Day Two of the When Readers Struggle Institute

by Cindy Downend

We started out day two of the institute with Eva Konstantellou and Kathy Ha talking with us about the role of fluency in supporting readers who struggle.  Here are some quick thoughts to share from the session in case you were unable to join us.

What gets in the way of fluency? 

  • Habituation of slow, staccato, word-by-word reading
  • Making children think that reading has only to do with letters, sounds, and words
  • Interrupting the reading (too much) with our teaching
  • Encouraging children to problem solve out loud (may interfere with reading for thinking)
  • Do we have different expectations for struggling readers?

Richard Allington says struggling readers are more likely:

  • To be reading too difficult text
  • To be asked to read aloud
  • To be interrupted too quickly
  • To wait for a teacher prompt
  • To be told to sound out a word
  • Not to be held accountable for fluent reading

The role of the teacher is critical!   Here are some quick ideas to think about in terms of teaching for fluent reading:

  • Teach with instructional level text
  • Provide a rich book introduction:
    • Attend to the whole meaning of the text
    • Introduce and have children practice complex or unfamiliar language structures
    • Help children understand how the structure of the text work
  • Teach explicitly for phrasing
  • Select texts that facilitate fluent reading
  • Read stories to the child, demonstrating fluent reading
  • Allow for massive practice on familiar texts

One thought on “Day Two of the When Readers Struggle Institute

  1. Thanks so much for publishing these wonderful snippets of wisdom from your When Readers Struggle workshops. I will save them as quick reminders of what to always remember when working with students who are still working through how to read when their classmates have reached some level of proficiency…


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