When you are having your students reread, make certain that they can decode all of the words in the book. That means that the reader knows all of the phonics concepts that are used in the words. However, they may have to practice re-reading of a passage several times to develop a fluency skill. Simply knowing how to use phonics concepts does not automatically make a reader fluent.
For example, let's look at the sentence: The rain caused by hurricane maelstrom was bad.
A reader may know how to pronounce consonants such as r, n, and c, the vowels or "vowel teams" such as a/ e/ i, o, u/ai/au/ur/-ane/ae. These letters are part of the sound/symbol Code of the English language that uses symbols (written letters) and sounds (what we are to say when we read the symbols).
Re-reading is a good strategy to provide practice and fluency. However, we do not want a student to hear the adult read first and then repeat what that adult has read. We want readers to be independent and not dependent readers. Be on the alert for someone who is simply shadow-reading, parroting or doing "echo reading" but not actually sounding out the words independently.
In other words, the reader may be reciting rather than reading. Now, while there is value in recitation, we must never confuse it with reading.
Know the Difference Between Re-reading and Reciting
One day, as I was walking up and down the aisles in a grocery store, picking up a few items, I encountered a mother and her young son, about age 8. Tucked under his arm was a familiar book, Green Eggs and Ham. After checking out, I was walking to my car and I heard the boy
behind me reading Green Eggs and Ham. I was quite impressed with his fluency and expression, so I -- teacher that I am -- turned around to compliment him.
There he was, walking behind his mother, saying the words of the book correctly, clearly
and with enthusiasm – with his book still closed and tucked under his arm! Obviously, he was reciting, not reading.
On another occasion, I was asked to meet with a 5th grade boy whose teacher was recommending either retention or testing for special education services. The mother was concerned because the boy was big for his age, articulate, bright, and creative and loved to read. She couldn’t understand why he was failing in all of his classes. There was one exception: he did exceptionally well on math computation, but did poorly on story problems.
When I met, the boy had brought one of the books he enjoyed reading. He opened it and proudly read much of Cat in the Hat to me. His mother beamed as he read. However, I noticed that as he looked down at the pages, his eyes didn’t move left to right. I then handed the boy a passage from a book at that same grade level to have him do a “cold reading.” The boy began to get flushed and to shake. In fact, he was terrified! His mother and I were quite concerned and immediately, I took the book away and told him that he didn’t need to read. It took us a while to calm him down.
His mother explained that in his classroom, all students were expected to get up in the front of the class and read. She said that he would bring home a book and have her read and re-read it many, many times to him until he could “read” it back to her without mistakes. She had no idea that he was memorizing it.
When the boy became comfortable with me, I tested him and found that this fifth-grader was illiterate, knowing only a few sight words. He had no phonics decoding skills whatsoever. After taking him through the Phonics Steps to Reading Succes systematic and phonics blend program, he was so thrilled to really read. His mother transferred him to another school where he was achieving A’s in all of his classes much to everyone’s joy!
When you are having your students reread, make certain that they can decode all of the words in the book. That means that the reader knows all of the phonics concepts that are used in the words. For example, let's look at the sentence: The rain caused by hurricane maelstrom was bad.
A reader must know how to pronounce consonants such as r, n, and c, the vowels or "vowel teams" such as a/ e/ i, o, u/ai/au/ur/-ane/ae. These letters are part of the sound/symbol Code of the English language that uses symbols (written letters) and sounds (what we are to say when we read the symbols).