Monday, March 22, 2010

Developing Fluent Readers and Writers

Scaffolding in teaching students to read makes perfect sense; children understand word-to-word reading, and then, as they recognize more and more high-fluency words, then begin to use syllabic and morphemic analysis of unfamiliar words. This poses one question: does the lack of reading comprehension in my classroom result from not enough reading in earlier grades, as Tompkins submits? Indeed, “children become fluent readers through a combination of instruction and lots of reading experience,” (p.188) so where is the disconnect that happens in low-fluency readers like the ones that make up half of my at-risk class? Evidence shows that support from home greatly influences a student’s ability to read fluently, but how do we as teachers compensate for homes that do not spend time on this crucial step? Motivating a student to read, too, is another factor; we can pick out all of the exciting books, but the students have to have home support to really keep them motivated outside the classroom, don’t they?

As for some of the low-fluency students in my classroom, I feel that it would be worthwhile to take them aside and really work on word recognition (introducing words in context, having children chant and clap words, having children practice reading and writing particular words) and would greatly increase their confidence and ability to read aloud in class.


  1. I really liked how you talk about the importance of working to increase our students confidence. If a student thinks they can't do something then that adds to the list of problems we have to straighten out.

    As far as how do we compensate for lack of support from home in regards to reading I think that it is so important to have silent reading time as well read aloud time regardless of the grades. I also recall once someone in class talking about how we the teacher need to model silent reading during that time, and not being doing other things. I do see the frustration, but we will be good enough teachers to make up for it!

  2. I also agree that working with student's confidence is a key part in becoming a good reader. A student is less likely to pick up a book to read, even if it interests them, because they can't read it! I think it would be important to also stress to students why it is important to read.

    As for reading at home I think a good way would to try to make it as playful as possible. Maybe sending home plays or puppet shows could increase reading at home. A lot of times even adults can be intimidated of reading because it doesn't seem "fun". I think as a teacher it would be important to find activities or books that offer more then just reading to get the families to get more involved. Also you could have families brainstorm all of the things they "read" in their house to have students get an idea of how important it is to read.