Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

5 Ways to Improve Oral Reading Fluency [Pre-K–K]

By Nancy Brekke, Reading Interventionist, Guest Blogger

Kids love to learn about transportation because they can use their prior knowledge to talk about different types of transportation they’ve used. In today's blog post, I will highlight five ways you can use nonfiction books to help pre-K and kindergarten students practice oral reading fluency.

In the first chapter of Read It Again! Revisiting Shared Reading , Brenda Parkes explains, "Shared reading is a collaborative learning activity, based on research by Don Holdaway (1979), that emulates and builds from the child’s experience with bedtime stories” (1999). Your students will enjoy participating in shared reading because they will love listening to you read, and they get excited when they get to take more responsibility and be involved in the reading process.

This helps to increase their confidence and reading skills. The shared reading approach provides a safe learning environment for the students to practice the reading behaviors of proficient readers with support from you. Using an informational text during a shared reading lesson is very worthwhile because it not only increases their confidence during reading practice, it also expands their knowledge base. These are great assets to leverage as you create the wonderful feeling that big books for shared reading and leveled books can provide during a theme on transportation.

1. Interactive Shared Book Reading

There are many features of big books that kids love, which include being able to hold and flip through large pages and looking at big print and colorful illustrations that capture children's attention. An interactive shared book reading of an informational text, such as Going Places , will enrich your students’ oral language development, improve vocabulary, and strengthen content-area literacy because you can model reading fluency.

One way to help your children expand their oral vocabulary is to pronounce a difficult word, then have students repeat it. Next, have students find the picture in the book that supports the meaning of that word. Students can then pantomime a vocabulary word, and the class can guess which word they are acting out. At the end of the big book, you can engage kids in a discussion using the survey about their favorite form of transportation.

2. Engaging Kids with a Wordless Book

The guided reading leveled books about transportation that are part of the Going Places theme set provide excellent ways to help students with low vocabulary improve their oral language skills. Wheels is a wordless book that serves as a useful tool that will motivate students to talk about each picture. You can introduce the book by asking the students, What have you seen today that has wheels?

Give kids the opportunity to practice making their own story for each page of the leveled reader. Then pronounce each word on pages 13 and 14 and have students repeat them. You can encourage kids to find the pictures in the book that match each spoken word. To help kids practice adjectives, have students try describing the size, color, shape, and texture of each vehicle in  Wheels .

3. Rhyming with a Level A Book

On a Boat is a motivating book that you can incorporate in your lesson plans to help struggling readers work on syllables and rhyming. Introduce the book by asking the students if they’ve ever been on a boat. Then do a book walk with the students while you read the words on each page, and have students repeat the words after you.

After reading On a Boat , explain that a syllable is a part of a word. Then go back to each page and read the words to teach students how to clap the syllable(s) in each word. Next, discuss what rhyming means. Then have students think of words that rhyme with the words in the book. Write the rhyming words on chart paper or on the board.

4. Illustrating with a Level B Informational Text

To work on memory skills with struggling readers, activate prior knowledge by saying, We travel on land in many ways. Share with the person sitting next to you some ways we get around on land. Then have each pair share some answers that they thought of. Next, read Getting Around on Land to the class. Then have your students read the book orally.

After reading the book, have students think about all the ways they can remember about how we can get around on land. Next, have each student fold a piece of paper into eight sections so that they can draw a picture of a way to get around on land in each section. When they finish, encourage students to talk about their drawings.

5. Optimize Simple Sentence Structure in a Level C Book

Getting Around in the Air is an excellent book for struggling readers because the simple sentence structure in this level C nonfiction book for kids will improve reading fluency. To introduce the book, have the students put their thumbs up if they have ever flown in the air. Explain that reading with fluency means to read like they're talking, reading at a good speed, using expression, and not pausing between words.

Model fluent reading of Getting Around in the Air for the class. Then read each page a second time, having the students read each page after you read it. Don't forget to praise fluent reading. Next, have the students vote on their favorite way to get around in the air.

Then turn to that picture in the book and have students dictate about five sentences about that page. Write their sentences on chart paper, then read each sentence to the class. Have students read their sentences as a class story.

Transportation is such a fun, engaging topic that children will enjoy reading about. The nonfiction books for kids mentioned in today's blog post will not only help your children improve their reading skills, they will also help nurture a love of reading among your students.

Stay tuned for more interesting, helpful reading tips to use in your classroom!

Nancy has taught grades 1–6, ESL students, and Reading Recovery. She is also a Reading Interventionist and an author of several titles in our Kaleidoscope Collection .