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February 19, 2017

      Get Ready to Learn!    
 
                We learn all of the time, but how often do we ever consciously prepare to learn?  Learning to prepare our brain can significantly ease the way for learning new and difficult concepts.  For example, I am often surprised when I talk to struggling readers about how they begin the process of reading a textbook.  Most just start at the first chapter and begin reading.  When I talk about previewing the entire book before reading, many look at me like I just told them something absurd, time consuming, and unnecessary.  After I explain what happens in the brain if they preview before reading, it’s like a light turns on and from that point on, they are hooked on previewing.  In fact, as they practice this skill, many begin to make connections in other areas of life or school where previewing or “pre-learning” helps them to master new concepts. 
               Here’s what happens in the brain when you preview or pre-learn.   In the case of a new textbook, the student looks at the Table of Contents, skims for interesting photos and illustrations, reads a few captions, reads the subtitles, skims for bolded vocabulary words, and checks to see how long or how difficult the text appears.  Each time the student previews one of these areas of a new book, the brain scans its memory stores for something the student already knows about the topic.  The brain begins to make connections and pull-up stored, related information.  Making connections jump-starts the learning process.  The more tidbits of information we have stored in our brain, the easier our brain will make connections.  (Children who have lots of experiences, lots of conversations, and lots of people reading to them have a natural hand-up on learning because they have more information to pull-up and make connections with.)  Even when the student is no longer previewing the textbook, the brain continues to make new and different connections in the background (That’s the diffuse brain we learned about in the last blog continuing to work for us!).  The student is increasing their learning effortlessly by simply previewing a textbook rather than doing just the hard part of reading the chapters.  Students report that their future reading of the text is easier and more engaging because of previewing before reading.
                  A student who learns science and math concepts easily, often automatically prepares to learn more than a student who struggles with difficult math and science concepts.  The stronger student previews material, reads the text, researches related materials on-line, talks to others about the concept, and generally immerses themselves in the new concept quite naturally without effort.  Often this happens because there is a deeper interest in the concept and more background knowledge.  As he or she learns more, their background knowledge increases, and their interest deepens even more. Contrast this with a struggling student.  There may have been little interest and background knowledge to start with.  The student doesn’t naturally do what the stronger student does, so the struggling student doesn’t immerse themselves, doesn’t build those connections, and continues to struggle.  Often, the struggling student has a mind-set that they aren’t good at this new concept anyways because they don’t know how to bridge the gap between strong and struggling.  Barbara Oakley’s research in A Mind for Numbers has found that preparing to learn and using the brain efficiently is more important than the focused study time all students are familiar with.
                  The struggling student needs to do more background knowledge building than the strong student to bridge the gap between what the strong student knows and understands and what the struggling student knows and understands. 

Here are some of the pre-learning strategies a struggling student can use:
1.  Preview the text, chapter, or unit of the book.
2.  Read and reread the chapter or unit, but leave an hour or more between readings (a day between readings is very effective).
3.  Google the concept or related research.
4.  Read an article on the subject.
5.  Watch a YouTube video on the subject.
6.  Listen to a TED Talk on the subject.
7.  Talk to someone knowledgeable.


                 You may be thinking that it takes a lot of time to do these things.  You are right!  The struggling student needs to leave time for building background knowledge, time for focused study time on the new concept, and time to allow the brain to work while in diffuse mode between these other activities.  The key is to give the brain plenty of time to absorb new learning and make new connections. 

    
Let us know what you think of this blog at cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240

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February 5, 2017

The Einstellung Effect

          In the last blog, we learned about the focused and diffused modes of the brain.  For many, this was a new idea, and new ideas are often difficult to grasp.  If we accept the difficulty and proceed patiently with new ideas, we can actually increase our learning of the new idea.  Often students get stuck because they expect complete understanding as soon as they are introduced to something new.  They can be so focused on learning everything at once that they actually block out a better or different way of perceiving the new information (Oakley, 2014).  This is called the Einstellung Effect.  It can be translated as “installing”, or we can think of it as installing a roadblock in the way of looking at the idea.   This often happens in science when our first hypothesis is misleading.  It can also happen in math and even in our personal life.  We hold to a particular solution and keep focusing on the same method to get to the solution, not allowing new and better ideas in (Gobet, 2008).  Students get stuck because they want to get through the assignment to get a good grade in the class, but instead they can be installing a roadblock in their understanding. 

