Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Secret? REAL Reading

By this time in 1st grade, we want our students to be reading independently with fluency and comprehension.  They should be able to select a book at their level and read. Really read. 

And the thing is, our students want to read more! 

Many of us stop their excitement of reading independently by requiring too many paper-pencil, coloring, sorting, and other activities that may work on isolated reading skills. But when these activities take more than 50% of their reading time, they are not getting enough REAL Reading.

I'm not opposed to these activities. Heck, I sell and use these activities with my own students during our May Do activity time. As the year progresses, however, I am mindful of how much of these activities I use, and I begin to provide more REAL Reading materials for them and monitor the time they are in each activity.

If we want our students to be reading independently with fluency and comprehension by the end of 1st grade, we need to remember the following:

By mid-year, 1st graders should be reading at least 50% of the time during their reading block. 

By the end of the year, they should be engaged in REAL Reading activities up to 75% of the time.

What is REAL Reading?

REAL Reading is reading text. It's as simple as that. It's not paper-pencil, it's not hands-on, it's not discussion during small group. It's REAL Reading. 
  • Independent Reading (when students are reading at a fluent pace; usually around 50 wpm or more in text at their level)
  • Partner Reading (at times when students must practice fluency, comprehension, accuracy; it is important to give clear expectations for this activity)
  • Guided Reading (teacher voice should be OFF the majority of the time while students are reading so they are doing the reading work, not echoing the teacher)
  • Whisper Reading (great for pre-reading during guided reading time; teacher monitors for accuracy and decoding) see The Wonders of Whisper Reading
  • Reading for Information
  • Readers Theater 
  • Reading Passages
  • Decodable Reading
  • Choral Reading
  • Phrase Reading see Fluency Phrases to Improve Reading Fluency
Research shows that the more students really read, the more they progress. Seems sort of common sense, but in order to get to that 50-75% of the time in REAL Reading, it takes mindful planning!

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