Real talk, how did we function before iPhones? I am ridiculously reliant on that small rectangle. It wakes me up, keeps me on schedule, reminds me what I need to do, and oh so much more. It also is a super helpful teaching tool. I use the timer for a million classroom related tasks but you can also utilize the voice recording app to target reading fluency in really fun and interactive way! (because iPhones = instant engagement)

1. Select a passage at the child's reading level.

Select a passage that includes specific components that your student is struggling with. If they are having a hard time with tone and reading with expression, select a passage with a quotation or a suspenseful plot twist. If they are struggling with reading slowly, select a long paragraph.

2. Model the correct reading of the passage.

Just as we chatted about in yesterday’s post on the importance of read alouds – the modeling is so key in improving reading fluency. Kids need to hear the correct reading of a passage. So first, you read the passage with the correct expression and rate. I like to even exaggerate specific things that I know the student is struggling with.

3. Record the student reading the passage.

This is where it gets fun. Record your student reading the passage using the voice recording app. Students seriously love this. Your most reluctant readers and work averse kids will suddenly be ASKING for this activity. I swear the iPhone is a small magic wand. So do the first  recording as a baseline. I like to even name it – John Reading 1. I like to do a few recordings later on as we work through the whole session so it’s nice to see which is the first one.

4. Listen and Compare

One major struggle our kids have with reading fluency is that they don’t hear the mistakes they are making. Use the voice recording let’s us provide specific feedback on our student’s reading skills and allows us to do some targeted discrimination practice. After you do the first recording, listen to it together. Then I like to go back and forth a few times between my modeling the correct reading and listening the student’s recorded passage. If there are specific areas (like not pausing at a comma or not reading with expression), I highlight that and review it several times. I then have the student practice a few times modeling my correct reading.

5. Record again.

After all that practice (I really spend some time on the comparing step of this strategy), it’s time to record again! I have the student record one more time. Then we compare the new recording (after all that practice) to the original baseline recording. I provide tons of specific praise for the improvement. Really highlight and get detailed with what things your student did correctly and improved on!

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