          To remove the Einstellung roadblock, a learner needs to take a new approach.  A new approach can be found when you turn off your focused thinking and turn on your “big picture” diffuse mode.  You can do this by reading about the scientist behind your science assignment, going back to read the math textbook, googling the concept (something you might have just done to look up the Einstellung Effect), watching a math video on Kahn Academy, or talking to someone on the phone about a solution.  All of these strategies add background information to help your brain make new and novel connections for you.  Building background knowledge in any field increases learning success.

          When my college students have expressed concerns over getting stuck in one of their courses, I have often suggested the following: 
1.  Study the subject, math problem, or vocabulary words intensely for 45-60 minutes or so. 
2.  Walk away for a short break, maybe 30 minutes. 
3.  Return and study again with less intensity and for a short period of time, maybe 30-45 minutes. 
4.  Leave the studying for a long period, maybe overnight. 
Each time the student returns to the studying, the concept should come more easily and more clearly.  The key is to keep returning to study more.  Others might suggest a 25 minute on and 25 minute off cycle.  Remember during the diffused, relaxed brain mode not to enter into another focused activity like a video game, or even internet surfing depending on how intensely you go about it.

          If you are experiencing the Einstellung Effect in your studies or life, take some time to build background knowledge on your topic and get a new perspective.  Then, step away and give your brain a chance to relax. You may begin to realize that you go through the focused and diffuse modes many times throughout the day.  You will also likely notice that you have your most creative and “aha” moments during those diffuse mode times.   With this second look at focused and diffuse modes, I hope you deepened your understanding and added new strategies for effectively increasing learning.
  
Let us know what you think of this blog at cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240




January 22, 2017

There are Better Ways to Learn

            With the new year, comes a new blog series.  In previous blogs, we focused on literacy.  Now, we will transition to a focus on improving how we learn new information, especially when learning something challenging like math or science.   The learning strategies and research you will read about in this series can actually help anyone become better at anything.  There are common learning, practice, and study skills effective for all new learning situations.  This blog series will share some of this research.

             Have you ever had the experience of racking (yes, that spelling is correct) your brain to remember where you stored a document on your computer?  Out of frustration, you leave the task and take up doing something else.  When you return to looking for the document, more often than not, you can easily remember just where you stored it.  Have you ever struggled with finding just the right words when writing?  I have found that each I time I turn away from the writing and pursue something different, I return with fresh words that flow easily.  These are common examples of how we use our brains in a focused mode versus what Barbara Oakley in her fascinating book, A Mind for Numbers, calls the diffused brain mode.  With these two examples, we focused intently and then stepped back to allow the brain to relax.  When the brain is in that relaxed or diffused state, it can continue to work on a task even when another activity has taken its attention.  Research shows that actively utilizing the diffused mode of the brain can significantly increase your efficiency when problem solving or learning new tasks.  When in the focused mode, the brain makes few neural connections.  It sticks to the concepts you are guiding it to focus on.  On the other hand, when you allow the diffused brain to take over, your brain makes many neural connections as it filters that focused information throughout the brain allowing old ideas and new ideas to come together in unique ways (Wilson, 2010).   To learn about and be creative in math and science, we need to strengthen and use both the focused and diffuse modes (Immordino-Yang, 2012).

              You may not consider yourself to be naturally inclined towards math or science.  You also may assume that your child may not be, either.  Brain research shows that the way we learn difficult concepts may be as important as our natural tendencies (Oakley, 2014).  Oakley believes that by using the focused and diffuse modes, anyone can learn math and science concepts with deeper understanding.  When struggling with new learning, take a break from the focused attention you are applying.  Try a short walk, listen to some music, or clean up a room.  Just be careful not to jump into another focused activity like a video game- that would create a continued state of focus and it would prevent the brain from making new connections.  I am now going to walk away from this blog, check the laundry, and come back to proof-read before publishing…………………. Just as I expected!  The diffuse brain took over and brought better wording for my final revision- I hope you agree!

