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Though Network Superstars is dedicated to celebrating the amazing accomplishments of the volunteers, student teachers and program coordinators we serve, sometimes we feel it’s necessary to share strategies from our own superstars. This is one of those times. The superstar who wrote this strategy is Dr. Grace Chiu (pictured at right), our first Reading Strategies Expert and an absolutely amazing educator. (Check out her blog, K-12 Literacy Coach.)
Over the past few years, we’ve found that some reading tutors and school-based mentors across the country are led to place an enormous focus on the speed at which a student is reading, timing students on how quickly they read passages. While it is okay to use timers occasionally for assessment purposes (usually to figure out if a student is decoding too slowly), the practice should not be used constantly because it can mislead students to believe that reading is about how fast they can call out words.
Unfortunately, we’ve found that some tutors and mentors sometimes make speed such a high priority that students miss out on opportunities to focus on the true purpose of reading, making meaning.
What especially concerns us are situations in which students are asked to time one another. While we believe that having a teacher or well-trained tutor or mentor time a student can sometimes be useful, we're very concerned about how children will treat one another in this situation and whether the student being tested is comprehending what he or she is reading.
We don't know how widespread this practice is nationwide, but we’ve tracked it enough over the years that we wanted to share one strategy with you that helps students develop stronger fluency skills without just focusing on speed.
HELPING STUDENTS WHO READ IN A CHOPPY, MONOTONE VOICE
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