing aloud as they go through the writing process. They can read it to a peer or just to themselves in a quiet voice. This will develop their ear for language; it is sometimes easier to fix an awkward sentence or phrase when we hear it rather than rereading it silently.
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