Another way to practice fluency!

Students from Mrs. Adam’s class using Book Creator.

This year at Byrd all second graders have learned how to practice reading fluency using the iPads.  Each class learned this skill using a different app.  Mrs. Swift’s class learned to create recordings using iMovie.  Mrs. Nixon’s class learned to use a voice recording app, and finally Mrs. Adam’s class recently learned to use Book Creator.


iMovie allowed students to take a picture of their fluency passage, and record over top of the picture.  It took about three lessons that were forty-five minutes each until the students could use the app independently.  It was difficult for some students to match the length of the picture with the length of the recording.  Also, we could not turn off the Ken-Burns effect.


Mrs. Nixon’s class used a voice recording app.  They could easily capture their voice time and time again, however, with these types of apps they could not capture an image of their book or passage.  It took the students two lessons that were forty-five minutes each to use the software independently.  There are numerous free voice recording apps out there.  Here is a link to one example, Quick Voice Recorder.


Mrs. Adam’s class learned to use Book Creator to capture fluency practice.  The students learned how to use the app in one, hour-long lesson.  This has been my favorite method by far!  The students have created a fluency book. Using this app students can capture a picture of their reading passage.  Then they can add a recording of the passage.  Finally, we assigned the students a reading skill to illustrate with the drawing tools.  We had students illustrate the main idea of the passage, but we could have used just about any reading skill!  I love Book Creator allowed the students to have a multi-sensory experience with reading.  They were seeing the text, hearing themselves read, and drawing to deepen comprehension.


Have you used any other tools in your class to help students practice reading fluency?

iPads at RES

4th graders at RES love to use iPads for reading fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary!  Thanks for the great pictures, Beth Ferguson (check out her blog for great articles about parenting students in the upper elementary grades)!!

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Kindergarteners in Mrs. Alvis’s class were busy today practicing how to wake up the iPads, “swipe” the screen (their term), find and activate different apps, and how to exit an app. They also learned how to use three new apps that they can use during center time. They were having fun while hard at work!


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Technology Abounds at RES!

Walk the halls of RES, and you will be reminded instantly of how the teachers are advocating for students to learn 21st century skills!  All in one day you will see technology used at every level from kindergarten through fifth!


Yesterday, students with Ms. Taylor were using Edmodo and posting fluency practice.  They used the site MP3 Record to record the reading of a leveled passage, which was differentiated for each student.  I loved seeing how excited the kids were to improve their time with each recording.  They wanted to keep reading to improve their times and reading expression.  These kind students posted encouraging words to each other about how wonderful their reading sounds.  Her students also used Educreations to practice writing and reading social studies vocabulary.  They used the record feature to share the meaning of each vocabulary word.  Students were illustrating the vocabulary using the app as well!


4th grade students in Mrs. Hadd’s class used Educreations to practice story retellings.  They used an image of a retelling bookmark to guide their own retellings, as they recorded using the app.


4th grade students also worked with partners to complete a Jamestown WebQuest.  Ms. Sprouse spent her lunch time working with students (even working on the floor :) ) to help make the activity a success!


3rd graders in Ms. Goodings class practiced using assessment tools using Interactive Achievement.  They are a fantastic group of listeners and students!


Kindergarteners in Mrs. Tysinger’s class practiced digital skills on the iPads.  They were reading e-books and spelling CVC pattern words in the books they were reading.  Students learned to drag the appropriate letters into the correct order to fill boxes and spell words found in the ebooks.


I had constructive planning sessions with  the 1st grade team, the art teacher (Ms. Edmonds), the music teacher (Mr. Snead), and the school counselor (Mrs. Zorger).  They are all planning exciting projects using digital tools.  Their students will have various opportunities to integrate 21st century skills across all curriculum areas!


The staff at RES is incredibly hard working and inspiring (both to other colleagues and students) each day!  It is a great place to be :) .

Good-bye, Round Robin. Hello Nutty Professor!

