Showing posts with label Reading Rate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reading Rate. Show all posts

Friday, November 14, 2008

Come on Readers, Let's Sing

Kids live for music. There is never a day that they don’t listen to music. BUT, we rarely use it as part of our educational program in intermediate classes. Many teachers in the primary grades use songs to teach letters, words, numbers, and counting. For some reason though, we rarely see it in 4-8 classes. And, interestingly enough, this is the time when music begins to play a major role in our students’ lives.

Turn that down!
Can I have some money to buy Rhianna’s CD?
Where's my IPod?
That video is not appropriate, Emily.
How can you do your homework with that music up so loud?
Dad, change that station.
Will you give me money to get tickets to go see Pink?

All of this was said in the last few days in my house. Do you ever hear similar comments? Yet even though we know that music is totally intertwined in our lives, we rarely integrate it into the curriculum. So, we are singing as part of Reading Workshop.

Each day for 10 minutes (usually two songs), lyrics are shown on the wall using the projector. Music is played and students sing along, reading the lyrics as they sing. Every week, we sing at least one new song. As students get too familiar with a song, they know all of the words, so they stop reading. Changing songs is important to keep students reading. It also helps with vocabulary instruction. With each new song, there are new words to learn and discuss.

The best part of singing in reading class though, is how it helps academic achievement. When students read fluently, the ability to comprehend increases dramatically. Conversely, when students fight to read each word, starting and stopping, and starting again, comprehension decreases dramatically. We have all listened to a student read, struggling with each word, never reading a sentence through, and wished we had a magic bullet. We know if we could just get him to read fluently, he would have a better chance of understanding what he reads.

As we know, there is no magic pill, to cure all ailments. However, with modeling, and repeated readings, we can significantly increase fluency. In fact, primary teachers use this daily. Adolescent learners will quickly turn us off though, if we try to read as a class every day. This just wouldn’t be “cool.” This is where singing plays an important role in the language arts classroom. Singing their favorite new hit is most definitely “cool.”
The available evidence provides reliable, scientific evidence of the positive impact of repeated readings on a variety of reading tasks and outcome measures. These studies also indicate that engaging children in repeated readings of a text is particularly effective in fostering more fluent reading in children who are struggling to develop proficient reading strategies.

What better way for repeated reading than through singing?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How Fast Do You Read?

Are you a fast and fluent reader? Should you be? Today in Reading Workshop we discussed the pace used when reading. Sometimes even the most fluent reader should s l o w d o w n. Sometimes even the slowest reader should speed up and get through the text. The important thing to know is how to pace yourself depending on your purpose.

Reading Rate

If you want to be a better reader, first think about your purpose. Then adjust your reading speed to fit your purpose. Most readers do this, at least to a certain extent, without even thinking about it. In fact, as you become a better reader, you will constantly move back and forth on the continuum, without even being aware that you are making adjustments.

However, with difficult text, it is important to consciously take the time to understand what you are reading. Look at key vocabulary, using context clues to figure out words that you don't know. What part of speech is a word? Maybe it is just an adverb that will not keep you from understanding the sentence, so it can be ignored if you don't understand it. Determine whether a point is a major component of an article, or just a supporting detail. Frequently supporting details are not necessary to understand the gist of the writing.

This decision to slow down, and break down an essay for key concepts and ideas (like finding the W's) will help you become a better reader, improve comprehension, and improve your grades.