: Reading Aloud – An ​‘I do, We do, You do’ model for developing fluency. Reflections from an Academy Reading Lead.


Reading Aloud – An ​‘I do, We do, You do’ model for developing fluency.

Reflections from an Academy Reading Lead.

by Exchange Research School at Don Valley Academy
on the

By Alex Leonard, Evidence Champion and Reading Lead at Don Valley Academy, and Tom Gray, Director of Exchange Research School.

Reading aloud is a central tool in developing reading fluency in the EEF’s Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2 guidance report.

Reading fluency is defined in the report as a bridge from word recognition to comprehension, and breaks down into three areas:

Figure 5 Reading fluency

However, despite its apparent simplicity and its effectiveness, reading aloud remains under-utilised as a strategy in the typical secondary classroom.

In episode 10 of the EEF’s Evidence into Action’ podcast series entitled Teaching Reading: Developing Fluency’, host Alex Quigley notes;

teaching reading fluency is seen as something for young children”,

This highlights the common perspective that developing fluency outside of primary school or specific interventions is not a common occurrence, and that we largely assume students already possess this skill upon reaching Year 7.

Before listening to this podcast episode, I attended phonics training in preparation for my role as Reading Lead at Don Valley Academy. I began to appreciate how powerful the modelling of effective reading aloud by an expert in literacy (the teacher) is to communicate what reading fluency looks like to a novice in literacy (a potential student).

Through subsequent observations, I then saw how our phonics teachers here at Don Valley, through targeted interventions, are excellent at;

giving students chances to read aloud”, take part in assisted” and repeated reading”.

It became clear to me why students involved in our phonics interventions often make rapid progress towards developing their reading fluency and comprehension skills, yet it also struck me that this method of teaching reading is something largely dispensed with once a student has reached a particular age and/​or level of reading.

As I began to look at ways to transfer this success to my KS3 classroom, it became evident to me that we need explicit, commonplace structures and methods in place across the curriculum to enable students to develop and excel at fluency, especially given that we are asking them to read one of the most complex languages on the planet with speed and accuracy.

Therefore, what could a simple” method of developing fluency in the classroom begin to look like?

Using Rasinski’s ideas as set out in Why Focus on reading fluency?’, I considered how a straightforward I do, We do, You do’ structure could allow students to ultimately read and perform with fluency”.

I considered the suggestions from his work, but ultimately simplified them for the convenience of staff and students. I started to select brief (so as not to overwhelm) snippets from a fictional text – often dialogue – in which a character was explaining or declaring something with emotion. I would ask a student to read that sentence or phrase aloud independently, assessing how they would read it without expert guidance first (often somewhat flat and monotonous); then, I would follow this structure:

- I Do: the teacher then reads the selected part of the text aloud themselves, perhaps even two or three times, modelling how an expert reader would read that section of text with appropriate intonation and stress, and even explaining the reasons why it is read that way, e.g. it is a question or the character is experiencing some sort of emotion.

- We Do:
everybody then reads it together until there is a sense of accuracy; sometimes, doing this several times will be necessary for students to appreciate fully how it should feel’. Repetition here helps students to see the link between the word, what it sounds like, and how it should be said or used in this context.

- You Do:
then, the stabilisers are taken off; the class read independently, their fluency of this section of the text developed and improved. I would often select one student to read aloud then by themselves, praising their improvements and developed reading skills.

Following this, I would then ask questions to assess the comprehension of the class.

I found that the comprehension levels of students following this brief method improved significantly. Students could clearly tell me how a character was feeling, why they were feeling this way, and how the writer had portrayed this through the language, punctuation, and dialogue they had used.

Delivered with structure and thought, reading aloud is a powerful tool for developing fluent readers beyond its usual place at Key Stage 2 or in the intervention room.

Further Reading
Why focus on reading fluency? | EEF (educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk)
Ep 10: Teaching reading: Developing fluency | Evidence into Action (podbean.com)

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