How do children become fluent?

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confusedparent
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How do children become fluent?

Post by confusedparent » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:37 pm

I wonder if anyone can help? I have a six year old who can read most words given enough time and motivation, but it is still and slow and labourious process. I'm wondering how we get from here to the point at which reading becomes effortless and enjoyable. I'm sure you'll say practise is the key - but should I just have an anything and everything approach, or is it better to be more targetted than that? His school books are ORT (which is all you seem to get in these parts) and he can read these comfortably, but I have noticed that when he sees 'ORT words' like 'climbed' or 'house' in another context he doesn't always recognise them. So his ability to read ORT, and his ability to read real books are quite distinct if you follow me?

What leads to this moment where it all 'clicks' that other mothers speak about?

JAC
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Re: How do children become fluent?

Post by JAC » Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:25 pm

Indeed, practice is the key, but it has to be the right kind of practice.ie putting together words made of letter/sound correspondences your child has been taught.
A series of books that gives the kind of practice that leads to fluency, making the job of teaching quite straightforward, are the BRI books from www.piperbooks.co.uk.

There are other ways to build in the practice - and many other programmes successfully do this either through using word lists, or connected text or even games, but for amount of focussed practice it is hard to better the BRI books.

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maizie
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Re: How do children become fluent?

Post by maizie » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:00 am

His school books are ORT (which is all you seem to get in these parts) and he can read these comfortably, but I have noticed that when he sees 'ORT words' like 'climbed' or 'house' in another context he doesn't always recognise them. So his ability to read ORT, and his ability to read real books are quite distinct if you follow me?
It sounds very much to me as though he is not reading his ORT books at all, but memorising them. I wonder if he gets to 'practice' (i.e teacher or TA 'reads' through the book with him, telling him the words he doesn't 'know') them before he brings them home to read? Of course he won't recognise the words in other contexts if all he is doing is repeating a memorised story. Is he even looking at the words as he 'reads'?

JAC is absolutely right, he needs lots of practice in sounding out and blending words, (always working within his phonic knowledge) and absolutely no other 'strategies'. The BRI books are perfect for this.

You don't say what year he is in. Also, do you know what sort of phonics instruction he has had?

confusedparent
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:34 pm
Location: England

Re: How do children become fluent?

Post by confusedparent » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:42 pm

Thanks for your replies. The BRI books look great. Certainly good for ensuring his younger brother (so far raised on a diet of CBeebies Alphablocks) gets off to the best start. I need to try and work out how far back to take my other son who unfortunately has had a muddled start to his reading career! He is 6 + 2 months and in a Year 1 (composite class with Reception children).

The 'no other strategies' is pretty much the reverse of what is promoted here. Having recently sat through a presentation by the county literacy advisors, "warming up the text" as you've just described was advised along with a multitude of old multi-cue strategies. The only mention of phonics was to show parents how to sound out the alphabet using pure sounds. Literally just a-z , not even a th or ch! His teacher does use a phonics-first approach though (L&S) and his reading has improved a lot since I took him out of his old school. (Long and painful story - old thread on here about it somewhere!) He does have the knowledge and ability to decode new words, but it is often very slow and he makes his frustrations known. I can certainly tell the difference between a reading book that is on his first read-through and one that he has recently read before. That said, he does manage the first reading with little or no intervention from me, and he does focus on the words. Most of the wild guessing seems to have been erradicated - but ORT is pretty formulaic and I remain a little sceptical. I persuaded him to read a Set 1 (Green) Read Write Inc book last night and he was able to do this with ease - but without expression. The BRI website seems to have some useful assessment guides (am a bit wary of making him feel 'tested' though). Any other tips on where I should start him from?

JAC
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Re: How do children become fluent?

Post by JAC » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:23 pm

There is no harm in starting your 6 year old in BRI 1, and he should go through them quite quickly, if he can already blend cvc words. You can model how to read with expression, or 'read like you talk'. The Booster Books are also a possibility, as they contain all the words from BRI 1 and 2. I find the stories are successful with 6 year olds; they do not find them infantile at that age. But fluency is more likely to develop with reading material that is relatively easy.

There is a yahoo group for users of these books, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Beginning ... struction/

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