Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities
is a “hot-off-the-press” report issued by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Science (Connor, Alberto, Compton, and O’Connor, 2014). The report reviews the findings from the first eight years of IES-funded research that focused on ways to prevent and remediate reading difficulties. One key finding was that helping students become fluent readers may increase a student’s comprehension. Are your students fluent readers? Do they read at a good pace? With intonation? Using punctuation? With a smooth rhythm? The PowerUp WHAT WORKS
website presents two, short videos that define fluency and present multiple ways to help students, including using technology tools.
The report emphasizes the value of one particular fluency intervention—repeated reading of text. Repeated reading
is having students read a text more than once, so that each time they can improve their accuracy, speed, and expression. With each successive reading, students are becoming more automatic readers, increasing their ability to focus on comprehension.
IES advises teachers to provide students with opportunities to practice since it was found that “reading a range of texts can generally improve students’ fluency and comprehension.” (IES, 2014).
You can get started by selecting short texts (50-500 words) at a student’s instructional level. Have the student read aloud for 15 minutes, rereading until expression improves and the student becomes more accurate. Collect formative data (e.g. monitoring miscues and inattention to punctuation) to inform differentiated instructional planning. Technology tools with audio and video recording and digital texts with embedded supports can support students struggling to achieve the CCSS.
Mr. Lam, the 2nd grade teacher in an online case study
within the PowerUp website, has students read a story three times and then discuss how it helped them to improve their comprehension. He models instruction by repeatedly reading the short table aloud. Technology plays a meaningful role in this classroom. For this sample lesson, he integrates PowerPoint slide shows to model and guide practice. He introduces online work logs to monitor readings; displays digital resources and student work on his interactive whiteboard; and provides access to microphones and headsets so students can to record and play back the recordings of their rereading.
If you are looking for ready-to-use evidence-based strategies to improve fluency among your students, visit the PowerUpWHAT WORKS
website and go directly to the Fluency Instructional Strategy Guide
. You’ll find an overview of fluency and slide show, a list of the relevant CCSS, evidence-based teaching strategies to differentiate instruction using technology, more case studies, short videos, and links to resources that will help you use technology to support fluency instruction. If you are responsible for professional development, then check out the PD Support Materials
for helpful ideas and materials.