The purpose of this paper is to specify an interesting story and design reading activities around it to increase the reading fluency of students. The paper starts with a synopsis of The Cay, a tale of survival, in which a young boy is blinded by a severe blow on the back of his head while his ship which makes him entirely dependent on Timothy. The adventurous nature of this story makes it interesting for the students to read and carry out different activities on it, thus contributing to their reading fluency The Cay The book is written by Theodore Taylor.
The story deals with a young boy’s misconceptions about race and a black sea man, Timothy, with whom he gets shipwrecked on a deserted island. The young boy, Philip, is blinded by a severe blow on the back of his head while his ship was destroyed by the enemy torpedo. This makes him entirely dependant on Timothy, at least initially through his stay at the island. As Philip explores the island and learns the art of survival and relies less on Timothy, their relationship and mutual respect grows for each other, when they learn to survive and live within the means available at the island.
Their struggle to face the odds and survive on an isolated island with no food and water, indeed makes this an interesting tale of survival. (Polette, 1995) I’ll be employing following five different activities for the children to work with the story. Student-Adult Reading In student-adult reading, the class will be divided into small groups and each group will be assigned a chapter from the novel to read. The student will read out loud from the novel with me while the rest of the children listen.
I will read the text first, which will actually give the student a model of fluent reading. This is followed by the student reading the same text, while I would assist and encourage him or her during the process. I would repeat this process with individual student until the subject gains fluency in reading the particular passage. (Fluency & Learning to Read – Reading Fluency) c In this activity the students will read a particular passage from the novel along with me as a group. To carry out this activity, each student will be provided his/her own copy of the novel.
I would read a particular passage starting from the first chapter so that the children begin to comprehend the story ad they are familiarized with the words. After reading a particular passage I would re-read the passage aloud to model fluent reading but this time asking the students to join in and read the passage along with me. This would be repeated three to five times on selected days of the week. At the end of this routine students should be able to read the text independently. (Reading Fluency, 2002) Tape-assisted Reading
This activity follows a different method. Students are supposed to read from their books while they hear and follow a fluent reader read the text from the book on an audiotape. For this activity to be a success the recorded voice should be reading the text at about 80-100 words per minutes. Each student must have his/her copy of the novel in front of him/her and the recorded voice should be loud and audible. To start with, student should point along the text with his finger while listening to the recorded voice.
After this practice the student must read out the text aloud with the tape. Reading the text loud with the tape must continue until the student gains fluency and can read the material without the support of the recorded voice. Fluency is important in readind as it allows the particiants to groud words together and focus more on their meanning rather than decoding the text. On the other hand less fluet readers direct more attention towards word recognition than comprehension of the given text.
The above mentioned exercise is therefore aimed at easing the hesitation in reading. (Fluency, 2001) Partner Reading Partner reading is an activity which involves a couple of students taking turns to read the text aloud to each other. This would turn out to be an effective reading practice in which fluent readers can be paired with less fluent ones. The less fluent reader will use the fluent reader’s style of expression as a model and learn quickly. The better skilled reader provides help to the weak reader with word recognition and assists him in the process.
Another approach to partner reading is check list reading where both the partners are given checklists. After explaining the students how they can change the pitch of their voice to make it more realistic, each students is asked to read out the passage to their respective partners thrice following the above instructions. At the end each students submits a report regarding their partner’s fluency which can be improved upon in the next session. (Murray) Readers’ theatre Readers’ theatre involves students rehearsing and performing a play for their fellow students and friends.
Characters from the novel can be assigned to different students who can then act out the play by reading from their individual scripts derived from the novel. ‘The Cay’ will be a suitable book for this practice as it is rich in dialogues. This kind of activity makes reading more appealing and enhances fluency by providing students with the opportunity to interact with their peers on a different level.
References Fluency & Learning to Read – Reading Fluency. (n. d. ). Retrieved July 2008, from http://www. time4learning.com/readingpyramid/fluency. htm Fluency. (2001). Retrieved July 2008, from Reading Rockets: http://www. readingrockets. org/teaching/reading101/fluency Murray, D. B. (n. d. ). Developing Reading Fluency. Retrieved July 2008, from http://www. auburn. edu/%7Emurraba/ Polette, N. (1995). The Cay by Theodore Taylor. Retrieved July 2008, from http://www. nancypolette. com/LitGuides/cay. pdf Reading Fluency. (2002). Retrieved July 2008, from http://readingserver. edb. utexas. edu/downloads/primary/guides/Fluency_Presentation. PDF
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