   Let us know what you think of this blog at cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240

  
December 31, 2016

Good Readers Ask Questions

            Did you try the “think aloud” reading activities suggested in the last blog (Dec. 10, 2016) to help your struggling reader?  In this blog, you will learn how good readers ask essential  questions while reading. 
 A good reader must ask questions of the text as they read.  Such questions keep a reader engaged with the text and help the reader to monitor their understanding of the text.  Here is an interesting learning theory tidbit-  When we are confused about something, simply formulating a question about it can actually answer that question without any further effort.  When applied to reading, asking questions about the text keeps the reader focused on their understanding of what they are reading and motivates the reader to resolve misunderstandings.

           A basic question readers must ask is, “What did I just read?” A good reader should briefly stop after each paragraph or so and ask this question.  As a reader gets into more difficult text, such as in high school or college, this question helps the reader to monitor how well the paragraph was understood.  Sometimes, a reader finds themselves reading and rereading the same words without thinking.  Asking this question and then answering it requires forced recall.  It will often break the cycle of reading words without thinking.  A brief written summary of the paragraph in the margin of the book or on a sticky note is an effective method of forcing recall of what they just read.  Here is another interesting learning theory tidbit- Forced recall is one of the most effective strategies for studying important information (Reodiger, 1978).  Multiple readings are much less effective than reading and recalling.  (Those short written summaries can then be used to review before a test.)

           It is also important to be aware of when you are confused in your reading.  A good reader asks, “What was confusing about what I just read?”  For example, while recently reading a story about Hurricane Sandy in Reader’s Digest, I was confused about how a named person fit into the chain of events.   If I had not focused on my confusion, I would not have stopped, thought about the person, and then checked back in the story to resolve my confusion.  Often, readers will just keep reading without resolving their confusion and so their comprehension suffers.  Asking and answering questions increases the reader’s awareness for the need to resolve confusion.  Sometimes, poorly written text is the cause of the confusion.  (Even textbooks can be poorly written.)  By asking questions, readers learn to recognize poorly written text.

          Asking questions does not come naturally to struggling readers.  As discussed in previous blogs, struggling readers may need to see how questioning works by having a good reader model it for them through a read aloud.  Even high school students can benefit from modeling.  Continue focusing on what is happening in your own thoughts as you read to your child by asking questions and resolving text confusion out loud.  You may notice that your own enjoyment of reading increases as a result.
  

Let us know what you think of this blog and literacy strategies at   cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240

  


December 10, 2016

What is Reading?

            Have you ever asked your child, “What is Reading?”  Most children will respond that it is figuring out the words, but few children will put importance on figuring out the meaning of the words.  We need to help children understand that reading is thinking about text to make meaning as they decode the words.  Decoding alone will not engage children in text so that they will want to keep reading.  Teaching children how to engage with text is often needed, especially with struggling readers.
      
          In the last blog, we discussed making predictions about what will happen in the story (fiction) or what will be learned in the text (non-fiction) based on the title.  Making predictions is one way for children to engage with the text and support comprehension.  In this blog, we will take another step into comprehension with the practice of making connections with text.  Can you recall a story that really spoke to you?  A story that reminded you of a familiar experience or person, and as you read the story, you vividly pictured that experience or person?  This is making connections with text.  Such connections make you want to read another story by this author and it spawns your enthusiasm for reading.  Many children need modeling to understand how to engage with text.  They need practice making connections, so they too can develop an interest in reading. 

            To model making connections, I encourage you to read aloud to your child, even with children who can already read to themselves.  Choose a book rich in vocabulary and imagery such as something by Patricia Polacco.  She tells warm tales about her family and heritage as she shares her upbringing among a large extended family.  As you read such a book to your child, stop and share who the characters remind you of in your family.  When the characters play hide and seek in the woods, stop and tell about a game you played as a young child.  Ask your child if a character brings to mind anyone or anything in his or her own life.   As you read aloud, engage in a “think aloud” so your child can “see” what is happening in your mind as you read.  As you connect with something in the text, put it into words and share it with your child. 

