If there’s one word that is sure to come up in EVERY literacy assessment its
Fluency is one of the most important factors in reading comprehension but it is so much more than a number score. Fluency can tell a reader and a listener if true comprehension is taking place. When the correct expression is used in oral reading the reader is showing they are not only understanding the word, and the ideas, but they are inferring as to how it should sound thus reading it with correct expression.
This little activity puts the FUN in FUNdamental fluency practice. Students will learn and show more understanding and retention if they feel a connection to the lesson, so put some thought into how you teach these fundamental skills. Know your readers and what they enjoy. Then plan some fun fluency lessons using great literature and some interactive add-ons.
I choose to use technology as a means to practice expression quite often. The kids LOVE it and it adds a bit of whimsy to a rather repetitive task.
There are many voice recording apps out there. Here are a few we use:
My kids love the reality of the features on YakIt Kids. Students can add cartoon looking mouths, eyes, and other props to their recordings making it great fun! We get a lot of belly laughs out of these projects. (I never grow tired of hearing my voice as a cartoon voice. I know…silly, but fun.)
Here’s one lesson I recently did with my 2nd graders to practice expression.
- I found a book that was a little below my students’ reading levels, so the focus could be on expression and not accuracy (no decoding struggles).
- I took the book and created a readers theater style out of it dividing the parts amongst the characters in the book.
- I found “free use” cartoon characters on pixabay.com that matched the book characters and created png transparent image files of them to eliminate any backgrounds from them as to not distract from the real story.
- We practice reading the parts together and modeled for each other how we felt the characters would really sound.
- We then turned to the amazing app YakIt Kids.
- First I shared the images of the characters with the students on their devices. (email, airdrop, iCloud, google docs, whatever means you are comfortable)
- Then we set to work creating the characters mouths to look realistic and saved them into the YakIt photo file.
- Now we needed a narrator…hmm…oh yes! The kids took a picture of themselves and presto, they became the main part of the book.
- After all characters’ mouths were created, we then split up and starting recording the parts in order.
- After all parts were recorded and saved in our devices camera roll, we then were ready to start putting it together.
- We have had a ton of practice using the green screen in our class this year, so to make the book look more like a real talking book we chose to use the green screen idea and found images we felt would work as settings for our characters.
- Our “go to” app for green screen animation and video creation is DoInk. It is not a free app but worth every single penny. Actually its worth TONS more!
- We went to work putting the videos and background images into the DoInk Green Screen app and Viola our video was done….but wait! It’s so quiet….only voices.
- We decided it needed some fancying up so we flipped it into our iMovie app and added sounds, transitions, and titles.
- Now we have a great project that can be shared with our classmates, school, and families.
- We use Seesaw to share our work and creations so all videos were uploaded there and the positive comments and hearts started rolling in!
- Seesaw also is a powerful tool for providing reflection opportunities for my students and probably more so for me as the teacher. It has changed the way I teach in so many ways due to reflective opportunities it provides me each day.
The following videos & images explain the entire process. I hope you enjoy! Start brainstorming now how this activity could help your students with that ever important area of fluency.
- Independent Level
- Practice Reading it together
- Interactive (Character dialogue included)
Create a readers theater type script:
Here’s a link to this book’s readers theater script if interested.
Practice reading it together:
- Model expressive reading
- Students can pair up and practice together providing feedback
Create talking characters on YakIt Kids:
Record characters reading each part on YakIt Kids:
Optional: Add green screen backgrounds to character videos using DoInk
Combine videos and background images in DoInk:
Upload movie to iMovie and add music, transitions, and titles:
Share with the world!
Take a minute to reflect on final project, expression, effort, etc.