literacy

Using Tech Tools to Build Fluency

Fluency and comprehension go hand in hand.

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Students who have the ability to read fluently are more likely to comprehend due to the diminished need to labor and decode each word.  In order for students to achieve reading fluency, they must read, and read a lot. So how can we get our students to read?

These four steps, implemented along with technology tools, can foster motivation and build literacy skills.

1. Model– Teachers must model fluent reading to students on a daily basis. For younger students, echo reading is beneficial. Allow students to repeat a short phrase after hearing the teacher read it. Simple recording tools on your classroom mobile device can  provide opportunities for echo reading. Using your tablet’s recording feature, simply record a passage for students to play and echo. Try a Digital Storytelling site such as Storybird. Write stories with your students and read them aloud. Invite a local author or storyteller to read to your class via a Skype session, or even invite older students to read to younger classes through Skype.

Vocaroo is an online voice recording tool that allows the user to record and share audio content via the web.

2. Practice– Allow students ample time to read and reread passages. Using recording tools such as Vocaroo, or Voki, students can record themselves reading a passage and play the audio back to determine errors and words read per minute. Voki allows students to choose an avatar and give it a voice through a simple recording feature. The participatory nature of blogging promotes both reading and writing practice. Students enjoy reading their peers’ posts and providing feedback. Kidblog is an ideal blogging platform for the classroom setting.

3. Help– Teachers must foster self-correction and self-questioning skills by constantly monitoring student reading. Listening to children read should be done in a small group setting, or ideally on a one to one basis. A classroom set of mobile devices allow students to send the teacher audio clips of short read alouds.

4. Motivation– Perhaps the most important component of reading instruction is motivation. Student motivation can be nurtured by allowing opportunities to read material of interest, and listen and read to others. Technology tools can tailor reading instruction to meet individual learning needs and create much needed motivation in the classroom.

  • Use the internet to find specific reading passages. ReadWorks.org is an ideal hub for high interest, leveled reading passages.
  • Use audio and video tools to enable students to read to others and hear themselves read. Voki, Vocaroo, Fotobabble, Blabberize, or Voicethread are easy to use multimedia platforms that can enhance reading instruction.
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