             The novelist E. L. Doctorow says, “…any book, if it is good, is a printed circuit for your own life to flow through.  You are imagining the words…and you are thinking of the various characters in terms of people you’ve known, not in terms of the writer’s experience, but your own.”  When your child interacts with the text, reading becomes important (Harvey, 2000).  Active reading, such as happens when your child makes personal connections to text, changes how your child interacts with text.  Your child begins thinking about what he or she is reading.   Thinking about text is reading and is the active practice of comprehension.  As you read aloud to your child and you share your connections, you are modeling comprehension for your child.  Often, comprehension is an abstract concept for a child, but your modeling and sharing will offer concrete practice in comprehension. 

  
  
Let us know what you think of this blog and literacy strategies at   cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240

  
  


September 30, 2016

Improve Your Child's Comprehension Through “Thinking Alouds” 

          We have all heard how important it is to read to our children.  Reading to children develops their vocabulary, their interest in books, and their knowledge on many topics, to name just a few of the good things that reading does for our children.  Did you know that you can also develop your child’s comprehension if you learn to “think aloud” as you read his or her favorite book?  A “think aloud” is sharing what you are thinking about as you read. 
         Comprehension happens inside the head.  It is not something a child can see, and so comprehension can be a mystifying process to a struggling reader.  Comprehension can also be described as an inner self-dialogue about meaning (Block & Israel, 2004).  Think about how hard it is for a struggling reader to develop an effective inner-dialogue while reading if they can’t see it happening in a good reader.  You are a good reader, and you can help your child “see” what is happening in your head while you read.
         Try this-  Before you start reading a book to your child, read the title and tell your child that you like to make a prediction about what you think the book will be about (fiction).  If the book is non-fiction, make a prediction or statement about something you hope to learn based on the title.  Share your prediction or statement and ask your child to share what they think is coming in the text.  Then think about what you know about the topic or the title and share this with your child.  Tell your child that good readers take inventory of what they know and don’t know about a topic so that they can learn more and enjoy the book more as they read.  You have just verbalized the cognitive processes that you do automatically when you pick up a book.  You have modeled those processes for your child and have begun to learn the art of a “think aloud” to help improve your child’s comprehension.   You have already taught your child important information about being a good reader and you haven’t even opened the book, yet!       

Let us know what you think of this blog and literacy strategies at   cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240

 
 
    
September 2, 2016

Building a New Neural Pathway to Help Your Child Read and Spell Sight Words

               
          Often, students struggle with reading and spelling Sight Words.  These words are also called High Frequency Words.  These words are special because we can’t sound out these words- How would you sound out w-a-s? or o-f?  or c-o-u-l-d?  No wonder kids have trouble with these words!  For the most part, kids are instructed to memorize these words through their visual memory.  This works for some kids, but many others need additional strategies to master the reading and spelling of these difficult words.  Visual memory can become “full” or overwhelmed as more and more words bombard our kids.  We want to create a new way for the brain to remember these words- a New Neural Pathway. 

A Multisensory Strategy to Create a
New Neural Pathway f or Remembering Sight Words (and other words such as vocabulary)

Steps to Success:

1.   Write one Sight Word on each of five index cards (three is also fine if your child is struggling with five words).  Write it big and with red marker.  The red color reminds kids that these words can’t be sounded out like other words.
2.  Have your child trace the word with his or her finger, saying the letters aloud and finishing with reading the word as they underline the word with the finger.
3.  Repeat step two with another finger.
4.  Repeat step two using the red marker tracing directly onto the card.
5.  For the fourth repetition, have the child write the word on another piece of paper with the red marker or pen, saying the letters, and finishing by reading the word.

NOTE-  Make sure that your child reads the letters each time, looks at the card as they read the letters, and finishes by reading the word.  Also, make sure they ARE NOT SOUNDING OUT THE LETTERS.

     In this manner, your children are seeing the words/letters, hearing themselves read the letters/words, feeling themselves say the letters/words in their mouth, and feeling the letters as they trace/write them.   As a result, your children are creating new neural pathways for the brain instead of using only the visual memory.

Alternatives- Use big paper instead of smaller index cards.  Use a dry erase board for step four.

