Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Fluency Results in Improved Reading Rate, Comprehension and Retention, too!

Most educators know that a variety of skills come together to enable a student to read and so so proficiently. Those same educators will cite the specific reading skills required for this to be accomplished.

The right tools, strategies and teaching techniques can make all the difference in successfully developing and improving these skills in emergent as well as experienced readers. The following is a list of basic or primary reading skills needed for effective reading to result:

Primary Reading Skills

1. Phonics: To know the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language is essential for reading.

2. Word recognition: Many common words in English, such as "the" and "one," do not fit the normal phonics rules, so your child will need to memorize them.

3. Fluency: To read fluently, your child must not only be able to recognize words instantly, but also be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks.

4. Spelling and writing: Your child increases his knowledge of how print works when he spells and writes on his own. When he sees each letter, he learns to associate a sound with it. At first he may write "book" as bk — because he hears the /b/ and /k/ sounds. With instruction, he learns correct spelling.

5. Comprehension: To read, your child must understand the meaning of the words. She builds comprehension when she discusses what she thinks a book will be about and summarizes what happened in a story. Her understanding increases as her vocabulary expands.

In this article, our focus in on fluency (#3 above). We wanted to provide resources and information to help with the improvement of this all-important reading skill of recognizing words instantly and dividing them into meaningful chunks. Developing fluency does not simply require the teacher or parent to "force feed" a group of words or text to a child. It most definitely does not involve "speed reading" or increasing the rate of the words viewed by a reader, which many software programs attempt to do. The teaching of fluency requires specific activities and resources to encourage a child to attack the text needing to be read.

In a 2011 focus study of secondary students who were challenged readers, it was found that when implementing the appropriate strategies and tools, reading fluency improves, which in turn significantly improved the student' reading rate and comprehension. For more information on this study, please visit this link.

So, in our attempt to help parents and teachers with the development and improvement of reading fluency, we have provided here a list of resources and links to assist you. We hope you will discover that the following links will help your child or students do just that---Improve fluency so that reading rate and comprehension will follow. In the end, retention of what has been read will also be positively impacted with these improvements.

Reading Fluency Resources

Fluency Resources for Reading - from Brennan Innovators, LLC
70+ reading fluency resources all in one place

Reading Fluency Activities - by
The FREE reading fluency activities on this page are essential for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. These activities can be taught in the classroom (small and large group setting) and can also be implemented at home! Keep checking this page for more free printable reading fluency activities and other ways to increase reading fluency!

A Complete Guide to Reading Fluency- from Scholastic
Videos, activities, strategies and more to help develop and improve reading fluency.


Breaking the Code: Primary Grade Reading Skills---by Scholastic

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Brennan Innovators, LLC at AND at

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Get 'Em In-Gear for a Great School Year!

The summer vacation time has always been a great season to reconnect with family and friends at a much more leisurely pace. Travel and enjoyable activities both indoors and in the sun can do much to help all of us recreate and refresh. This is especially true for children who have a chance during the summer months to experience important downtime, allowing for more creativity and reading for enjoyment than during the much more structured school year.

However, how can we best get them ready for late August or early September when the new school year begins? There are a few ways parents can do this, ways that are relatively painless and that may even go unnoticed by the children! Here are a few great ways to start the ball rolling to get your kids in-gear to begin the new school year:

GREAT Ways to Get Kids In-Gear for the New School Year

1. Get the children to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule. However, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine: start the transition now to earlier wake-up times and bedtimes. Structure and consistency are very important here.

2. Provide for healthy meals. Hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning, so good nutrition plays an important role in your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program (see link below for additional information).

3. Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.

4. Read Together. Take the pledge to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together. Change it up and promote variety by including read-alouds, sustained and independent silent reading and discussions about what you read. Do it TOGETHER!

5. Talk about and discuss ways to manage or limit school stress. If you or your children are overly anxious about performance in school, work through your negative beliefs, especially the beliefs about the implications of school failure. Challenge those negative thoughts that the worth of a person or future prospects hinge entirely on academic grades. Good performance will be achieved only when you and your children manage or overcome your fears and discover your own personal worth.

6. Set goals. Enjoy setting goals for your children and yourself, so weaknesses can be transcended and full potentials can be reached. Study goals must be realistic and achievable. For example, encourage small steps to reach higher targets.

7. Motivate the need to learn. Achieving some goals will certainly motivate children to reach more challenging targets. Another motivating factor would be to understand that a child works primarily for herself and her future career. Apart from the external rewards that parents may promise, a child or teen must understand that studying well is an opportunity for self-development and personal improvement.

8. Provide interesting learning opportunities that engage your child. To encourage your children or teens to prepare for the new school year, expose them to activities that inspire them to learn about things that interest them. A visit to a museum in a particular area of interest for the child is a place to start. A day trip to several libraries outside your usual locale can also be a good idea. Look into library and civic programs that may be offered over the summer months at little or even no cost.

Additional Important Tips for Parents

1. Communicate with teachers and the school. Contact your child’s teachers at the start of the school year. Get acquainted with them and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student to learn and grow. Plan to keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress throughout the school year. And, consider serving on your local PTA or joining other parent groups that engage with and support your child’s school.

2. Take your child to the doctor, and make sure your child has health insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So, check your state’s immunization requirements (see link below for additional information). And, always keep your own copies of any medical records.

Sources & Resources

Get in Gear for the New School Year: Back-to-School Tips for Parents by

Eight tips to start the new school year by My English Pages

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

State Vaccination Requirements

For information about tools & resources for children & teens with reading challenges, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at