As school is about to being, so many tasks must be completed. Not only does my room need to be ready, but my lesson plans as well. How will I capture my students and help them to feel safe in the space they will be in for the year? I think I have some ideas now.
One of the books I was looking through recently was The Megabook of Fluency by Tim V. Rasinski and Melissa Chessman Smith which was published by Scholastic. Fluency is a struggle for my students, even in 8th grade. Many of them think fast reading is fluent reading. One of the things I really liked about the fluency presented in this book is that it addresses so many different facets of fluency. For example, it not only works on helping students to read with automaticity but also has activities that help students see expression as a critical part of fluency. Expression is missing in so many of my students reading.
In addition to looking at several facets of fluency, it also discusses the “why” of fluency. Why do we need to help students with fluency? Why is important to the student? However, it doesn’t just leave it there. The book is chock full of activities to help students develop fluency in a well-rounded approach. I also like that these are not the stereotypical activities. It is going to get kids thinking, interacting and, hopefully, laughing some. I do see these as some great beginning of the year icebreaker activities. One activity I am excited to do with my students is the “Total Tonality” activity. It gives the students a phrase to say out loud, then gives 5 different scenarios in which they have to say how they think it would sound in each one of those. One of the phrases is, “I can’t keep my eyes open!” After hearing the phrase, students are then given different scenarios and they have to think how they would say it if they were falling asleep after a long day, or not wanting to look at something scary, etc. This is just one of the many interactive activities in the book.
I am always a little hesitant when I see things about fluency. So much, and without trying to, the emphasis is placed on automaticity. So, students begin to think if they are reading fast, they are reading well. This books truly has the emphasis on things that create well-rounded fluency that will ultimately help students become more fluent! It is certainly something I will be using at the beginning of the year and throughout the rest of the year as well. Check it out!