Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fluency is slowing me down

We've been focusing on increasing fluency for our students since October of 2006. After reading a couple articles and having some district resource teachers give us tips, I'm surprised at the still superficial level of understanding of what it means to teach students to improve their fluency.

We have reminded ourselves that reading faster is not the answer. In fact, reading for pure speed will surely get in the way of comprehension. I have done a poor job of explaining the benefits of fluency (accuracy, expression, and comprehension) and how best to teach so that students become more fluent readers, and therefore, able to comprehend increasingly more difficult texts in larger quantities.

This phenomenon has reminded me how difficult staff development can be. It is complex work to present a strong case for a particular approach, then provide good modeling, followed by coaching and feedback before mastery is eventually accomplished.

I am reminded that I need to embrace this role as a teacher and consider my students' individual needs as I plan future staff development endeavors. If nothing else, I'm more sympathetic to my teachers who must make these same considerations with their little 4-11 year old learners.

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