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Word Recognition Activities: Patterns and Strategies for Developing Fluency has over 150 classroom-tested, hands-on activities for teaching word recognition and fluency in kindergarten through fifth grade. This book is unique in that it takes a developmental view of fluency that brings together theory, research, and practice. My perspective is that fluency develops sequentially and predictably during the elementary school years, and is a consequence of good teaching, experiences in reading and writing, and the acquisition of new knowledge, skills, and strategies. Fluent readers use all the cues available to themgraphophonic, syntactic, and semantic. A book that represents only codecracking information and activities would fall woefully short of explaining fluency development. I have, therefore, extended beyond the traditional word recognition topics of phonemic awareness, phonics, and structural analysis, and included explanations and activities for teaching word meaning, rapid word recognition, and fluency in oral and silent reading. A DEVELOPMENTAL ORGANIZATION
The journey toward fluency begins in kindergarten as children read and write, and as they develop phonological awareness of rhymes, syllables, and sounds, learn letter names and sounds, and connect meaning with print. In the first chapter, future and practicing teachers learn about fluency, how children use context cues and sound-based cues to identify words, the stages of word fluency, and how children gradually move from one stage to the next. Chapter 2 describes teaching activities to develop phonological awareness of words, rhymes, and syllables; presents activities to develop phonemic awarenessof sounds in words and the ability to blend. As children enter into reading, they combine phonological awareness with the understanding that written words consist of letters and that letters represent sounds. Children generally develop this knowledge in kindergarten, so Chapter 3 explains how to teach letter names and sounds, and presents teaching activities to stimulate, engage, and challenge these emergent readers.
At first, children use only part of the letter and sound cues to identify and learn new words. But as children develop letter knowledge and awareness of the sounds in words, they begin to pay attention to all the graphophonic cues in the new words they meet in text. Word family words are one of the first ways that children and their teachers begin to explore the letters and sounds in words.
Chapter 4 includes a variety of activities for teaching word families, such as the at in cat and hat. Word families are a useful gateway into decoding, but word family knowledge alone is not enough to support identifying and learning many different words in text. If children are to become accomplished fluent readers, they must understand the more useful letter patterns in English. Therefore, Chapter 4 includes useful teaching resources: a table of letter patterns to use as a ready reference, guidelines for teaching phonics, and phonics activities.
With reading and writing experiences, children's attention gravitates to the large and often meaningful letter groups that make up the basic structural units in words. Consequently, Chapter 5 focuses on structural analysis, which is the process of identifying and learning new words by paying attention to large, pronounceable units, such as prefixes (the pre- in preheat), suffixes (the -ful in bountiful), syllables, and root words borrowed from Greek and Latin (the micro- in microscope). In reading this chapter, future and practicing teachers learn the structural units of words, and activities for teaching these word partsfrom simple suffixes to syllables and root words.
It would be foolish to assume that teaching the alphabet, phonemic awareness, phonics, and word structure is all that is necessary to build fluency. Fluent readers are experts at using context cues while reading, and they understand the meaning of the words they read in text. Consequently, a comprehensive and balanced language arts program must include the teaching of context cues and word meaning. For this reason, Chapter 6 explains guidelines for teaching vocabulary, activities to develop skill at using the reading context, and activities to develop rapid, accurate, and effortless word recognition. While rapid, accurate, and effortless word recognition is necessary for fluent oral and silent reading, it certainly is not sufficient. Fluent reading sounds like talk, conveys meaning through attention to punctuation, and is smooth and expressive. Fluency like this requires practice, and so Chapter 7 describes the different levels of oral reading fluency, and activities for developing fluent oral and silent reading.
The first seven chapters give future and practicing teachers a plethora of teaching ideas grounded in a comprehensive theoretical framework and solid research. When children speak English at home and at school, teachers have a spoken language base upon which to build the knowledge and insights into spoken and written language that underpin fluency. However, many teachers have children in their classrooms for whom English is not the mother tongue. These teachers will find Chapter 8 especially useful. Chapter 8 explains the levels of bilingualism and the four stages of second language learning. The text describes teaching activities for each second language learning stage and eleven ways to create a supportive classroom learning environment. A VARIETY OF FLUENCY ACTIVITIES
The reader will find a select group of activities in Chapters 2 through 6 that are specifically designed to develop fluency. When children are fluent, they recognize words rapidly, accurately, and effortlessly, and they read text smoothly at the pace of speech and with expression. Fast, accurate, and effortless word recognition and smooth, expressive text reading develop through good instruction and many experiences in reading and writing. Future and practicing teachers will find 43 fluency activities: 28 that lead to or develop fast, accurate, and effortless word level recognition, and 15 that develop fluent text reading. Word-level fluency activities are timed, have a game-like format, and ask children to read or write quickly and accurately. Developing text reading fluency involves activities such as reading to an audience, rereading text, and learning how to read in meaningful phrases. Inside the front cover is a convenient list, with page numbers, of all activities to be found in the book. Planning Guides for Grades K-5
In taking a developmental perspective toward fluency development, some word study components are going to increase, decrease, or disappear altogether as children move toward accomplished fluent reading. This text provides weekly teaching guides that spell out how much to emphasize certain knowledge and skills, ranging from a significant emphasis to a moderate emphasis to no emphasis at all as children become accomplished readers. Because children's needs change so dramatically in the kindergarten and first grade, weekly teaching guides for the first and second half of the kindergarten and first grade years are presented. The second and third grades each have a separate weekly teaching guide, and the fourth and fifth grades have a single guide. The guides are integrated into chapters throughout the book. In this way, future and practicing teachers may, if they choose, consult only those chapters that are specifically relevant to the age, grade, and abilities of the children whom they teach.