Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fluency Practice

It has been a very tiring first two weeks of school. I have spent most of my time setting up some rituals and routines (still working on these), getting to know each other, and ASSESSING. We have many district mandated assessments, as well as some I do on my own that provide me more immediate feedback on where my kiddos are and what I have to work on. 

After some anecdotal observations and my own assessments, I knew my work this year was going to be a challenge. I have the whole spectrum, but half of my kiddos are not anywhere near where they need to be by the beginning of first grade. Don't get me wrong, my firsties are very sweet and I L.O.V.E. them. They try so hard and are very eager to try new things. I know they will make great strides by the end of the school year.

One of the areas I know I had to tackle immediately, was sight word automaticity, writing, and fluency practice. I'll discuss sight word and writing strategies later. Our district uses Treasures by Macmillian/McGraw-Hill. Every week students have three main readings (sight word practice, main selection, & paired selection) plus other support literature. After looking at the selections for the first unit, I selected some texts that I thought would give me the biggest bang for my buck. I typed up the texts and every week am adding a new passage to their fluency folder (a simple file folder), along with a poem that gives them easy rhyming and sight word practice. I got them from Deedee Wills and Janet Dintelman over at Mrs. Will's Kindergarten (She has tons of great stuff!). The folder also includes a form for parents to date and initial after their child did the reading.

If you want a copy of what I send click HERE.

They have all week to practice the passages, and I test them on Friday. I am speechless at the remarkable improvement I already see from many of my students. Students who couldn't even track are now pointing accurately and reading words that three weeks ago they couldn't. The strings of random letters during writing workshop begins to have spaces, sight words, and phonetic spelling that I can actually decipher. Parents have come up to me and told me that they have seen tremendous growth already and are so happy to hear their child read.  What I did is not anything magical or out of this world. It is simple hard work by my kiddos and LOTS and LOTS of practice. I see light at the end of the tunnel and it makes me smile.

What do you do for fluency practice?

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