“The fluent reader sounds good, is easy to listen to, and reads with enough expression to help the listener understand and enjoy the material.”
– Charles Clark, “Building Fluency: Do It Right and Do It Well!” (1999)
In today’s world, reading is at the heart of everything. Whether it’s science, math, or social studies, being able to fluently navigate a book is critical to student success.
That’s why I’m so excited to share what’s going on at Bursley and Sandy Hill Elementary Schools within Jenison Public Schools.
To help sixth graders get “hooked” on great books, teachers at Bursley are implementing techniques from Harvey & Goudvis’ Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding.
This month, all sixth-grade teachers are reading Pictures of Hollis Woods, a realistic fiction book to their classes while modeling strategies that enhance reading, fluency, and comprehension.
Some of these techniques include:
- drawing pictures
- making connections
- formulating questions while reading, and
After learning the comprehension strategies in a whole group setting, students must find their own book at their ability level, and then compare and contrast that book with the one they are hearing read in class. Armed with new skills, students are able to make fresh connections and offer valuable insights while reading something they love. We’re encouraged by the growth we see happening!
Sixth-graders at Sandy Hill are also working hard on comprehension skills such as recognizing root words and understanding prefixes and suffixes as part of the FUSION program. The FUSION program is a ground-breaking approach to reading intervention that was designed by the University of Kansas, and is expected to be published nationally due to its success.
FUSION uses compelling literature to grab the attention of the reader. Examples of books used in this 6th-9th program include:
- Freak The Mighty
- Parvana’s Journey
- So B. It
- Coach Carter (high school)
- Out of the Dust (high school; also connects to US history)