          Let us know what you think of this blog and literacy strategies at   cjudge@sugarcreekeducationalconcepts.com.  

Blog Author-  Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT


Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240




    

August 6,2016

Some Final Thoughts About Reading Fluency

          There are a few more things I would like to say about Fluency before moving on to another subject regarding literacy.
          Fluent reading comes together without conscious thought for most of us, but for those who struggle with fluency, practice is needed.  Think about the skill of driving- we do many things simultaneously like braking, checking mirrors, steering, changing the radio, talking to someone, etc.  These behaviors are automatic once we have been driving for awhile.  When we were learning to drive, we needed to think about each step and practice each step.  I can remember learning to drive a car with manual gear (a stickshift).  If I wasn't thinking about each step, I stalled out the car with every gear change.  It is the same with reading.  A reader needs to practice the act of reading over and over until certain words are known automatically, punctuation is attended to when reading aloud, and less known words are decoded quickly.  Getting beyond basic reading skills takes a great deal of careful attention and practice.
          Beginning readers need to read word by word reflecting the fact the reader's mind is consumed with trying to process each word.  In contrast, a strong reader processes words automatically, as if without effort.  Research shows that the eyes of even good readers linger instantaneously as they process each word and even each letter.  The difference is that strong readers do it automatically while weaker readers need to consciously focus their attention on the process.  The more the reader reads the same words and sounds over and over, the more automatic this process will become.  
          Here's something interesting-  some learners can do a new skill after only 2 or 3 repetitions, others need 12 or more reps, and still others need 44 or more repetitions to learn a skill.  Now, let's relate that to reading.  One child will learn a high frequency word after only a few times seeing that word, but the struggling reader may need to see that word 40 or 50 times before the word sticks and can be identified the next time they see or spell that word in text.  That's only one word!  Think of all of the words we need to know automatically to be good readers.  In the next blog, I will address ways to increase these repetitions and how to create a new neural pathway, other than the visual pathway, to learn to read and spell these words.
     I find research about learning fascinating, and I hope you do as well! Let us know what you think or need!

Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT
Sugarcreed Educational Concepts


    
Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240



July 15, 2016

A Little More About Repeated Reading to Increase Reading Fluency

         Now that you have learned about Repeated Reading and have hopefully included it into your daily routine to support your struggling reader, you should be seeing an improvement in your child’s reading fluency.  Learning a little more about this strategy will help you to understand why it is so beneficial to your child’s reading success.
         Struggling readers are typically reading below grade level.  In school, text a child is expected to read is often several grade levels harder than his or her current grade level (especially science, social studies, and math text). For this reason, students need to be exposed to grade level text and above in order to be successful and confident readers. Repeated Reading is a research-based method to provide this exposure.  You might be asking yourself,  “Isn’t it too much for my child to read a level that they are not ready for?”  Or you might be asking, "Why not just let my child proceed at his or her own pace in reading level?  Why expose him or her to higher level text?"  There are several reasons to expose your child to challenging text.  First, you want his or her vocabulary (reading and oral vocabulary) to be challenged.  He or she may not be able to read the text independently, but that doesn't mean that he or she can't understand the vocabulary.  Secondly, they will also see more sophisticated sentence structure in higher level text which will enrich their writing.   Finally, you never want to underestimate your child's ability to pick up words, vocabulary, and spelling through challenging text.  Repeatedly seeing the same words will increase the likelihood that your child will be able to read those words in new text. 
       Many schools have small group reading instruction where the child gets the opportunity to master their instructional level and move to a higher instructional level.  This is very important!  While you child is mastering his or her instructional level, the class as a whole is expected to be reading at grade level or above and the class keeps moving forward.  There is a gap between where your child is currently and where your child is expected to be.  This gap will increase if an intervention is not in place.  Repeated Reading can address the gap and close it over time. 

        Here is another simple Repeated Reading method you can try-
1.  Read the challenging text for one minute to your child as the child follows along.
2.  Reread the same text for one minute with your child as you set the pace and demonstrate good expression and attention to punctuation.
3.  Your child reads the same text for one final minute independently.  Repeat phrases or sentences if it is not read fluently.
Three minutes a day can make amazing gains! 

