According to research students need to be fluency readers.  This aids in comprehension so that students are not trying to decode too many unknown words which would slow down and affect comprehension. 

It is funny.  I have always known of the importance of fluency in reading since I began teaching, but it seems like their is SUCH a big push for it now.  When I first began teaching nine years ago, I was told simply to model and encourage fluency reading.  Now our district assessment (DRA) has a fluency component noted and it is listed as part of our standards based report cards!

So...where do I go from here? 


Using Readers Theater to Improve student Fluency

(I did this several years ago and for some reason have not come back to it?? I have no idea why, since it worked pretty well?!?!!!?)


Great Poetry Race


Other Fluency Resources


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Great Poetry Race

I found this information a few days ago on Proteacher and I loved the idea!  This is based off an article in Reading Teacher by Sharon Pitcher.  here is the abstract for the article on ERIC.  The idea is a simple one, but effective.  I loved it because it takes what many of us already do in the classroom and "bumps it up a notch."

The idea of this program is that students are given a poem a week, usually on Fridays to read.  The teacher and class go over the poem together and practice fluency, and this would be a great time to tie in other skills.  The challenge comes in because students are asked to read the poem (fluently with prosody) to as many people as possible by the next Friday.  Each person they read the poem to is asked to sign the back of the poem.  The student with the most signatures "wins" for that week!  Simple, but I think VERY motivating for students.

For my spin on this excellent idea I am going to give students a pocket folder with three brads.  I am going to glue the parent letter to the cover of the  folder and laminate it (closed- then I will slit it so I can still use the brads on the inside). Each Friday I will introduce the poem and go over it with students.  Then they will put the poem in this folder so it because almost like an anthology of poetry by the end of the school year.  On the front of the paper will be the poem.  On the back of the page will be a signature sheet with an area for notes if needed.  On Fridays students will turn in their folders and I will check for signatures.  The student with the most  signatures will get to wear the great poetry race medal.

I ordered this medal from Oriental Trading Company and personalized the back with "Winner of this weeks Great Poetry Race."   Students will get to wear this for that Friday only (and not take it home!!).  It was $3.99 with shipping.  I also ordered these  1st Place ribbons  for the students to be able to take home and keep.  They are from the "Less than Perfect" section because they are off center so they may look awful!!! However they only cost  $1.49 for 12 so I didn't feel too bad.  Shipping and all cost  $15.49 and I used money I had sitting in my Pay Pal account, so no guilt since I never use this money (I usually forget I have it!)!

I cut and pasted and used MANY other teacher's wonderful resources to create the following documents.  PLEASE NOTE NONE OF THIS IS MY ORIGINAL WORK.  All credit goes to Mrs. Crowder, Ms. FullenKamp, and the Literacy Malden Wiki maintained by Margret Adams. I am sure there are others I have accidently missed as well.  If you notice someone else's original work, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.
Parent Letter
(most all of this is Mrs. Crowder's work)
This  will be glued to the front of the Great Poetry Race Folder.
Signature page

This will be copied on the back of every poem.  I am lucky- my school counts PAPER, not the actual amount of copies made! 


Here are the poems I have found all over the internet.  I have tried to give credit to the correct author when I could find it.   If you notice someone else's original work, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.  I have not found poems for the entire year, but for a good bit). I tried to tie the poem to what we would be covering at that time or by season.  This is noted in the parentheses next to the title.  We are starting to move toward a year round calendar with more week long breaks in it, so you may see a different number of weeks in each month than your area's calendar.

Week Poem Word PDF
4 All Things Fall (about Fall)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 Smart (about money)
2 Snap, Crackle, Pop (about Fall)
3 What is Pink? (Descriptive Writing)
4 Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (Halloween)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 How the Leaves Came Down (harder poem about Fall)
2 Thanksgiving at Plymouth (Thanksgiving)
3 The Turkey Shot Out of the Oven (Thanksgiving funny)
4 Encounter (loving a book)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 A Gingerbread Poem
2 It Fell in the City (Snow/ Inference)
3 Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney (funny)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 The Frosted Pane (Snow)
2 A Box of Crayons (tolerance)
3 Martin Luther King (MLK Day)
4 Melinda Made a Snowman (Snow)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 My Shadow (Groundhog day)
2 Love Is... (Valentine's Day)
3 I'm Staying Home from School Today (funny)

Week Poem Word PDF
1 Jessica Jean (funny)
2 The Aliens Have Landed (funny)
3 Saint Patrick and the Snakes (link to another website with printable poem)  

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Other Fluency Resources