How Parents Can Help With Reading Fluency

Imagine it is the beginning of the school year, you've just assessed all of your kindergarten kids and guess what, only a few know some of their letters.  Are you surprised?  Not me.  I teach at a Title 1 school, so only my students who are coming to me from our TK classroom or Headstart will have letter ID and even then they have been out of school for 12 weeks so they may have forgotten some. My job is to have them fluent in letter names, sounds, sight words,  CVC words and nonsense words by June, ummm- OK- sure.
How Parents Can Help With Reading Fluency: Get parents involved at home for just a few minutes a night supporting their children on the road to reading success.
So why is fluency so important? Fluency is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension.  Readers who have difficulty decoding words will have a much harder time comprehending the text.   They will be spending all of their time focusing on the decoding rather than understanding the meaning behind the words they are so desperately trying to read.

How does one become fluent? With practice- just as if you were learning a foreign language, you need to practice to become fluent.  Reading is no different.  Children need to practice reading and reading orally helps children to become fluent readers.  Having parents help at home in the process from the very beginning helps set the foundation to a successful educational journey.  If I can send my kids off to first grade reading fluently at grade level, then I know I've given them the skills they need to succeed as readers.  They won't be struggling with the decoding,  they will be focussing on the text and their parents will have helped in the process and hopefully will continue to help in the years to come.

Alright back to my first week of school and my kids who I've just assessed. So now what?  Where do I begin? I start at the beginning and I include the parents in the process.  Luckily for me our back-to-school night is usually the second week of school.  This gives me the opportunity to explain my expectations to the parents of how they will be helping their child at home and how it will only take a few minutes of their time each night. I start with the Letter Naming Fluency Homework.
Letter Naming Fluency Homework: improve your Dibels Scores
Here is how it works- as the child reads the letters the parent circles the letters read correctly, then they sign it at the bottom.  

This paper does two things 
1- it tells me if the parent is helping their child at home.
2- it is letting the parent know what their child needs help with. 

If the child know all of their letters but doesn't know all of their sounds- I send home the First Sound Fluency Homework it is the same format. 
First Sound Fluency Increase your Dibels scores
Once we've gone through our alphabet for letters and sounds, which is our first trimester we move onto sight words. However, depending on the class, I often start sight words sooner becasue they are ready for them.  Last year I had many students on sight words in the first trimester becasue they knew all the letters and sounds. Sight words is the same format.  

My parents are familiar with it and know what to do.   My students love it becasue it is easy for them.  In the beginning it starts out with the words we have already been learning since the first week of school- I, like, my...
sight word fluency:Increase you students reading fluency
By then end of the second trimester we are ready for C-V-C words.  If I still have some students who need sight word practice they might get both for homework. Being that it only takes a few minutes to do both half pages parents don't seem to mind.

Although some of these programs are listed as 25 or 36 week programs obviously  you couldn't do all programs end to end in a school year.  What I do is skip pages in between.  I might do page 7a,7b and 9c, 9d in a week just to give variety.  You can go as fast or as slow as you need to.  You can have students on different pages as needed as well.  Make it work for you!
C-V-C Word Fluency:increase your students reading fluency with nightly homework
Last in my series of nightly reading homework comes the Nonsense Fluency Homework.  My kids love these.  This really shows me if they have phonemic awareness or not. Can they really read cvc words without sounding and blending each letter? 
Nonsense Word Fluency: Increase your Dibels scores
Now some of you might be thinking well, my kids don't have people to help them with homework or their parents are just signing it.  Yes this happens and here is how I address this.  For the parents that just sign it or if I think they are just signing it.  I assess the kids.  Kids are honest and will tell you.  "My mom just signs it I don't actually read it"  #kidstellthetruth 

I call the parents and let them know that I can see they are working at home with their child each night and I really appreciate it.  Then I tell them, that when I am assessing their child at school it isn't transferring.  They aren't able to show what they know at home at school, and ask them to spend a few more minutes each night working with their child.  i offer a few more examples of how to work with their child.  Most parents are receptive and are willing to put in the time.  Of course they won't admit they haven't been working with their child. Some might say they didn't understand what to do, but the majority will step up.  

Now for those few who don't have someone.  I either pull them aside  a few times a week, get a volunteer or sometimes I have had another student in class be their peer buddy.  It only takes a minute, that is the beauty of it.

So, if you like what you see, you can grab all 5 of these in a big bundled value set in my TpT store.
Building Reading Fluency Bundle for Kindergarten: great for creating that home to school connection or use in class for RTI
Still not sure-  Sign up for my emails and receive a 3 week sample of the Letter Naming Fluency pack to try out with your classroom.

Need more proof, here are what a few teachers
who used these products have said.

Have questions- I'm just an email away.

1 comment

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