ACR 200 – Fluency Read-Aloud Assignment

ACR 200 – Fluency Read-Aloud Assignment

This project is designed to help us practice strategies related to fluent reading–and I mean us as I’ll create a read-aloud with you. As we discussed in this module, reading aloud to children, and modeling fluent reading, is really important for building children’s and adolescents’ awareness of phonetics and phonology, building their oral vocabularies, and helping them acquire schemes of varieties of story structures. You can also record read-alouds for children and adolescents in your lives so that they can return to your read-alouds whenever they want to revisit a book. Further, encouraging children and adolescents to record read-alouds (and teaching older children and adolescents to “remix” read-alouds) can be very engaging and help them to more deeply read. Consider, as well, that audiobooks are increasingly popular (I cherish my Carrie Fisher narrations of her authored books). Further, remember that listening to read-alouds, while reading text, can help and empower children and adolescents who are classified as dyslexic or who have particular reading impairments that may affect their ability to read independently.

If you have children/adolescents in your lives (or plan to), including if you work with children/adolescents (or you plan to do so), you may want to begin keeping a library of audiofiles of read-alouds. Teachers/school librarians, in particular, should keep read-alouds on classroom computers (you may also decide to make them available to parents/guardians) for students to listen to while reading. Teachers/school librarians can also create a classroom center for helping children to record read-alouds (and encourage parents/guardians to do this with books–even if borrowed from the school or public library–at home).

For this project, you will find a recently published children’s or a chapter book or young adult book (from within the past three years). You cannot use commercial titles (e.g., Sesame Street, Peppa Pig) or books written by a celebrity or politician (e.g., Jamie Lee Curtis, Meghan Markle, Kamala Harris). If you choose a chapter book or young adult book, then you will only use a chapter or two to complete this assignment, but ask me so that you are not reading too much or too little. The material may be fiction or non-fiction.

Further, as we discussed, texts in verse (included poetry and song lyrics) are great for building fluent readers as they build children’s and adolescents’ phonetic and phonological skills. In particular, texts in verse, including poems and song lyrics, allow children and adolescents to predict based on rhythm and meter, which can help them anticipate and more accurately read. Likewise, pattern books like Don’t Say That Word! are very useful for engaged and fluent reading. As I shared with you, the first book I remember reading all on my own, Chicken Soup with Rice, is in verse and is a pattern book.

You’ve been exposed to a large number of model read-alouds, either my own or those I have linked to the course WebQuest or Blackboard lesson notes. You are welcome to use those as a model.

Remember, too, that though I’ll give you extra credit if you can read Fox in Socks in under 5 minutes, that’s not fluent reading. It’s just a fun and engaging reading through repeated (and repeated and repeated) rehearsal!

Read-Aloud Task Description:
Your task, should you choose to accept it (though you kinda sorta have to :)):
For your read-aloud, you might choose to read with a child or siblings, friends or partners, or read on your own.

You should rehearse your reading. As we discussed, rehearsal is an important practice for developing fluent reading, which includes attention to comprehension. As we discussed in class, there is never a need or basis for reading unrehearsed or cold-called (e.g., Round Robined or popcorned).

As you rehearse your read aloud, you might think about voices you would perform related to different characters (think about how I read aloud in class). Remember that thinking about how we voice characters when reading aloud (and even when we do so in our head while silent reading) is indicative of comprehension—we have understandings of who these characters are and how they might sound based on their character traits.

Similar to Readers Theater (see notes), you might choose to script out your chosen reading to help you to practice your readings. This is particularly important if you choose to read with someone else, especially a child. If you read with the child, do not worry about correcting the child’s mispronunciations or skipped words—we should encourage self-correction, but this is best to do BEFORE asking the child to read aloud with you for the recording. If you work with a child, be sure to keep any names anonymous.

It is good to rehearse read-alouds while recording so that you (and anyone with whom you read, especially children) becomes use to you recording. You do not need to submit rehearsal recordings. If you are expert enough with the technology, you may be able to edit recordings to create your best read-aloud; however, this is not required.

If you have the technological skill, or would just like to experiment, you can use technologies like GarageBand or Audacity to create read-alouds that feature sound effects and/or soundtracks similar to the read-alouds that were featured on the classic television show, Reading Rainbow. There are tons of videos online to help you navigate either software if you choose. Be as creative as you would like to be. You may even ask a child or adolescent in your life to add in sound effects or soundtracks for you. Remember the mp3 I played of In the Night Kitchen.

You have free choice with how to record the read-aloud. You can create an MP3 or audio file on your phone or use your computer’s microphone. You can create a video that you upload to YouTube (if you do this, please make sure that a) no children are present in the video so as to secure their anonymity and b) the video is set to private and available to those with the link so that your submission fall into “fair use” and is not seen as violating copyright–no need to get in trouble over a course assignment).

Reflective Statement:
As noted in the learning outcomes for this module: “Students will practice strategies for fluent reading that help them to distinguish between fluent and oral reading and consider the relationship between fluent reading and comprehension (including understanding why word callers are not fluent readers.” Your read-aloud is one practical strategy for addressing fluent reading, and it can be used in conjunction with Readers Theater, another strategy for building fluent reading. As you plan your reflective statement, consider the relationship between this learning outcome and your recorded read-aloud and, if you employed it, Readers Theater.

You will also compose a reflective statement that connects your practice reading aloud (rehearsal and all) to the concepts we discussed in our module on fluent reading. Tell me what you did in your read-aloud according to concepts we have been discussi

Here are some guiding questions that might help you write your reflection.

  • Remember to think about misconceptions about what fluency is and how it is often conflated with reading aloud. How has this assignment helped you to understand what fluency is and how it is different from oral reading?
  • How do you believe your recording demonstrates fluent reading?
  • How did rehearsal help in you planning out your read-aloud? What relationship did rehearsal play with accurate reading?
  • How did rehearsal help you to comprehend the text, and how did your comprehension of the text affect your read-aloud?
  • What does your recording tell you about using read-alouds to help children/adolescents to practice fluent reading?
  • How might you use recorded read-alouds with children or adolescents in your life?

This is a DRAFT assignment for your WI-aligned portfolio, so the assignment must be written; however, if you need support with writing it, you may want to dictate out your ideas so that you can outline from your dictation. Based on your outline, you may choose to orally compose a recording of your reflective statement using speech-recognition software. I will help you to revise your recorded composition if you need that support, but I also encourage you to ask for help from tutors.

As always, I am not looking for, nor am I grading based on a particular length. I am looking for depth of response.

Assessment & Grading of Read-Aloud:
You are not being graded on your technological skill. We are using technology to practice a strategy that can be used to build children’s and adolescent’s literacy skills. I am encouraging you to be creative and have fun because we want children and adolescents to be creative and have fun with these kinds of activities as well.

For the read-aloud, I am looking for: a) engaged reading and b) fluent reading. I want to hear, in your voice, that you have rehearsed and practice and that you are engaged in reading your chosen book. I also am looking for you to demonstrate fluent reading. As you might recall, this means your attention to prosody (e.g., rhythm, beat, tone, inflection) as well as accuracy and appropriate speed. Remember, word callers are not fluent readers, and speed reading is not fluent reading.

Your read-aloud itself is graded pass/fail, and you will receive feedback about your read-aloud.

Post and share your read-alouds on the appropriate Discussion Board thread and give each other feedback. Remember, we are a community–support each other!

Assessment & Grading of Reflective Statement:
As a draft, this assignment is graded pass/fail (the final copy in your WI-aligned portfolio is graded) with feedback provided to help you revise.

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