Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Technology and More to Support Reading Fluency

In need of some ideas to support struggling readers with fluency while incorporating technology at the same time?  Well, I'm here to share a few activities with you.

I've had this post sitting in my dashboard drafts for a while now.  I figured I better get it out of my drafts and into the blogging community.  I'm hoping readers out there will learn something new from this post, as well as share additional ideas in the comments below.  I'd love to hear them!  Fluency is the corner stone of comprehension, so you can never have too many fluency tools under your proverbial belt.  Right?  

Ever heard of Vocaroo?  If students have access to a computer, it's so simple to use and they love it.  The steps to using Vocaroo are below.  In my opinion, the best part about the program is the option to download student recordings via QR Code.  My students love to scan and listen to their peers' voices reading. :)
Step 1: This is what you see when you go

Step 2: When you "Click to Record", this pops up.
Click "Allow".

Step 3: Record your reading.

Step 4: "Listen" to your recording or
"Retry" if you'd like to *read a little more fluently*. :)

Step 5: Choose how you would like to save your recording.
I prefer QR Codes!

ShowMe, ScreenChomp and Dragon Dictation are Apps that allow for students to record their voices while reading.  ShowMe and ScreenChomp are interactive whiteboard Apps which provide an option to record.  These are also great Apps to use during Word Work time.  I have my students write words with various vowel patterns or phonics rules using each App's interactive whiteboard features.

Dragon Dictation is a little different.  When a student records his/her voice reading, text appears on the iPad screen.  The dictation does not recognize capitalization or punctuation like as iPhone does while texting.  However, this allows students the extended opportunity to use Skitch to correct any needed capitalization and punctuation.  Of course, this idea is venturing away from fluency, but it is an option.  *App Smashing* Dragon Dictation and Skitch is a great way to work on grammar without using paper.  Trees will love you for it!  All students need to do is take a screen shot of their dictation page and upload it into Skitch. An example is below.
Step 1: Take a screen shot of the dictation.

Step 2: Upload the screen shot into Skitch, 
then pick your editing tools.

Step 3: Use the tools to correct the dictation sentences. 
(Sorry for the picture quality, but it was tricky getting pictures of the screen.)
GarageBand is not just for musicians.  It's for teachers and reading specialists, too!  It can be used on a computer or an iPad.  My students use the program on MacBooks.  The steps for recording a student's reading are below.  It's simple enough for students to set up the recordings themselves.  

Step 1: Click "New Project".

Step 2: Click "Voice".

Step 3: When this box pops up, name your project.
Hit "Create".

Step 4: Click "Male" or "Female" voice.
Click the
red button at the bottom to record.
Ever heard of FCRR?  It stands for Florida Center for Reading Research.  This site contains reading centers incorporating activities for phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.  Educators can access activities for K-1st, 2nd-3rd and 4th-5th grade-level students.  All of the centers are *print-make-laminate-incorporate* type of activities.  My students are using Express It! in the pictures below. :)
Sometimes my students need a little extra practice getting into the habit of reading expressively.  When that's the case, I pull out my *Voice Jar*.  Inside the jar are cards telling the students what emotion to use while reading.  For example, the card may say, "Read like you are sad." Paying attention to a character's feeling in a story and expressing that feeling can be tricky.  These cards are a fun way to have students practice reading dialogue expressively.  If you'd like to view the expression cards I created for my students, click this link- Fluency Practice: Reading Dialogue with Expression.
Besides using *Voice Jar* cards, Deb Hanson's Fluency Posters are a wonderful, FREE tool I use with my RtI groups.  (Thanks, Deb from Crafting Connections!) The posters serve as reminders for the students to be accurate, to use expression, phrasing and punctuation, along with an appropriate rate when reading.  These components combined are a recipe for success. :)

Last, but not least, I have my students participate in Readers' Theater.  As you may know, Readers' Theater is another fabulous way to get students motivated to read because it combines practice and performance.  Teaming up with peers to perform a play seems to put smiles on the students' faces every time.  Timeless Teacher Stuff and Aaron Shepard have great scripts for kids, so check them out, if you're interested.  

I hope this post was helpful to someone out there.  Please share additional ideas in the comments below.  I'd really, really love to learn from you.  I would also like to thank Miss Tiina for the clipart banner strips in my picture collages.  

Thanks again for stopping by Literacy Loving Gals


  1. Love it. Very informative. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lona. I hope you can use some of the ideas in your classroom. :)

  2. What a great use for Skitch! I would've never thought about that!
    Teaching, Love, Cupcakes

    1. Yay, I'm glad I shared a tip that will be useful to you! Thanks, Princess. :)

  3. These are such wonderful ideas!! I love the voice jar idea and using Skitch to practice editing. Thank you for mentioning my fluency cards, too! :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Deb! Editing text in Skitch is simple and fun for the kids. Thank YOU for your fluency posters! :)


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