Helping emergent and beyond readers who struggle to gain fluency is a daily occurrence in most classrooms. They need to be involved in text daily to strengthen their decoding skills which should lead to improved fluency. However, for some of our readers this is an ongoing struggle and it begins to wear them down just a little.
One thing that I have found to be true is that you have to mix it up. I mean, who wants to feel that reading is drudgery and no fun…especially if you are in 2nd and 3rd grade and still struggling with phonics skills? In my classroom, I start with blends and syllables, then move on to short phrases. Students practice these over and over until they feel confident that they know the word parts and short common phrases. Usually, I am working with a small group so I have them take turns flipping the cards and reading them aloud. Or I have them go around the table taking turns trying to read them quickly. At this stage, making it a game is much more engaging for them. If you need resources for this, I have both blends and syllables flashcards here and short phrases flashcards here.
Once they have mastered the first two stages – syllables and blends, and short phrases – they are ready to move on to more challenging practice. Pyramid sentences are perfect for this stage! Students love the challenge and variety of fluency practice. At first, the sentences are tongue twisters and there are lots of giggles…., then it becomes a challenge. My students would take great pride in being able to read the entire card without mistakes. It takes practice though and that is the part they don’t realize is taking place! Perfect activity – fun without drudgery.
If this sounds like an activity you would like for your struggling readers, my Pyramid Sentences will do the trick!
Place the Pyramid Sentences in a literacy center after you have taught your students how to practice.
I know these Pyramid Sentences will help you move your struggling readers to become more fluent readers!