Last week, you received an email about a new strategy called…

Fluency Game

The Nutty Professor will:

  • Develop students’ reading fluency
  • Build student paraphrasing and summarization skills
  • Help students go deeper by questioning

Steps to the game.

“This strategy will work with any genre but offers amazing potential for helping students bring content area reading to life!” If you would like for your class to experience “The Nutty Professor Game,” please contact me.  All I will need from you is a time to visit your class and a universal reading passage for whole group practice.   (Yes, chapter books are applicable as well!)

Source:  Literacy-Builders

Now Offering Embedded Staff Development!!!

GIST is now offering Embedded Staff Development to all teachers at GES and RES!  Simply contact me with your classroom need and we can schedule a time for a modeled lesson, a series of collaborative lessons or interactive planning for instructional ideas.

Next week’s visits include:

  • Teaching Grammar- proper nouns and capitalization
  • Punctuation Station- review punctuation and sentence structure

Punctuation Interactive Notepage

  • Introducing Fluency
  • “Reading Toolbox” Strategies- What do Angry Birds and reading have in common???

  • Writing Workshop- combining POWER Writing & 4 Square

  • Assistance in planning the Language Arts Block and lesson ideas
  • Brain Breaks and Transitions- preventing classroom disruptions

Do any of these appeal to your specific classroom?  Have other ideas?   If so, email me to set up a lesson or time to plan.   I look forward to working with you.  

Don’t forget– The GIST window opens September 16th.

Forms can be located on the GIST Bulletin Board or here.

“Request early, request often!”  

Introducing the GCPS Revised Balanced Literacy Plan

The long-awaited Balanced Literacy Plan has arrived!  After months of revisions, discussions, and research, the BLP will be presented to elementary staff this week by Kimberly Warburton.

In addition to your binders, the streamlined, online version of the plan can be found under the GCPS Elementary Curriculum Site:  Literary Resources

Other valuable resources are available on the site as well.   You can locate fluency cards, Margaret Dickerson’s fluency chart, lesson plan templates and the IRL Guide.

Some suggestions include having fun with fluency in the classroom.

Dr. Jean’s Fluency Cards include interactive and humorous ideas to promote fluency in the classroom.

Fluency Cards Option 2 can be located here.

This beneficial activity was huge hit with 3rd Graders last school year.

Please let me know if GIST can be of service to you in your planning or implementing of strategies and skills!  

I-Pod and Fluency Success

I used the iPod with my 2nd grader ESOL this past semester as a tool to increase fluency in reading. Kathy Shirley serves as the inspiration and pioneer in the use of iPods to improve fluency with ESOL students. You can research her work with ESOL students and iPods as technology director for the Escondido Union School District near San Diego.

My two 2nd grade students recorded fluency  passages from Reading A-Z. They also used this iTouch Fluency Station checklist to track their progress. Students self-assess their reading rate, expression, and correctness in pronunciation with this checklist. They return to the passage a few days later and see if they improve. The highest score they can obtain is a total of “6″ (scale of 0-6).

I just received the end of the year PALS assessment for my two struggling ESOL readers (grade 2). Their PALS history is the following:

Student #1:started out the year with Preprimer accuracy of 88% (his reading level). He rated frustration level at Primer with an accuracy of 75%.

Midyear, his scores reached Primer with 98% accuracy. He rated frustration level at First Grade with an accuracy of 82%.

The four months prior to end of the year (January-April), I implemented the iPod fluency activity. Within these four short months, this same student went from a Primer reader to Second Grade reader with an accuracy of 93% Second Grade.

Student #2: Started out the year with Primer accuracy of 94% (her reading level).

Midyear, her scores reached First Grade with 96% accuracy.

The four months prior to end of the year (January-April), I implemented the iPod fluency activity. Within these four short months, this student went from a First grade reader to Second Grade reader with an accuracy of 92% Second Grade.

It seems to me that the iPod activity has been successful with these students in increasing their reading fluency….