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Friday, November 6, 2015

Reading Rockets Newsletter: November 2015


November 2015 Newsletter

In Focus | Books & Authors | Ideas for Parents & Teachers | Research & News

In Focus: Fluency

Reading fluency — a child's ability to read a text correctly, quickly, and with expression — is the all-important bridge between decoding words and understanding what has been read. Watch our PBS show, Fluent Reading, check out the teaching tips and strategies below, then browse our complete library of fluency resources.

Fluency Instruction for Older Kids, Really?

Are 5th graders too old for fluency instruction? Absolutely not, says literacy expert Tim Shanahan. Research studies as well as his own experience with Chicago schools clearly show that oral reading practice has a positive impact on silent reading comprehension. "We want students to practice making the text sound meaningful," says Shanahan.



Performance Reading

With performance reading, or fluent oral reading, students join in the repeated reading of a book with memorable phrases or sound effects and added gestures. Older students can collaborate on how to read passages with expression for an audience. Learn how to integrate performance reading activities into your classroom to engage your students and strengthen reading comprehension.



Developing Fluent Readers

What should fluency instruction look like? And, what can teachers do to help students whose fluency is far behind their peers? 



WCPM: The Canary in the Coal Mine

Teachers can and should use words-correct-per-minute (WCPM) as their first indicator that all may not be well with their students' reading ability. Learn the basics about fluency (what is it and how do I assess it?) in this overview from fluency expert Jan Hasbrouck.

Screening, Diagnosing, and Progress Monitoring for Fluency: The Details



"I Hate Reading!"

"Reading through this book takes so much of my energy, I can't even think about what it means."
With our Target the Problem interactive tool, find out how you can help your child become a more fluent reader – critical for supporting their reading comprehension. A fluent reader is usually a more motivated reader, too, ready to dive into new books.


Children's Books & Authors

Between Earth and Sky:
Our Interview with Joseph Bruchac

For more than 30 years, Joseph Bruchac has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies, and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. Keepers of the Earth and other books in his best-selling "Keepers" series beautifully integrate folklore and information about the natural world.


New Booklist: Follow That Map!

A dozen picture books to help young readers learn about, geography, measuring and scale, longitude and latitude, the points of a compass, and how to explore their neighborhood, town, and the world through maps. Want to learn more about maps? Browse the resources for Geography Awareness Week (Nov 15-21) at National Geographic. This year's theme: Explore! The Power of Maps.


Hidden Lives of Wolves: An Interview with Jim and Jamie Dutcher

This new children's book from filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher, A Friend for Lakota, gives children a fascinating look at the real lives of wolves through the relationship of two cubs, Lakota and Matsi. The Dutchers spent six years with the pack in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains, observing filming, and learning about these ecologically important animals.



Ideas for Parents & Teachers

For Parents

Fluency Matters

Reading fluency is a child's ability to read a book or other text correctly, quickly, and with expression. It's the all-important bridge between just "decoding" words and understanding what you've read. Find out how you can help your child develop reading fluency through a few simple and fun activities. (In English and Spanish)


For Teachers

Fluency Strategy: Paired (or Partner) Reading

Reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students helps build students' fluency, self-confidence, and motivation. It also gives kids a chance to practice oral reading with proper expression and phrasing. There are lots of ways to pair kids up — learn how!

More fluency strategies >


For Parents

Children and Digital Media: Rethinking Parent Roles

Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, and even our youngest children interact with technology on a daily basis. Find out what you as a parent can be doing to help your young learner navigate the digital world — you may need to reconsider how you connect with your child during technology use. (In English and Spanish)


For Teachers

Nonfiction Read-Alouds

A teacher shares his experience bringing nonfiction read-alouds into his classroom, with tips on selecting quality books (and keeping a log), exposing kids to different text types, talking about vocabulary, and providing time to reflect, wonder, and question. You'll also learn about his Reading and Analyzing Nonfiction Strategy (R.A.N.), a variation of K-W-L.


For Parents

DIY Science Camp: Weather Report!

Uncover some great fiction and nonfiction books about rain, wind, and big storms; tornado poetry (and other writing prompts); kid-friendly weather apps; and a set of easy hands-on activities. Keep a weather diary, cook up some kitchen snowflakes, explore the wind, create your own magical rainstick, and more.


For Teachers

Map Making

Kids often have difficulty understanding abstract map symbols. Learn how to introduce map skills with literature that contextualizes mapping in a narrative, can be related to where in the world each student lives, and engages students by actively "doing geography."


Research & News

New report from scholastic shows school libraries work
School Library Journal  |  November 5, 2015

For reading, knowledge matters more than strategies, some experts say
Education Week  |  October 29, 2015

Why kids still need 'real books' to read — and time in school to enjoy them
The Washington Post  |  October 17, 2015

Parents and teachers meet the 'Wild West' when they try to find quality education technology
The Hechinger Report  | October 22, 2015

Are you committing readicide?
Education Week  |  October 14, 2015

California students with dyslexia gain ground with new law
Ed Source  |  October 25, 2015

"A story is a burden which must be carried with as much care as we carry a sleeping child."

Joseph Bruchac


About Reading Rockets

Reading Rockets is a national educational service of WETA, the flagship public television and radio station in the nation's capital. The goal of the project is to provide information on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. Learn about easy ways you can link to us to let others know about the many free resources available from Reading Rockets.

Send your questions, comments, or suggestions to readingrockets@weta.org. Our mailing address is WETA/Reading Rockets, 2775 S. Quincy St., Arlington, VA 22206. We look forward to hearing from you!

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