I think that the fluency building is in doing the rereadings of the easier reading when you get to third grade. I
find that the poems and easier books that I read with my second graders are the ones that I totally build on
for fluency. That said, I also would like to add ---
In third grade last year a teacher was trying to show the kids that they could solve mysteries in the books
they were reading. The hints to solve the mystery was right in the chapters if they noticed them. This is what
Chapter 1 -- teacher walked through the chapter doing a picture walk saying aloud some of the vocabulary
that the kids would need. Then the children read chorally in pairs. She set the purpose as, "find clues to
solve the mystery". After partners were finished reading, the teacher had a whole group discussion. It was
BAD! The kids didn't find any real clues, they could hardly discuss what the point of the chapter was
about. They knew the characters, the setting, the problem. But they didn't GET that they were reading a
mystery and looking for clues. She wrote on the board CLUES TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY. She listed
the few off the wall comments under it.
At this point, I suggested she keep with the same teaching point -- looking for clues. She wanted to reread
the chapter to them stopping at every clue. I suggested that she read chapter 1 to them if she wanted to but
then GO on. Don't make an emphasis on the right answer. We wanted the kids to search for mystery clues,
not "find the answer the teacher is looking for." So she was reluctant but she said, ok (her tone implied I
Chapter 2 -- She did the picture walk again. Even though the chapter was new, most of the vocabulary
was repeated from the first chapter. Again the kids read in partners looking for clues to the mystery. This
time the stronger reader read then the weaker reader echoed. They discussed clues. She had them write a
quick prediction of what they thought would happen (3-5 sentences). Those who wanted to share did.
After class we talked again. She was saying, "Oh Debbie! This isn't working! They aren't doing it!" I said,
"Be patient." I suggested tomorrow that she read the page and have them echo read. The book wasn't too
hard but I knew she was worrying that the kids didn't know words and therefore, needed more teacher
Chapter 3 -- She set the purpose -- Look for clues to the mystery. See if your prediction is coming true.
She had them sit shoulder to shoulder with their partner (only 10 books). She read a page then they read it
(about 10 lines). Then she said, any clues? Anyone want to change your prediction? She continued
through the chapter, stopping after each page asking any clues? want to change your prediction? ... This
chapter was better analyzed. But the kids still had ownership. They added on to their predictions or changed
After class we talked about the scaffolding that she was using -- how even though the kids could read all the
words, they weren't looking for meaning. They could answer the story map questions, but not the "meat"
questions. She was now showing them what she meant by look for the clues in the chapter. She felt the
class went much smoother.
Set the purpose -- read with your partner for clues to mystery and check if your prediction is coming true or
what changes you are making in the prediction.
This chapter she let them partner read however they wanted. She realized this below level book was a
book they knew all the words to. They just didn't know the thinking yet. She gave them sticky notes to help
them remember where the clues were. During class discussion kids were making predications that made
since in the chapter AND finding clues.
After class she said, "They get it. They really do"
Chapter 5 (last one)
Set the purpose -- find out about the end of the mystery.
Class discussion afterwards. The kids started talking about how they knew the solution. My friend refered
them back to the books. Where was that clue? What chapter was it in? They were looking through the
chapters, giving page numbers etc. They were so excited and so was the teacher! :) smiles
I am not telling which mystery series I used because this would work with any. The kids did read more of
these mysteries making lists of clues. They moved on into ssr time and the mystery basket was very popular.
:) Remember, model, enable, show them.... If it doesn't work on the first day, try it again. :) deb