Thursday, April 5, 2012

Five Time Friday - Fluency Secret Weapon

These two higher leveled readers loved the chance
to share some non-fiction about sharks.
I hate to admit it but I don't always get to my Guided Reading groups as much as I should would like to. I rarely miss a phonics lesson, Heggerty phonemic awareness, or an opportunity for a read aloud. My stations each week include writing/word study, phonics, and the reading corner with the computer available for RAZ-Kids. But I know that fluency is built with repeated readings. . . so I came up with an idea that turned out to be a huge success.  Who knew? We call it 5 Time Friday (I am a sucker for alliteration). For 20 - 30 minutes on Friday we read. I give each child an A-Z book. At the beginning of the year I gave everyone the same book. Now I choose 3 - 6 titles for the class. It is easy to find books that reflect our current classroom interests or themes. I try to find books that come in the pocketbook format to save on paper. When the child receives her book, she writes her name on the back. Then the student reads the book to someone - a teacher, parent or peer.  Each time the listener initials the front cover.  The student is to acquire at least 5 sets of initials. The kids get right to reading as soon as they have their books. Students can read together by taking turns or choral reading.  Then the FDKers just initial each other's book. I usually have a student or two that I want to read to me right away. As I'm sure you can imagine a line tends to form next to me. I insist that students waiting to read to me read to each other while they wait. When I get ready for the next student I check to see if someone is reading the same book.  I put a kid on each side of me and they take turns reading a page.  I follow along with the child who is NOT reading. This helps me get through lots more kids and helps the kids learn to take turns reading a book.  They almost always go off and read with each other again. The high students listen to the lower leveled readers and vice versa. Some kids flock to the parent volunteers - some not.  But everybody reads.  If someone gets their five initials and tells me they are done - I tell them to go be a pal and listen to others, which tends to make the student want to read some more too. This 5 Time Friday has seemed like a productive time to me and the teaching assistants. I have been assessing and marking some running records this week - WOW! My class has made tremendous gains. The higher leveled students are so smooth and fluent.  The lowest students have moved to year end / first grade levels. And they LOVE to read!
Hmmm, which one thinks he is the teacher?
Reading together while waiting for a chance to read to the parent volunteer.

UPDATE: Students enjoy rereading the books at home (and parents should be encouraged to ask about the books). Many kids bring the books in to show us all the initials they collected at home.


  1. HI Alison! This sounds like a great time for students to get lots of reading practice! Could you please tell me more about the A-Z books you use that the kids can initial? Thanks!

    1. Here's a little quote from Reading A - Z: "The website has more than 2,500 downloadable books (including English, Spanish, and French versions) and thousands of teaching and learning materials." A classroom or school can subscribe to the service. A teacher can make a set of books to use for guided reading. Many schools make packets of the books for teachers to check out. I do use the books for some guided reading lessons. I like the books for reinforcing new sight words - I either use the high frequency word A-Z books or pick a book from their regular selection that I found uses the sight word in its pattern or the word just appears a lot. The kids can circle the sight words, color the pictures, and mark up the book anyway they want. Many times the whole class reads a book together. We read a non-fiction book about fish last week. It even had a contents page, glossary and index to explore. The books are time-consuming to put together, but parents can help. Some parents volunteer to take them home and make them. As I said the Pocketbooks are smaller and use less paper. I also make the books that go home double sided vs. a folded sturdier version the web-site offers. For an extra fee you can get an internet / interactive membership called RAZ-Kids. The students can read online at home or at school. About 1/3 of my class uses this service at home. It is an option at our Reading Station. Hope this answers your question and doesn't just confuse you more. Feel free to ask away!

  2. You have so many wonderful ideas for reading on your blog! Thanks for sharing! I have left a little surprise for you at my blog:

  3. Good idea!Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for the reminder about this site...I had forgotten about those printable readers.

    Hubbards Cupboard has some cute printable books for free, too.