Using Poetry to Improve Fluency
Fluency is such an important skill for emerging readers. It is important to improve fluency in all students as they become better readers. I use a fluency program in my classroom that involves a poem of the week. However, a formal program is not necessary to create a fluency lesson three times a week. There are many great poetry reproducible books. The Teacher Store on Scholastic.com has a bunch of great ones.
I pick a poem every week to work on as a class. The first day I read the poem aloud modeling different ways to read it and demonstrating fluency in terms of expression and pacing. The students make observations on the poem and comment on how to read it fluently. Some students read the poem or parts of the poem aloud for the class.
The second day I break the students into groups and they practice reading the poem together. They make sure they all read with fluency and practice. I usually send the poem home on this day for extra practice.
The third, and last day, the groups present their poem. All the groups read the poem for each other. By this time the students are much more comfortable with the poem and can read it fluently. The students know that they are supposed to always read the words, even if they think they have the poem memorized.
I find that this weekly routine improves students’ fluency in all reading. It also makes them aware that fluency is even something to consider when reading. I have also tried Reader’s Theater with the students.