This week was Dr. Seuss Birthday Week. Even though I'm 56, I still love Dr. Seuss books and most students I know, do too.
To celebrate -- and to get some reading fluency practice - I tried a new idea to me. I selected two Dr. Seuss Books (One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish..., and Green Eggs and Ham). The objective was for students to read these books aloud, listen to an exemplar (read by yours truly), connect with the four elements of fluency (smoothness, expression, speed, and accuracy).
Here's a recording of the book that you might also use:
To do this, I invited students to read aloud with a digital recorder (which they loved doing!). I recorded each student's reading and then transferred the file to my computer. I did the same with my exemplar, which was me reading "Green Eggs and Ham".
Here's a link to the recorder I used:
This was a perfect exercise to include in my Friday student conferences where I work to connect with students on anything in the classroom, including successes and misses. I look forward to these every week because I feel it is time I really get to know students better. While I do have up to 10 students at a time, while I'm doing these individual conferences of about 12 minutes per student, the other students are engaged in literacy centers that they are practicing from the week. NOTE: This has taken a lot of practice for students to learn how to move around the room, respectfully, getting their work done. I spend a lot of time at the top of the year reviewing classroom expectations where we literally practice moving from one table to the next. Why? Because learning to learn is an important life skill that most students aren't taught. Being in a classroom with other students is a big deal and one that students needs to master before they transition to middle school. So we work on it!
At students' conferences, I reviewed the four components of fluency by referring to an anchor chart. I connected the birthday of Dr. Seuss (I even wore a Dr. Seuss headband!) with our exercise and the learning we've done this year about fluency (it's mentioned almost every time during small group: "We're working on reading skills today and fluency is our friend!")
1 - Students were invited to listen to the exemplar with headphones for about 2 min.
2 - We discussed what they enjoyed about the listening to the recording.
3 - Next, I invited them to listen to their own reading for about 2 min. It's important that I share with students that I hadn't shared their reading with anyone and that this was only theirs and I keep that promise.
4 - After listening to their reading, I provided a short rubric that allowed students to gauge their reading into the four components by indicating with a mark or happy face: "GREAT" or "Good" or "I need practice". (formative assessment).
5 - Sometimes, students indicated more than one area they wanted to improve and so I assisted them in choosing ONE area that we can work on during independent reading and small group time.
The students enjoyed this conversation as did I. My next step is to have them read the same book again, after practicing the skill they want. I'd like to combine the two readings into one digital file so they can see/hear their progress. Then, I hope to move onto another book of their choosing where they can read and compare their growth for the end of the school year.
For this exercise I used: