Poetry: A Fancy Fluency

Tools to promote reading skills in emergent readers!

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Background Information

Current teaching position: ELA II; Sophomores; On-level and PreAP

Certifications: ELA 8-10; Speech: soon to be GT also

We need to recognize the incredible potential nursery rhymes and poetry have on learning!

In K-4, things like nursery rhymes, songs, and other poetry can play a massive role in promoting basic reading stages such as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and even comprehension. To focus in on one though, fluency is improved, as research attests, through the employment of nursery rhymes, songs, and poetry.


This handout is intended to help teachers help students develop their fluency by offering simple, easy-to-use tips. They are all research-based. Some may seem obvious, but they are proven to work. Plus, there's a few gems that are new, and that show us that learning can not only be effective but fun, and probably more effective the more fun sometimes!


Picture: https://southfieldlibraryreads.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/national-poetry-month-2015/

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TEKS Taken from ELA K-4: §110.11-110.15 . English Language Arts and Reading

(5) Reading/Fluency. Students read grade-level text with fluency and comprehension. Students are expected to read aloud grade-level appropriate text with fluency (rate, accuracy, expression, appropriate phrasing) and comprehension.

(18) Writing/Literary Texts. Students write literary texts to express their ideas and feelings about real or imagined people, events, and ideas

(29) Listening and Speaking/Speaking. Students speak clearly and to the point, using the conventions of language. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to share information and ideas that focus on the topic under discussion, speaking clearly at an appropriate pace, using the conventions of language.

(30) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork. Students work productively with others in teams. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to follow agreed-upon rules for discussion, including listening to others, speaking when recognized, and making appropriate contributions.

Ten Research-based Tips: Using the Poetic Form for Fluency (and other literacy skills) In K-4

(Above Picture: http://www.atozkidsstuff.com/rhymes.html

Right Picture: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Write-Poetry/)


1. Give plenty of chances for students to hear reading


Basically what this means is that it's important for the student's fluency to hear how reading text sounds. Therefore, for this tip, you must be the teacher that does read alouds very often, plays audio recordings or videos of reading, and let's students read aloud. It's proven to work.


"Fluency requires opportunities for students to hear fluent, expressive, and meaningful reading from their teacher, parents, and their classmates" (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004, p. 136).

2. Let teacher and classmates be the fluency coaches


Normally, the teacher is the coach, traditionally speaking. But we have research that turns this on its head. Students make great coaches to other students. They speak the language. And with the teacher help also, it's a great combo for teaching fluency. Give them a chance to coach and learn from each other in think-pair-share activities and other partner reading chances.


"Fluency requires opportunities for students to be coached in fluent, expressive, and meaningful reading by their teacher and their classmates" (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004, p. 136).


3. Have a lot of critical discussion and performance time (for fluency practice)


What this means is that you have to give the students a chance to talk seriously and elaborately about what is being read, and to give them a chance to perform the text. These two activities give them an interaction with the text and fluency is affected because they learn how to feel about the text.


"Fluency requires opportunities for students to engage in meaningful and critical discussions of texts they read and meaningful performances of the texts they practice" (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004, p. 136)


4. Use Readers Theatre, timed reading, and partner reading


Simple but fun, Readers Theatre, timed reading, and partner reading are all activities the students need to develop their fluency skills. It's better than just reading all the time. Research supports it. This develops their reading. Give them a chance at these in your lesson plans.


"Readers theatre, timed reading, and partner reading...had a positive impact on...reading development" (Griffith & Rasinski, 2004, p. 136).


5. Use poetry in the class to develop fluency and all other skills


And here's when poetry makes the scene! Use poetry and use it often. Use for fun and joy, but also for fluency. Read it aloud and let the students. This goes in conjunction with other tips like numbers 1-10!


"The use of poetry in the classroom can help build student confidence and improve reading skills and attitudes" (Staudt, 2009, p. 11).


