Friday, February 25, 2011

Fluency Idea

This week in Room 19 we began a new take-home activity, "The Great Poetry Race", to improve our reading fluency. The kiddos love it. This is not my original idea, but rather an idea that was in the April 2009 issue of Reading Teacher. I found out about it from a post on "The Second Grade Teacher's Club" and adapted the materials to meet my needs. Thank you Jennifer L. and everyone else who posted about this great activity!

So here's how it works: I began by reading a fun poem to my class at the beginning of the week and explaining the concept. I read them some of the parent letter too - my class loves knowing what parent letters say before their parents do! The goal is for students to read the poem to as many adults as possible throughout the week.

At the end of the week, the student with the most signatures is the winner of the race. Every student with 20 or more signatures is a "top finisher" and recieves a sticker for their sticker chart. When the chart is full they will get a small prize (I ordered matchbox cars, racing sillybandz, and racing pencils from Oriental Trading), but my favorite prize is a coupon to read their weekly poem to me, the secretary, or the principal for a signature. The first place finisher each week will get a prize right away as well as a chance to read the poem for the class and record it for a listening center.

My class is EATING THIS UP!  I had many read the poem to 20 adults this week and my top finisher had 25 signatures! That is with a snow day on Monday, so they didn't get started until Tuesday night. Any improvement in their fluency is a bonus at this point, because they are truly enjoying reading and sharing their poem with anyone who will listen. It's wonderful!

Check out the link below to download the materials I adapted and created to get started (parent letter, recording sheet, sticker chart, coupon, and leaderboard). Just a couple of hints: I plan on laminating the leaderboard and using a Vis-a-Vis marker to change out the names each week. Also, it works great to print the recording sheet back-to-back with the weekly poem.

The Great Poetry Race Packet

Let me know if you try "The Great Poetry Race" in your classroom. I want to know if you have any ideas to make it even better! Just google if you want to find out more or are looking for poems to use - there is a wealth of information about this idea on the internet. : )


Kinderglynn said...

I love this. I am having a hard time getting my little ones to study their sight words and sentences. I could do something like this for that. Thank you so much for your creativity!!

Laura said...

Donna -

Someone on the Second Grade Teacher's Club mentioned using "sight word poems" as the poetry for this activity.

She recommended this book:

I haven't checked it out, but plan on it.

Let me know how it goes with the kinders! :)


Teacher Gone Digital said...

Thank you for sharing this. We are over 1/2 way through our year and I was just thinking I still have a few kids reading 60-70 wpm and need to get them reading 90-100 wpm by the end of the year...this activity is perfect! Kids are a little tired of taking home copies of the fluency stories in our reading series. This will jazz up their at-home fluency practice quite a bit! I'm excited to get started!
Teacher Gone Digital

Kathy said...

I love this idea.

Kimberly said...

Great idea! I'm going to try this with my class in a few weeks. Thanks for sharing.


Mrs. Magee said...

I do the Great Poetry Race with my first graders. I give out little plastic trophies that I attach a label to with the winner's name and the week they won each week to the student with the most signatures. At the end of the year, the students with the highest total for the year will receive a real trophy. :) I have some that are very motivated by this. Others...not so much. At the beginning of the year I had high participation and now I only have a handful of kids who actually participate. The kids who got into it really got into it. One week a student had 65 signatures!

Melissa said...

After reading your blog I used your forms (made a few small changes) and started it this week with my kids. They've been very excited and have even been praciticing their story (instead of a poem)at stations. I'm timing them on Mondays and Fridays and letting them graph their words per minute. I'm sure they all have improved by Friday. Thanks for sharing!
F is For First Grade

Melissa said...

I just posted my forms- I totally used yours and just changed a few words here and there. I hope you don't mind! Thanks again for sharing this idea, I'd never heard of it. So glad I found your blog!
F is For First Grade

csturch said...

I just found your blog and I am super excited about this fluency activity! I can adapt this easily for my first graders and I am moving up to 2nd grade next year and I can't wait to implement this program!

I have just created a blog about integrating technology into the K-12 classroom. I would love to be able to give back to my fellow bloggers (since I borrow so often!).

Feel free to check it out. I hope there is something there that might be of use for you!

Mrs. Proper said...

I love this idea! Especially for the beginning of the year! Thanks for sharing!!

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