It’s really magic when a low reader masters reading aloud. In the first days of school, after all the assessments are done, I work with low readers by reading aloud to the student, and then I have the student read the same material back to me. We repeat the pulling along process after every school break. Yes, young readers can lose fluency that fast!
Some tips to pull reading fluency along at any time of the year:
1. Use fun material! If a child is struggling, dull and dry won’t inspire. I like to use picture books, nursery rhymes, poems or lyrics because the low reader can use the rhythm of the words to pull herself to a higher level.
2. Have the student underline the sentences with her finger as she reads. This is a physical way to pull the student’s eyes ahead, especially if she falters on a word or phrase.
3. Read aloud with the student, pulling her along. Then go back and work on problem words or phrases. Does the student understand what she just read? If not, discuss the context and content of the material.
4. Do it again. Advance to materials with a higher reading level only when the student feels confident about her mastery of the lower level material.
One of the ways we celebrate reading achievement in my classroom is by listening to our low readers when they triumphantly can read aloud to the class. As my low readers advance, I urge them to take home books from my class library and read them aloud to younger siblings.
Lucky me…I get their younger sibs in my class a few years later!