Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

3 Ways to Improve Reading Fluency About Inventions

By Dr. Geraldine Haggard, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Guest Blogger

Alexander Graham Bell was a great inventor whose legacy was sparked by his desire to help people by solving problems. Keep reading to find out how you can inspire upper-elementary students and improve reading fluency with a level S Alexander Graham Bell biography .

Help Students Develop Deeper Meanings of Unfamiliar Words and Phrases

Invite students to read the title of Alexander Graham Bell: The Inventor Who Changed the World . Then encourage students to find the word that has multiple meanings in the title. After they've identified the word changed , have them write a sentence in their journals with the word.

Then facilitate a discussion about what the word means by having some students read aloud the sentences that they wrote. You can continue the discussion while having students turn to the table of contents. Once they've opened the leveled book to this page, ask questions that prompt making inferences about ways that Alexander Graham Bell changed the world. 

The fifth chapter heading is "Breakthrough in Boston” so there are several questions you can ask students to encourage critical thinking about Alexander's journey as an inventor and to make meaning of breakthrough : Who was Mr. Hubbard? How did he help Alexander? Did something actually break? What do you think the word breakthrough might mean?

Help Students Analyze How a Central Character is Introduced in a Text

The second chapter provides striving readers with details about Alexander's early years and the interest in communication that was shared by everyone in his family. If your students have prior knowledge about someone they know who has difficulties hearing or speaking, invite them to share their experience with their small guided reading groups. Then help your students with making predictions about Alexander's desire to help his family by looking at the image on page 10. 

The third chapter gives more details about things that fascinated Alexander during his childhood. The phrase "think like an inventor" is a great example from the text that can help students analyze how the author provides facts about Alexander. You can bring an ear of corn with its husk as realia to help the children understand Alexander's early invention. A real-life example of something mentioned in the text will help you engages your students.

You can also ask the following questions to ensure reading fluency and provide reading comprehension practice: How would you look at the world around you if you thought like an inventor? What did the friend of Alexander's father need and how did Alexander find a solution?  

Help Students Summarize a Central Theme of a Text

Chapter five shares the importance of an inventor having a patent for a new invention through the meeting of Alexander and Gardiner Greene Hubbard. One of the nonfiction text features in this series of leveled books includes helpful boxes with explanations of terms that need an in-depth explanation, and page 18 helps students understand why patents are significant for inventors. This is an important piece of information that will help your students summarize. 

The fifth chapter also highlights Alexander's desire to help others and his willingness to accept help from others. These are important themes of  Alexander Graham Bell: The Inventor Who Changed the World so it's crucial to provide time for students to read and discuss the chapter. To review events and important people in Alexander's life, write on the board the names of Thomas Watson, Thomas Sanders, and Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Then have students search the chapter to record details in their journals that convey how each person helped Alexander.

Be sure to monitor student progress and help where it is needed. After the list is compiled, have students summarize Alexander's opinion of receiving help from others. This is one of a few summarizing exercises that can be used for oral language development among your striving readers who are reading at a level S. 

After reading this nonfiction book for kids, your students will be inspired and motivated by the life of Alexander Graham Bell and his service to others. This will be a helpful asset in your search for ways to improve reading fluency. Be sure to visit our blog again soon for more ways to help your striving readers achieve reading standards! 

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. If you like what you read here, you can enjoy more from Dr. Haggard elsewhere on our blog .