Engaging the Reluctant Reader

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Are You a Fluent Reader?. With colleagues at your table, discuss a time when you may have had difficulty reading something fluently, such as while reading a tax document or insurance policy.. Barriers to Fluent Reading. Decoding: A reader should be able to decode text with an accuracy rate of 90-

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Engaging the Reluctant Reader

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1. Engaging the Reluctant Reader Reading Fluency Module by: ReLeah A. Lent Introduction: What is Fluency? Time: 45 Minutes Materials: chart paper, markers Introduce yourself. Ask participants to share at their tables a time when they found that they were not fluent readers. Model by sharing an experience when you may have had difficulty reading something fluently, such as a tax form, an insurance policy, or a difficult essay for a college class. Allow 5 minutes for dialogue. Show, “Are You a Fluent Reader?” as a reminder of the task. Introduction: What is Fluency? Time: 45 Minutes Materials: chart paper, markers Introduce yourself. Ask participants to share at their tables a time when they found that they were not fluent readers. Model by sharing an experience when you may have had difficulty reading something fluently, such as a tax form, an insurance policy, or a difficult essay for a college class. Allow 5 minutes for dialogue. Show, “Are You a Fluent Reader?” as a reminder of the task.

2. Are You a Fluent Reader? With colleagues at your table, discuss a time when you may have had difficulty reading something fluently, such as while reading a tax document or insurance policy. Ask for three volunteers to share examples. In groups, ask participants to discuss factors that make fluent reading difficult. Tell each table to be prepared to share at least one factor with the rest of the group. Chart the factors that participants have identified as barriers to fluent reading, based on their own experiences. Then, show, “Barriers to Fluent Reading,” and compare the items on the slide to the list generated by the group. Ask for three volunteers to share examples. In groups, ask participants to discuss factors that make fluent reading difficult. Tell each table to be prepared to share at least one factor with the rest of the group. Chart the factors that participants have identified as barriers to fluent reading, based on their own experiences. Then, show, “Barriers to Fluent Reading,” and compare the items on the slide to the list generated by the group.

3. Barriers to Fluent Reading Decoding: A reader should be able to decode text with an accuracy rate of 90-95% (from Rashinski, The Fluent Reader, p. 35). Unfamiliarity with Text Structure Word Recognition: Technical or subject specific vocabulary Lack of text chunking or phrasing, demonstrated by word-by-word reading Lack of prosody: intonation, expression Difficulty with punctuation Refer participants turn to Handout #1, “What is a Fluent Reader?”. Refer participants turn to Handout #1, “What is a Fluent Reader?”.

4. What Does a Fluent Reader Sound Like? Fluent readers. . .are able to read words accurately and effortlessly. They recognize words and phases instantly on sight. Very little cognitive energy is expended in decoding the words. This means, then, that the maximum amount of cognitive energy can be directed to the all-important task of making sense of the text. Timothy Rasinski, The Fluent Reader, p. 26 Pass out one sheet of chart paper to each table. Ask each table to create a T-Chart similar to Handout #1 titled “What is a Fluent Reader?.” The left-hand column will have the subheading “A fluent reader is not” and the right-hand column will have the subheading “A fluent reader is.” Participants should fill in one side of the T-chart with characteristics demonstrated by fluent readers and the other side with characteristics of a reader who lacks fluency. Have groups post their charts on the wall. One person from each group will share their chart as individuals fill in Handout #1. Encourage groups to add to their charts throughout the session. Show, “What Does a Fluent Reader Sound Like?” and ask participants if they agree with the working definition by Timothy Rasinski, reading researcher and author of the book The Fluent Reader. Pass out one sheet of chart paper to each table. Ask each table to create a T-Chart similar to Handout #1 titled “What is a Fluent Reader?.” The left-hand column will have the subheading “A fluent reader is not” and the right-hand column will have the subheading “A fluent reader is.” Participants should fill in one side of the T-chart with characteristics demonstrated by fluent readers and the other side with characteristics of a reader who lacks fluency. Have groups post their charts on the wall. One person from each group will share their chart as individuals fill in Handout #1. Encourage groups to add to their charts throughout the session. Show, “What Does a Fluent Reader Sound Like?” and ask participants if they agree with the working definition by Timothy Rasinski, reading researcher and author of the book The Fluent Reader.