6. Meet one-on-one with students to read and work on reading skills like fluency


Nothing works better on fluency than a little one-on-one time. You need to conference with your students individually. You need to tell them what they are doing wrong and everything they are doing right. This will help them exponentially. Take the time. Even if it's two minutes.


"Find time to meet one-on-one with students and to encourage parents to read one-on-one with their children" (Staudt, 2009, p.11).


7. Use fun texts for fluency such as nursery rhymes and poetry


One issue with fluency has always been that the texts are boring. If you have sing song types texts like nursery rhymes and poetry, ones that are fun and funny and cute, your students will respond. And, there's just more to the text to add personality on top of. They will want to read it because it's fun, and reading just happens while the pay off is the reading!


"All students can benefit from fun texts and the intrinsic rewards that result from confident, fluent reading" (Staudt, 2009, p. 12).


8. Offer rewards such as stickers or Poetry Cafe for successes in fluency


There are texts that are fun, but even those can be made more fun with stickers, let alone the boring ones. Give the students a pay off that is tangible, a reward like stickers. It encourages them and they need that to learn. Poetry Cafe is another option. This makes a whole event, even taking all day, out of enjoying the poetry and celebrating their success with it. Get creative, make is a little coffee shop and have a mike. Let kids read from the mike, or you do. They love stickers and special times. You will love the outcome of learning.


"The extrinsic rewards, like the stickers and the promise of a Poetry Cafe, can serve as motivators in the classroom to continue to propel students to read fluently" (Staudt, 2009, p. 12)


9. Have students speak and sing poetry to help with the prosody of fluency


Prosody is part of fluency. Without it, kids sound awkward and just shy of fluent. But to fix this, use the strategy of singing poetry. Even clap your hands with it to show the prosody. Let them stomp their feet and clap their hands, and above all, sing as loud as they can, once you teach them the song. It's not a text to them, it's just a song. They have, many have, been singing since they were very small.


"A correct prosody involves a proper melodic contour, suitable for every type of sentence" (Álvarez-Cañizo, Suárez-Coalla, & Cuetos, 2015, p.7).


10. Use Nursery Rhymes for not just fluency, but personal writing stimulus


Your students need to be writing. Use the nursery rhymes you have for reading as mentor texts for writing. Help them write it if they are too young. Fluency is influenced along the way. The kids write their own story and then know how to speak it because they spoke it into existence. The creation involved in writing supports fluency of that writing first and foremost. Use nursery rhymes because you will have sung and clapped to them. It will transfer that learned fluency into new created text, then back again as a new nursery rhyme to sing.


"Nursery rhymes really can be a wonderful stimulus for personal writing" (Evans, 2000, p. 23)


*BONUS TIP: 11. Take advantage of technology! Record students reading nursery rhymes and poetry and show them themselves! Video self-monitoring is proven to help students with fluency, and is easy for teachers to learn to implement.


Get a camera and record those conferences you do. Then show it to the student and have another conference about it.


"VSM is an effective and feasible intervention in supporting the learning and development of behaviour and skills" (Robson, Blampied, & Walker, 2015, p. 56).



*BONUS TIP: 12. Set monthly fluency goals; increase difficulty


There is no progress where there is no measure so see it. That's the saying that goes with this tip. You must continue the progression of fluency by setting goals. Such as, something in prosody: saying the poem to the beat. Then add something more complicated: saying the poem with the beat and add the punctuation pauses to the rhythm.


"Monthly fluency measures using standardized testing could be used to monitor students' progress towards set goals...As the students increase their reading abilities and fluency rates...increasing the level of difficulty...could be changed" (Robson, Blampied, & Walker, 2015, p. 56).



