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"Fluency Battles" prove transformative for reading success

March 06, 2020 - Trending in Schools

If you walk into a fourth grade classroom at Lanier Elementary and find students singing and dancing, chances are they aren't horsing around. They're taking part in a "fluency battle," an innovative way to learn about reading comprehension. 

Students take popular songs you may have heard on the radio and dig into their meanings, taking away key details and themes. Then, the boys in the class perform against the girls.

Kathie Elam is the teacher who brings literacy lessons to life.

"We start every fluency battle by previewing the song and getting the gist of it, trying to understand it. We take apart the vocabulary words," said Elam.

Students also learn to pronounce the words and enunciate them properly while learning about context clues. Then, Elam says pairing the dance moves with vocabulary words really makes it stick.

"A lot of our kids aren't fluent. They are choppy, word by word readers. So when we read songs and it's something they're excited about, they're able to hear the way the words move together," said Elam.

Students took the hit song "High High Hopes" by Panic at the Disco and found key details, context clues and themes before battling it out in front of classmates.

"This is one hundred percent standards aligned, and it fits into what we do every day and makes it exciting," said Elam. "This has completely transformed my struggling readers."

 

 

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