5. Oral Reading Improves Fluency Oral reading can, indeed, foster comprehension. For example, one study (Cohen, 1968) found that, by listening to their teacher read aloud to them over the course of a school year, students achieved better vocabulary and comprehension skills than students who had not been read to regularly by the teacher. Timothy Rasinski, The Fluent Reader, p. 34. Segment 2 ~ Improving Fluency through Teacher’s Oral Reading Time: 45 Minutes Show, “Oral Reading Improves Fluency.” Ask participants to listen as you read aloud the following poem by Billy Collins. Practice reading the poem several times prior to reading it aloud to ensure that you model fluency through expression, accuracy and rate. Handout #2, “The History Teacher,” is a copy of the poem for participants to peruse later. Ask participants to just listen as you read and not follow along. Refer participants to Handout #2, “The History Teacher.” Ask that one person in the group read the poem orally while the others follow along silently. Allow participants five minutes to discuss the poem at their tables. Ask for one volunteer from each table to share the gist of the discussion. Ask participants individually to reflect upon their listening and reading experience and briefly answer the questions on Handout #3, “Listening to Reading.” Ask participants to share their reflections at their tables. Allow five minutes for discussion. Ask participants to read silently Handout #4, “How Reading Aloud Benefits Students,” and underline any benefit that they may not have considered before. Segment 2 ~ Improving Fluency through Teacher’s Oral Reading Time: 45 Minutes Show, “Oral Reading Improves Fluency.” Ask participants to listen as you read aloud the following poem by Billy Collins. Practice reading the poem several times prior to reading it aloud to ensure that you model fluency through expression, accuracy and rate. Handout #2, “The History Teacher,” is a copy of the poem for participants to peruse later. Ask participants to just listen as you read and not follow along. Refer participants to Handout #2, “The History Teacher.” Ask that one person in the group read the poem orally while the others follow along silently. Allow participants five minutes to discuss the poem at their tables. Ask for one volunteer from each table to share the gist of the discussion. Ask participants individually to reflect upon their listening and reading experience and briefly answer the questions on Handout #3, “Listening to Reading.” Ask participants to share their reflections at their tables. Allow five minutes for discussion. Ask participants to read silently Handout #4, “How Reading Aloud Benefits Students,” and underline any benefit that they may not have considered before.

6. Examples of Read-Aloud Text Discuss Appendices: Poetry Newspaper /Magazine Articles Student Writing Letters to the Editor Columns, Op-Ed Pieces Short Stories One-Minute Mysteries or Brain Teasers Internet articles or emails Non-fiction related to content area study Fiction related to content area study Jokes When participants finish reading, point out that one way to incorporate reading aloud is with teachers or students beginning each class with a short read-aloud. Show participants, “Examples of Read-Aloud Text” and ask if they can think of other types of text that would be suitable for oral reading. Refer participants to Handout #5, “Bibliography of Sources for Read-Alouds with Adult Learners” and ask them to add any other books or resources they think they could use successfully with their students. Give tables a few minutes to discuss and then share with whole group. Segment 3 ~ Improving Fluency Through Students’ Oral Reading Time: 15 Minutes ~ Materials Have participants get into pairs with Partner A and Partner B. Have Partner A read the following passage on Handout #6, “from Their Eyes Were Watching God” to partner B. Then have Partner B read the same passage to Partner A. When participants finish reading, point out that one way to incorporate reading aloud is with teachers or students beginning each class with a short read-aloud. Show participants, “Examples of Read-Aloud Text” and ask if they can think of other types of text that would be suitable for oral reading. Refer participants to Handout #5, “Bibliography of Sources for Read-Alouds with Adult Learners” and ask them to add any other books or resources they think they could use successfully with their students. Give tables a few minutes to discuss and then share with whole group. Segment 3 ~ Improving Fluency Through Students’ Oral Reading Time: 15 Minutes ~ Materials Have participants get into pairs with Partner A and Partner B. Have Partner A read the following passage on Handout #6, “from Their Eyes Were Watching God” to partner B. Then have Partner B read the same passage to Partner A.

7. Who is the Better Reader? Why was it easier for the second partner to read the passage? Show, “Who is the Better Reader?” and ask participants to brainstorm at tables the answer to the question on the slide. Allow participants to share with entire group. Point out that fluency improves when readers have the opportunity to pre-read text or hear it read aloud. Show, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Show, “Who is the Better Reader?” and ask participants to brainstorm at tables the answer to the question on the slide. Allow participants to share with entire group. Point out that fluency improves when readers have the opportunity to pre-read text or hear it read aloud. Show, “Keys to Fluent Reading.”