As always, let us know how you are doing and if we can support your progress!

Mary Bower, M.Ed., COGT
Sugarcreek Educational Concepts (contact info. below)

  

June 8, 2016


Repeated Reading to Support Fluency and Reading Comprehension

       In the last we blog, we promised to give you a research-based method for improving Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension Repeated Reading is an easy and effective method to achieve these goals.  (You may want to reread the last blog to refresh your memory.)

Here is how to do Repeated Reading with your child:

1.  Read a paragraph (or sentence by sentence or a few sentences at a time) aloud to your child as you make sure they are carefully following with their eyes.  Don't slow down for your child.  Instead, you set a normal pace with expression and good pauses at periods and commas, etc.
2.  Reread the same passage as your child tries to read with you as you set the pace.  Be careful not to slow down too much and don't allow your child to race you.
3.  For the third reading, your child reads the same passage by him or herself.  If a sentence is choppy, if the child doesn't stop at punctuation, or if expression is not used, have the child repeat the sentence.

  You want this to be a positive experience.  Your child should be experiencing high levels of success because the text is familiar to them after three reads.  You can do use this method for just a short amount of time each day so that the experience remains always positive.  Read a paragraph or two each day, a whole page, or work through a book in this method.  It is better to do small amounts of successful reading, than push forward and have the child dread the experience.  If you do a little of this method each cay, these small  lessons will add up to lots of gain in reading fluency!

   You can track your child's fluency progress by letting them read a paragraph each week by themselves before you start the repeated reading.  You should notice that your child recognizes more words automatically.  You should start to see a gain in reading confidence as well as fluency and prosidy (reading with expression).

Give this method a try and let us know how it works for you.  If you have any questions, you can contact us!


Mary Bower, M.Ed, Master Teacher, COGT
Sugarcreek Educational Concepts Certified Orton-Gillingham Tutor (contact info. below)





May 22, 2016

Lack of Oral Reading Fluency May Be Why Your Child Struggles with Comprehension

          Oral Reading Fluency is the ability to read "like you speak".  When we speak, we accurately choose words to communicate, we use a rate of speech that keeps the interest of the listener, and we use expression to help make our point clearer.   Oral Reading Fluency is the same thing while reading out loud-  words are read accurately, are read at a steady rate (not too fast and not too slow), and are read with appropriate expression.  (Expression in reading is known as prosody.)   You know a reader lacks fluency when you notice that he or she has to sound out many words, there is difficulty with Sight Words (also known as High Frequency Words or Word Wall Words), and their reading sounds choppy, hesitant, or robotic.  
          Oral Reading Fluency is highly correlated to comprehension.  If you are wondering why your child doesn't comprehend what is read, lack of Oral Reading Fluency could be the problem.  In a study conducted by Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, and Jenkins using four comprehension measures, Oral Reading Fluency was shown repeatedly to be highly correlated to good comprehension.
         You may be thinking that the struggling reader will catch up if he or she would just spend more time reading.  Well, according to the National Reading Panel Report from 2000, www.nationalreadingpanel.org , reading alone will not significantly impact the fluency of a struggling reader and thus will not address comprehension problems.  Here's why-  When a fluent reader reads for ten minutes, he or she reads about 2,000 words while the struggling reader only reads about 500 words for the same amount of time.  The fluent reader will get stronger while the struggling reader will not read enough words to make up the difference.  Their fluency will not improve fast enough and their comprehension will continue to suffer.

          Now that you are asking how you can improve your child’s Oral Reading Fluency, look for the next blog in about two weeks for a research-based answer!

Mary Bower, M.Ed, Master Teacher, COGT
Sugarcreek Educational Concepts Certified Orton-Gillingham Tutor (contact info. below)
  




5-7-16

Dear Friends,

Every two weeks we will be adding insightful blogs about education on this page. We encourage you to visit this site to gain insights into educating your child as well as education in general.

Enjoy!

Christopher J. Judge
Owner/President, Sugarcreek Educational Concepts

46 East Franklin Street, Suite #1, Bellbrook, Ohio 45305
937-848-3260

15 South Main Street Suite #12, Springboro, Ohio 45066
937-748-8240