#SEACCR Week 5: Research Themes

The focus of my research project is the use of the iTalk app to increase elementary student’s reading fluency. The themes in my research were the importance of reading fluency, the connection of fluency and comprehension and the importance of teaching and assessing fluency.

Many of the articles I read while researching my topic discussed the importance of teaching reading fluency. According to Oakley (2003), it is important to teach reading fluency because many students don’t just “pick it up”. Fluency is a skill that needs to be taught. Students need to learn that being fluent doesn’t mean speed reading, rather that there is a natural flow and expression to reading text. As stated by Rasinski (2004), “Reading fluency refers to the reader’s ability to develop control over surface-level text processing so that he or she can focus on understanding the deeper levels of meaning embedded in the text” (p.46).

Another theme in my research was the connection between reading fluency and comprehension. Rasinski writes, “I recently worked with a group of colleagues from Kent State University to examine the fluency of high school students in an urban setting. We found that variations in the reading fluency of these students accounted for approximately 30 percent of the variance in their performance on Ohio’s High School Graduation Test” (p. 51). Fluency is an issue that goes well beyond elementary school years.

These themes will help reinforce the importance of the teaching strategies in my research. One strategy often used to teach fluency is repeated readings, students using iTalk to read a passage is one way to use this strategy in class. Another strategy to teach fluency is teaching self-monitoring. Allowing students to listen to their reading recordings on iTalk will allow them to self-monitor their reading. In the YouTube video, Oral Reading Fluency Self Assessment, students use iTalk to record themselves and listen to their reading. The teacher in the video has the students record their reading and use a rubric to rate themselves while listening to their recording. The following day students listen to a partner’s recording and they use the rubric to score their partner’s reading. The students are given time to discuss what they think they need to work on and why and what they did well and why.

References:

Goodwin, W. (2011, March 30). Oral reading fluency self assessment. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOxUqBn8zx4

Oakley, G. (2003). Improving oral reading fluency (and comprehension) through the creation of talking books. Reading Online, 6(7), n7. Retrieved from http://www.readingonline.org/articles/Oakley/

Rasinski, T. (2004). Creating fluent readers. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 46-51. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/mar04/vol61/num06/Creating-Fluent-Readers.aspx

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4 thoughts on “#SEACCR Week 5: Research Themes

  1. Ali,
    Using iTalk to teach fluency through self recordings is a wonderful idea. You need to model this with the kids, have them rate your own example (both a good example that should get a good rating and one that doesn’t demonstrate fluency very well). They need to be able to hear both versions. Rating themselves is hard enough, it could be very detrimental to some kids to be rated by their peers. This will have to be closely guided. Some kids can be cruel and might just have it out for another kid. It could be so beneficial to have kids giving each other feedback, but it has to feel safe for those kids who are putting their own work out there. Kids who aren’t as fluent are going to really feel bad about their own reading when comparing themselves to these other kids who are fluent. It’s a touchy one, that has to be delicately approached. I would love to hear how you approach this.

  2. Reading fluency effects kids in all areas of education. I see it in my high school mathematics classroom. Kids with strong reading fluency skills have a significant advantage over other students. When they are having difficulty with a particular topic, I immediately ask them what their textbook says. Some of them have difficulty gleaning the information they need. For this reason, I am pleased that the Common Core stresses reading skills from non-fictional sources. I believe it is important for students to be proficient in learning factual information from technical writings. I also believe kids should be able to read just for pure enjoyment. All of this begins in elementary school which is one of the reasons I hold elementary school teachers is such high regard. The things you do with kids are amazing. The use of iTalk to help kids increase their competency is a fantastic way to use technology in your classroom. It allows kids to learn by seeing, speaking, and hearing which addresses multiple intelligences. I have no doubt that they will benefit from your lessons, even when they make it a high school math class!

  3. Fluency is definitely a key component to reading and comprehension. Great job on narrowing your research and choosing something practical and yet specific. I used to have students read, re-read, and listen to themselves then re-read again! It sounds like this app may assist in that process. This ties neatly into daily 5 (reading to self, reading outloud, listening, etc.).

  4. Ali,
    Several resources, including videos is great. It’s especially great to find resources that are pertinent to the application you want to use in the way you want to use it. What benefits do you see this application having for others in the cohort?

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