Research School Network: Fluency part 3: the strategies The third part of David Windle’s series on Fluency, which looks at the strategies and resources of the Fluency Focus programme

Fluency part 3: the strategies

The third part of David Windle’s series on Fluency, which looks at the strategies and resources of the Fluency Focus programme

by London South Research School
on the

Fluency Focus: looking at reading through the lens of fluency

As discussed in my previous two blogs on our fluency programme, Charles Dickens Research School has been working with the EEF to develop a fluency curriculum which can be scaled up for delivery across numerous schools.

One of the key features of our programme is the combination of comprehension and fluency. At each step of the sequence, it is essential to unlock and monitor comprehension – to construct mental models of meaning. Each fluency activity must be undertaken within the context of attempting to understand the text, the aim being to arrive at the point where the text can be read with prosody.

The Texts

Aimed at Year 5 children, the first iteration of the programme consisted of a series of ten extracts from classical texts. Classical texts often pose challenges for children in that they may contain unfamiliar vocabulary, unusual imagery and a formality of tone uncommon in modern writing.

The next iteration of the programme, while still aimed at Year 5, will be expanded to twenty texts incorporating non-fiction from across science and the humanities. These twenty lessons constitute two terms worth of weekly lessons.

The aim, of course, create a curriculum to cover the whole year for every year in a school after Year 1.

The Sequence

Each lesson follows the same fixed sequence of explicit teaching and practice of reading fluency strategies, whole class discussion and comprehension questions. We decided to fix the sequence of activities so that with each lesson both the children and the teacher would become more expert in using them – in essence, they would develop fluency with the fluency strategies!

Challenging vocabulary is explored and pre-taught at the start of each lesson. It is important not only to explain the words but to say them aloud and become fluent with them.

Modelled fluent reading is your chance as a teacher to go the full Branagh’ and model prosodic reading full of expression and life.

Phrased reading/​text marking is a very useful strategy in which the children break an excerpt is into phrase units. This gives children the opportunity to break a text down into its smallest units of sense, making it easy to read for meaning.

Echo reading provides the chance to build on the text marking as a whole class. Using call and response, an expert reader, usually the teacher, reads a section line by line and the children echo back with appropriate stress and intonation.

Paired repeated reading allows the children to explore the texts more independently. Working in pairs, they take turns to read each other a section of the text and give each other feedback.

All of this culminates in Reading for Performance in which children present the text, whole class, in groups, pairs or individually, with a focus on communicating the meaning of the text through prosody.

Throughout this sequence, it is important to return to whole class discussion in order to summarise the text and explore its key themes. Each lesson is framed by three comprehension questions, focussing on summarising, understanding author intent and unpacking the impact of key moments.

FF resources
The Fluency Focus Teacher Guide and Pupil Booklet

Every teacher receives a teacher guide and every child receives a pupil workbook. These contain all the texts, the sequence of strategies, assessment and feedback materials and comprehension activities.

An accompanying PowerPoint moves through the key vocabulary from each text and presents the texts so the fluency strategies can easily be modelled and delivered whole class.

Every participating school receives full training on how to deliver the programme and follow up coaching to trouble shoot any issues with implementation.

To find out more, come along to our webinar on Monday 15th May. To register, please complete this form.

We are also looking for twenty schools in South London to join us in a pilot of Fluency Focus starting in September 2023. To express your interest, please complete this form.

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