8. Keys to Fluent Reading Phrasing Punctuation Prosody Practice Direct participants to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Have participants use the chart throughout the rest of the workshop to create a classroom reference guide of instructional practices that will encourage fluency. Tell participants that definitions of each term will be provided during the next several segments. Segment 4 ~ Phrasing Time: 30 minutes Note to Facilitator: Phrasing or chunking text is the ability of readers to break text into syntactically appropriate units, usually phrases. Disfluent readers lack this ability and, therefore, don’t read in phrases, but rather word-by-word or by inappropriately chunking words into phrases that lack meaning. Show participants, “Simple Sentences,” and ask them to read the sentences. Direct participants to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Have participants use the chart throughout the rest of the workshop to create a classroom reference guide of instructional practices that will encourage fluency. Tell participants that definitions of each term will be provided during the next several segments. Segment 4 ~ Phrasing Time: 30 minutes Note to Facilitator: Phrasing or chunking text is the ability of readers to break text into syntactically appropriate units, usually phrases. Disfluent readers lack this ability and, therefore, don’t read in phrases, but rather word-by-word or by inappropriately chunking words into phrases that lack meaning. Show participants, “Simple Sentences,” and ask them to read the sentences.

9. Simple Sentences The poor people inner cities. That is a man eating tiger. Explain that readers must phrase or chunk in order to understand these sentences. If the first sentence is read “The poor / people inner cities” it makes sense. If “poor” is read as an adjective and is chunked with “people” as in “The poor people/ inner cities,” it makes no sense. This is assuming, of course, that the reader understands that the word “people” is used as a verb and doesn’t decode “inner” to mean “enter.” With the second sentence, it is necessary to chunk “man eating” to make meaning of the sentence. In many cases, it is necessary to reread a passage for complete understanding. Readers who are not fluent may encounter such phrasing difficulties each time they read, making it necessary for them to practice phrasing. Ask participants to read Handout #8, “Phrasing” to gain a clearer understanding of the importance of phrasing. They should write their own definition of the word on Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Show participants “The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.” and Handout #9. Ask them to place slashes on their handouts where they would divide the phrases. Have participants discuss at their tables where they put phrasing marks and how phrasing affects meaning. Explain that readers must phrase or chunk in order to understand these sentences. If the first sentence is read “The poor / people inner cities” it makes sense. If “poor” is read as an adjective and is chunked with “people” as in “The poor people/ inner cities,” it makes no sense. This is assuming, of course, that the reader understands that the word “people” is used as a verb and doesn’t decode “inner” to mean “enter.” With the second sentence, it is necessary to chunk “man eating” to make meaning of the sentence. In many cases, it is necessary to reread a passage for complete understanding. Readers who are not fluent may encounter such phrasing difficulties each time they read, making it necessary for them to practice phrasing. Ask participants to read Handout #8, “Phrasing” to gain a clearer understanding of the importance of phrasing. They should write their own definition of the word on Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Show participants “The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.” and Handout #9. Ask them to place slashes on their handouts where they would divide the phrases. Have participants discuss at their tables where they put phrasing marks and how phrasing affects meaning.

10. The Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands one nation under God with liberty and justice for all. Refer participants back to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading,” and ask them to write one instructional practice they can use with students to help improve their phrasing, such as placing slashes on text to help with phrasing. Segment 5 ~ Punctuation ~ Time: 15 minutes Remind participants that disfluent readers often don’t acknowledge punctuation, reading as if the punctuation did not exist, and thus, obstructing meaning. Ask participants to read silently Handout #10, “Changing the Channels,” a very short story with all punctuation removed. One partner will read the short story aloud to the other partner. Show participants Handout #11, “Changing Channels with Punctuation,” and have the other partner read the slide with punctuation in place. Note how fluency improves. Have participants refer back to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Have them write the role of punctuation in fluency under “Definition” and write one instructional practice that supports punctuation in the last column. For example, students could read aloud and actually say the word “period or comma or quotation mark” to aid them in paying attention to the role of punctuation in text. Refer participants back to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading,” and ask them to write one instructional practice they can use with students to help improve their phrasing, such as placing slashes on text to help with phrasing. Segment 5 ~ Punctuation ~ Time: 15 minutes Remind participants that disfluent readers often don’t acknowledge punctuation, reading as if the punctuation did not exist, and thus, obstructing meaning. Ask participants to read silently Handout #10, “Changing the Channels,” a very short story with all punctuation removed. One partner will read the short story aloud to the other partner. Show participants Handout #11, “Changing Channels with Punctuation,” and have the other partner read the slide with punctuation in place. Note how fluency improves. Have participants refer back to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading.” Have them write the role of punctuation in fluency under “Definition” and write one instructional practice that supports punctuation in the last column. For example, students could read aloud and actually say the word “period or comma or quotation mark” to aid them in paying attention to the role of punctuation in text.