References



Álvarez-Cañizo, M., Suárez-Coalla, P., & Cuetos, F. (2015). The Role of Reading Fluency in Children's Text Comprehension. Frontiers In Psychology, 1-8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01810


Evans, J. (2000). Young Writers and the Nursery Rhyme Genre. Reading, 34(1), 17–23. doi: 10.1111/1467-9345.00129


Griffith, L. W. and Rasinski, T. V. (2004), A Focus on Fluency: How One Teacher Incorporated Fluency With Her Reading Curriculum. The Reading Teacher, 58: 126–137. doi: 10.1598/RT.58.2.1


Robson, C., Blampied, N., & Walker, L. (2015). Effects of Feedforward Video Self-Modelling on Reading Fluency and Comprehension. Behaviour Change, 32(1), 46-58. doi:10.1017/bec.2014.29


Staudt, D. H. (2009), Intensive Word Study and Repeated Reading Improves Reading Skills for Two Students With Learning Disabilities. The Reading Teacher, 63: 142–151. doi: 10.1598/RT.63.2.5


Wilfong, L. G. (2008), Building Fluency, Word-Recognition Ability, and Confidence in Struggling Readers: The Poetry Academy. The Reading Teacher, 62: 4–13. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.1.1

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5 Parent Tips

(Above Picture: https://sites.google.com/site/k214staracademyps63/home/parent-resources)


1. Parents, read to your children. Everyday.


It really doesn't matter what you read them in a way. But here are a few suggestions: make it something they care about and find interesting. Also, have a set routine to ensure it actually happens everyday. Finally, use a variety of genres, not just fairy tales, but also poetry, nursery rhymes, and even books you let them pick out at the library or bookstore!


2. Parents, sing with your children. Nursery rhymes and all kinds.


Because of the nature of fluency, you should be letting them hear the beat, rhythm, and tone of songs. Plus, they should sing with you so that they get the practice of this kind of prosody. It will actually help with their reading skills. Not to mention, it's fun, and shows them that words are fun, which also helps reading later on.


3. Parents, write with your kids. Made up and real stories. Then read them back.


Your students eventually have to write, and you should help them. Again, make this a fun experience so that they can learn to enjoy writing. With your support, they will become strong writers early on in their schooling. Help them write the stories you create together, or that have happened to you. Then, have them read the stories. They can read it better because they created it and therefore know what happens. It's a great way to help learn to read before they know the words by heart.


4. Parents, let your kids see you reading your own things!


This one is more important than you may think. Children need to see those adults they care about and respect the most doing those things which should be cared about and respected the most, such as reading! Find something you like to read and read out in the open. You might even talk about what you're reading to your child, given that it is hopefully appropriate or not too far over their head.


5. Parents, communicate with your teachers so that you may help practice at home the learning target of literacy development in your child's classroom!


Avid and passionate parent involvement is the most effective tool and support a child can get. You see them the most. You love them and they love you. But just helping them at home isn't enough if it's misdirected. That's why it's absolutely vital for you to email and talk to your child's teachers as much as possible. They can give you more instructions about what to teach them at home. They can also inform you of how they are doing at school, so that the child can get on a pathway of success. It's takes some extra time, but communicating with teachers is the single most important thing you can do for your child's education and future, especially when it comes to literacy.


(Below Picture: http://www.dltk-kids.com/type/poetry.htm)

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Websites for Resources of All Kinds; Nursery Rhymes, Poetry, Lessons, Printables!

1. http://themes.atozteacherstuff.com/960/mother-goose-nursery-rhymes-activities-printables-lessons-and-teaching-ideas/

This is a website of the company “A to Z Teacher Stuff” and is loaded with a plethora of nursery rhymes activities, ideas for lessons, printables and so forth. For the purpose of actually teaching nursery rhymes, and teaching reading through their usage, this website is a nice one to know about so that you don't have to take a rhyme and dissect it for learning from scratch.

2. http://www.dltk-teach.com/rhymes/#Nursery%20Rhymes

DLTK is the company of this website. This one has some work with nursery rhymes as well. However, what this one adds is that it also includes other fun songs and fairy tales! Mainly, what I find useful here besides the extension of literature into other forms of poetry beyond nursery rhymes is twofold. First, it has great printables of many pieces. And two, to accompany many of the printables of the actual rhymes that look pretty, it also has tracer pages, so kids can practice writing the letters and words. Teaching that alongside fluency is advantageous.

