This week, the instruction focused on reading comprehension - specifically on fluency. Fluency involves accuracy, rate/pace, and expression/prosody. It is important for young readers to begin to gain fluency in their reading, as fluency affects comprehension.
I decided to utilize the structure of the workshop model – I began each Reader’s Workshop with a mini-lesson, where I explained a fluency strategy/skill. I then modeled the strategy/skill, and encouraged active participation from the students. Then I had the children focus on fluency during their independent (or buddy) reading. At the end of each workshop we took a moment to reflect on the lesson. I had students discuss any successes, challenges, or observations that they made during their reading.
Click Read More to read about this week's Reader's Workshop lessons and activities.
On Thursday we focused on the expression/prosody aspect of fluency. I introduced the concept of “scooping phrases” as the class read the morning message. They used an ice cream scooper to help them identify and read phrases with appropriate expression/prosody. They noticed that punctuation marks were important in discerning phrases, and they practiced using the correct expression when confronted with punctuation marks.
In the mini-lesson we used the alphabet to explore more with punctuation marks and how they affect the way we read text. The students suggested that we add punctuation marks to the alphabet to alter the way we read it, and ultimately change the meaning of the "text." After we practiced adding punctuation and reading our “alphabet sentences,” the students worked in pairs to create their own version. They practiced reading their alphabets with proper expression/prosody, accuracy, and rate – and then they each performed their alphabet for the class.
On Friday, we extended our discussion on fluency and how it can affect the meaning of text. I had the students visualize what was happening in sentences as I read them aloud and displayed them on the projector. We discussed how the sentences had the same words, but because of the punctuation, they meant two very different things. For example: "That is a huge hot dog!" means something very different than "That is a huge, hot dog!"
Next, the students were off to read independently. I conferenced with students and we discussed how reading fluently makes our books more enjoyable and easier to understand.