11. Definition of Prosody Prosody is intonation, rhythm, and vocal stress in speech. Show “What Happened to Lani Garver,” an American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults by Carol Plum-Ucci. Ask each member of the table to read the sentence, placing emphasis on a different word. For example, “We don’t talk about drowning around the island.” “We don’t’ talk about drowning around the island.” “We don’t talk about drowning around the island.” Show “What Happened to Lani Garver,” an American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults by Carol Plum-Ucci. Ask each member of the table to read the sentence, placing emphasis on a different word. For example, “We don’t talk about drowning around the island.” “We don’t’ talk about drowning around the island.” “We don’t talk about drowning around the island.”

12. What Happened to Lani Garver “We don’t talk about the drowning around the island.” --By Carol Plum-Ucci Ask the group how the meaning changed based upon intonation and emphasis. Explain that prosody involves having an intuitive sense of where to place emphasis in a text based upon understanding of meaning. Have participants silently read Handout # 12, “Rate,” and explain that prosody, as well as comprehension, is influenced by the rate of reading. When everyone has finished reading Handout #12, refer them to Handout #13, “Adapted Version of NAEP’s* Oral Reading Fluency Scale” as another way to assess students’ fluency. If time is short, you may summarize the content for them. If time permits and participants are interested in assessing their own fluency, put them in pairs and have them read the passage on Handout #14, “Scott Turlow on the Death Penalty.” They may use the assessments in Handout #13 to evaluate their fluency. Tell participants that this is a challenging piece of text, written way beyond 12th grade level. Ask the group how the meaning changed based upon intonation and emphasis. Explain that prosody involves having an intuitive sense of where to place emphasis in a text based upon understanding of meaning. Have participants silently read Handout # 12, “Rate,” and explain that prosody, as well as comprehension, is influenced by the rate of reading. When everyone has finished reading Handout #12, refer them to Handout #13, “Adapted Version of NAEP’s* Oral Reading Fluency Scale” as another way to assess students’ fluency. If time is short, you may summarize the content for them. If time permits and participants are interested in assessing their own fluency, put them in pairs and have them read the passage on Handout #14, “Scott Turlow on the Death Penalty.” They may use the assessments in Handout #13 to evaluate their fluency. Tell participants that this is a challenging piece of text, written way beyond 12th grade level.

13. Repeated Readings While the science of teaching tells us that repeated reading can be an effective instructional practice, the art of teaching challenges us to make repeated reading engaging for all students. Rasinski, T. The Fluent Reader p. 102 Have students return to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading,” and write one instructional practice that would improve prosody, such as monitoring fluency rates. Segment 7 ~ Practice ~ Time: 10 minutes Show, “Repeated Readings.” Ask participants to discuss at their tables how they can engage adult students in oral reading as a bridge to increased fluency and thus increased comprehension. Allow each table to share. Refer participants to Handout #14, “How to Engage Students in Oral Reading.” Have participants return to their original Handout #7 and define practice as it relates to fluency. Have them add any practices that they would like to try with their students to help them become more fluent readers. Conclude the session with, “Fluency in a Nutshell.”Have students return to Handout #7, “Keys to Fluent Reading,” and write one instructional practice that would improve prosody, such as monitoring fluency rates. Segment 7 ~ Practice ~ Time: 10 minutes Show, “Repeated Readings.” Ask participants to discuss at their tables how they can engage adult students in oral reading as a bridge to increased fluency and thus increased comprehension. Allow each table to share. Refer participants to Handout #14, “How to Engage Students in Oral Reading.” Have participants return to their original Handout #7 and define practice as it relates to fluency. Have them add any practices that they would like to try with their students to help them become more fluent readers. Conclude the session with, “Fluency in a Nutshell.”

14. Fluency in a Nutshell Students lacking fluency read slowly, a word at a time, often pausing between words or phrases; they make frequent mistakes, ignore punctuation marks, and read in a monotone. Fluent readers know the words automatically, and therefore move easily from word to word, spending their cognitive energy on constructing meaning. --taken from Beers, K. When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do, pg. 205 Note to facilitator: If time permits, participants may demonstrate instructional practices for improving fluency. Divide participants into groups of three. Group 1 will practice and perform a choral reading by using Appendix A. Group Two will practice and perform a radio reading by using Appendix B, and Group 3 will practice and perform a readers’ theater by using Appendix C. Note to facilitator: If time permits, participants may demonstrate instructional practices for improving fluency. Divide participants into groups of three. Group 1 will practice and perform a choral reading by using Appendix A. Group Two will practice and perform a radio reading by using Appendix B, and Group 3 will practice and perform a readers’ theater by using Appendix C.

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