3. https://www.k-3teacherresources.com/how-to/how-to-use-our-songs-poems-and-nursery-rhymes/

I like this website as a source because it includes up to third grade in activities. The company is actually called “K-3 Teacher Resources.” This helps direct the age parameters. Also here like many other sites, it's great to have nursery rhymes plus poems of all kinds, not to mention built in activities. A bonus here are the offered printable posters so that teachers can hang in their rooms and advertise the rhymes.


(Below Picture: https://www.chartmedia.co.uk/poster-nursery-rhymes )

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Bibliography of 3 Recent Practitioner Sources

Buckley, E. M. (2011). 360 degrees of text: Using poetry to teach close reading and powerful writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.


So much of poetry is applicable to all ages. This book is no exception. You find in this book tools for both teachers and students, as every has a journey through poetry. What this book does is strengthen the understanding of a few key activities to do with poetry in the classroom for teachers. For analyzing, as well as writing poetry, this book is a great source. One of my tips for learning above is to perform poetry. Well, this book gives lots of ideas for just that.


Hermsen, T. (2009). Poetry of place: Helping students write their worlds. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.


This excellent book is designed specifically for elementary aged kids, but middle school too. Again, this one is on writing poetry. But if you look at the tips above closely, you see that research suggests having students write some of this poetry in order to develop their reading skills. So there's some crossover with this activities, as such also this book. Ultimately this book shows teachers how to show students how to engage and love poetry.


Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The fluent reader: Oral & silent reading strategies for building fluency, word recognition & comprehension. New York, NY: Scholastic.


Now this book is the whole package and the real deal! Here we have the well known Rasinski breaking down just about every aspect of how to teach reading to young minds. There's a multitude of strategies for fluency, the focus of this handout primarily. He shows in this good read just how to implement oral reading in a balanced curriculum.

References



Álvarez-Cañizo, M., Suárez-Coalla, P., & Cuetos, F. (2015). The Role of Reading Fluency in Children's Text Comprehension. Frontiers In Psychology, 1-8. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01810


Buckley, E. M. (2011). 360 degrees of text: Using poetry to teach close reading and powerful writing. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.


DLTK's Educational ActivitiesChildren's Songs, Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://www.dltk-teach.com/rhymes/#Nursery Rhymes


Evans, J. (2000). Young Writers and the Nursery Rhyme Genre. Reading, 34(1), 17–23. doi: 10.1111/1467-9345.00129


Griffith, L. W. and Rasinski, T. V. (2004), A Focus on Fluency: How One Teacher Incorporated Fluency With Her Reading Curriculum. The Reading Teacher, 58: 126–137. doi: 10.1598/RT.58.2.1


Hermsen, T. (2009). Poetry of place: Helping students write their worlds. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.


How to use our songs, poems, and nursery rhymes, (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2016 from https://www.k-3teacherresources.com/how-to/how-to-use-our-songs-poems-and-nursery-rhymes/


Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes Activities, Printables, Lessons, and Teaching Ideas. (n.d.). Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://themes.atozteacherstuff.com/960/mother-goose-nursery-rhymes-activities-printables-lessons-and-teaching-ideas/


Rasinski, T. V. (2010). The fluent reader: Oral & silent reading strategies for building fluency, word recognition & comprehension. New York, NY: Scholastic.


Robson, C., Blampied, N., & Walker, L. (2015). Effects of Feedforward Video Self-Modelling on Reading Fluency and Comprehension. Behaviour Change, 32(1), 46-58. doi:10.1017/bec.2014.29


Staudt, D. H. (2009), Intensive Word Study and Repeated Reading Improves Reading Skills for Two Students With Learning Disabilities. The Reading Teacher, 63: 142–151. doi: 10.1598/RT.63.2.5


Wilfong, L. G. (2008), Building Fluency, Word-Recognition Ability, and Confidence in Struggling Readers: The Poetry Academy. The Reading Teacher, 62: 4–13. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.1.1