Building Fluency Using the Ideas of Dr. Tim Rasinski: What our project looks like by Dr. Sam Bommarito
A couple of weeks ago we had a very exciting visitor. Here is a tweet about that:
This year I spend one full day a week doing push-ins. Two of those push-ins are with third-grade teachers. I’m helping them to implement a writing workshop program. I do some individual tutoring for students. Both are topics for another day. What I want to now talk about are the push-ins I do into two first grade rooms and two-second grade rooms. Those push-ins last about 50 minutes each. Last week I wrote about Tim’s visit a couple of years back where he told the story of a 1st-grade teacher who made some amazing progress with her students using repeated reading. Tim had a large body of research to back up the idea that repeated readings can have a very positive effect on reading. Let’s talk now about what this particular iteration of this general practice looks like.
In a nutshell here is what the team has arranged. Once every two weeks, the students get to pick a poem/song/other short reading to rehearse. The poems are rich in the sounds their basal is stressing for that period. The students mainly work in pairs. Groups of three are formed only when the alternative is to have a student work on their own. Students showing stronger reading skills are paired with students showing somewhat weaker reading skills. Students practice their poems 5-7 minutes daily. If both students in the pair pick the same poem, each student takes a turn reading the poem, otherwise, each student reads their own poem. The pairing has proved especially useful. Both partners benefit. We’ve noticed that after a few weeks, children are no longer reading like a robot. This link to a song from Go Noodle will help the reader understand what I mean by “robot reading” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWyX3VpzZmI . Our children are already reading more like storytellers. We are using the rubric from Dr. Rasinski’s Megabook of Fluency to help document that. Details about that will come in future blogs.
The whole idea of this arrangement is that the students know they are “rehearsing” for a performance. In this case every two weeks they record their poem on See-Saw. Parents have access to the recording that their child makes. One of the unanticipated consequences of the program so far has been the parent’s reaction to hearing their child read. It has been overwhelmingly positive. They too seem to notice the difference reading with prosody makes.
We are drawing on the ideas of two of Rasinski’s books to guide the team in the implementation of the project. Here they are:
As the weeks go on, I will address the issues of what the underlying theories are about, what we are doing, and what the research says about those theories. We’ll discuss how these methods fit into the big picture of the overall literacy program being used at the school. I’ll also talk about what the initial prosody instruction looks like. But for now, I hope you’ve gotten enough of an introduction to get a good sense of what we are up to. I want to especially thank the team for their participation in the program. As you will find out, they’ve pretty well taken over the implementation of the project and have added a new element I hadn’t thought of. To find out what that is you’ll need to follow the blog over the next few weeks. In the meantime:
Happy Reading and Writing
Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka the team facilitator)
Copyright 2019 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.
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