Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Fluency Building Bookmarks & Comprehension Cards

We spend oodles and oodles of time teaching kids how to read. We build words, break words, even make and take words. You get the picture...We spend a whole lot of time decoding. Decoding is reading, right? No, not quite...

When we left for Spring Break our kids were cracking any code we put in front of them. They were decoding up a storm. 
It was the best robotic, cave person talk we've ever heard. 
But, it lacked 2 major things...fluency and comprehension.

It was troubling us...A lot. 
Keeping us up all night actually ~ 
Nightmares of robots dressed as cave kids waiting in line to start the following school year. 
The teacher coming back to us, crying, WHY DID YOU SEND ME ROBOTS? WHY? 
Then, all the cave kids turning on us and beating our brains with their cave person clubs. 
It was an absolutely awful dream. We're cold sweating just retyping it. 

Fortunately for us, it was also a wake up call.  As much time as we spend teaching kids to decode, decode, decode it is equally if not even more important to build their fluency and comprehension skills at the same time. This is not always easy with beginning readers or reluctant readers of any age.

To help our students pick up the pace, practice listening to others reading and develop essential reading fluency and comprehension benchmarks, we provide them with Fluency Building Bookmarks and Comprehension Cards. 
Fluency Building Bookmarks

These bookmarks get them rereading the same material over and over again, helping to build fluency. Each time they read to someone, that person initials their bookmark. There are 12 monthly sets of bookmarks each with 3 options to choose from for differentiated reading or multiple grade levels ~ Read to 3, Read to 5 and Read to 8. 
Use the set that works best for your students or use all three for differentiation opportunities. Why 12 months of just bookmarks, you ask? It never ceases to amaze us that just by introducing something as "new" how the kids go wild. They hoot and holler like it's the first time they've seen it. By introducing a new set each month, we keep our students engaged and on their toes with anticipation. It's a teacher trick...shhhh. 

 They are great for K-5, but we've had a few friends use them in 6th too. That's what we LOVE about them and hope you do too. You can use them with any book, textbook passage, poem...virtually any type of reading. Fluency Building Bookmarks get them rereading and building fluency along the way. It's a teacher trick...shhhh.
 The possibilities are endless, but here's just a few ways we've used them over the years:
*Buddy Reading
*Guided Reading
*Home Reading
*Whole Group Reading (kids roam around and find friends to read to)
*Table Reading
*Small Group Reading
*Study Buddy Reading (reading to a cross grade level class ~ We read to 3rd graders)
And more...

Since we couldn't exactly include our brains in this pack (Remember, they were pummeled by cave kids for not teaching them how to read fluently?), we've given you a step inside our brains with all the Organizational Tools and details on how we keep our Fluency Building Bookmarks organized in class. 

Comprehension Cards
There is nothing worse than when a student answers the question, "What happened in that story?" with a shrug of the shoulders and an "I don't know?" 
I don't know? I don't know? Why don't they know? 
Oh, yeah because we were so busy decoding like robot, cave kids that we weren't able to comprehend. It's a sad, sad fact. Slow reading can definitely hinder their comprehension.  But, not anymore...

To help our students recognize the importance of purposeful practice and building comprehension strategies, we provide them with regular opportunities to use our Comprehension Cards. This pack includes tons to choose from including Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How questions, plus a special set for each month of the year. 
 Our class is always nagging asking us if they can read our "special books". You know, those books you really don't want them to touch? But, we're sharers so we came up with the idea to tie our monthly Comprehension Cards into this "special book privilege". 
When it comes to Comprehension Card picking time, if you pick a "special card", you get to pick a "special book" from our shelf to read...After, you clean your hands of course. Kidding, but it would be nice...
We throw all of our regular cards (who, what, when, where, why and how) into a basket along with the special month cards and it's luck of the draw. 
Or in teacher language, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit!". 

 This pack also includes 3 differentiated Comprehension Quick Check Recording Sheets and cards for making connections or creating your own comprehension cards! The kids love this! 
Once they get the hang of our cards, we leave blank ones on their desks and ask them to make us a new class set. We laminate and add their created cards to the stash! The buy in is huge and they feel part of our comprehension crew.  
Here's a peek at everything all prepped.
 
We've packaged our Fluency Building Bookmarks & Comprehension Cards together because, well...fluency and comprehension go hand in hand. Like us! :) 

 
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9 comments:

  1. Fluency looks SUPER fabulous when surrounded by the pretty outdoors. I may need to come hang out on that patio with a beverage or two and look it all over! ;)

    Seriously looks amazing ladies. We've been working on getting rid of the robots in my room on a daily basis lately, too. It's a lot of work. This will help tons!

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  2. These look so great! I think my kids would love them! I love that you have options for every month too. This is perfect!

    Polka Dots, Checks and Stripes

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  3. This looks wonderful !! Can't wait to grab it!

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  4. Gosh! I appreciate the amount of work you put into this unit. Everything is well thought out and organized! It's already in my cart and pinned! I can't wait to use all the items and my students will love it, too! Love your sense of humor and how you express what frustrates us teachers!

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  5. Hi girls...this is awesome!!! Very smart and I can see how it would alleviate some of that stress that we teachers carry around with us in life and in our dreams. LOL
    Very cute and useful!
    Vicky

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  6. These are amazing! My fingers are crossed to win!
    Chrissy
    First Grade Found Me

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  7. Thanks so much for sharing these! I am your newest follower and I am looking forward to adding these to my collection!

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