Powerful Ways to Play
from Wanda Glasshoff, a third-grade teacher at Gretna Elementary School in Gretna, Nebraska:
Glasshoff promotes fluency through performance activities. During one week, students choose, practice, and perform poetry. The next week, they work with scripts. Students practice reading with meaning and expression in school and at home, coached by parents, teachers, and others.
Glasshoff ends the year with a six-week focus on Shakespeare. This past year her students learned and performed a 40-minute unabridged segment of Hamlet. In addition to practicing their performance of this classic, they spent time exploring the meaning of the play, as well as Shakespeare himself and the time in which he lived.
Glasshoff calls her fluency instruction a "painless way to teach. Kids don't feel like they're working. It's more like play to them." And indeed it is - but what a powerful way to play! Through her focus on meaningful and expressive reading, Glasshoff's students develop as confident readers who "learn to love poetry and drama."