You know how you have those students who are struggling readers? I know you have noticed that that they are painfully aware that they struggle. They have to sound out words one letter at time. If they can chunk words, they still do it very slowly. By the time they finish a sentence or a paragraph, they have no idea what they read. It’s no wonder they don’t like to read. As the saying goes – the struggle is real.
A few years ago, I had a group of third graders who were struggling mightily with the new Common Core standards that included much more complex text. These students had already struggled with decoding and fluency in the second grade. Now they were faced with a much more difficult standard as a reader.
During my small group instruction, I tried to use the interventions that I was given – to no avail. I soon realized that these students had never mastered decoding skills that stuck with them. They didn’t know that -tion said “shun”, not ti-on. They couldn’t blend three letter blends like str and shr. They just had not put that in their long term memory.
I thought long and hard about how to help these sweet kids who were giving me all they had. So, I started over by drilling them on common blends and syllables. I made a game of it and they responded. After a few weeks, I started giving them common phrases to memorize – just like we do with sight words. Finally, I started using fluency pyramid sentences. They loved them! When I would pull them out – they cheered! These little struggling readers were looking forward to reading!
I knew I was onto something, because they were improving. What did I use? I looked through the available resources at that time and couldn’t find what I needed, so I made one. My post about how I use it is here if you are curious. If you need a resource to help your struggling readers, these are available in my TPT store – either separately or together.
To keep this success going and have some Valentine fun, I created a Valentine Fluency resource that is available now. It includes a cold read page that you can use to do a before and after fluency check. Have your students read for one minute and count how many words they read. Then use the pyramid sentences throughout the week for practice. Make sure you mix them up, so students get to practice different sentences. You can even do partner reading or put them in a center. At the end of the week, do another timed read of the passage. You and your students will see a huge improvement!
This Valentine Fluency resource is available now – just head over to my TPT store and grab it. There is very little prep needed:
I hope you will try fluency practice with pyramid sentences. It’s an effective intervention for struggling readers in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Not only that – they will LOVE the Valentine theme!
Happy Valentine’s Day!