Ear to Ear Reading...Building Reading Fluency & Expression
One of my favorite ways to let students practice reading for automaticity, fluency and expression is with Ear to Ear Reading. There are so many benefits to this easy to implement strategy! Because it is done in pairs (or triplets in rare cases) it lowers the affective filter for students and helps to build interdependence among students.
Ear to Ear Reading was initially presented by Jim Rogers as way for partners to practice reading in pairs. When implementing this strategy, explicit instruction on how it looks and sounds is important. The teacher should model it in front of the class. This can be done either with a coteacher or with a student volunteer.
Here’s how it is implemented:
This is what it may sound like using the poem My Brother’s Bug by Jack Prelutsky:
Partner A: "My brother’s bug was green and plump,"
Partner B: "It did not run, it could not jump,"
Partner A: "It had no fur for it to shed,"
Partner B: "It slept all night beneath his bed."
And the partners continue to read this way until they finished the poem. If they still have time, they reread the poem again and again practicing their expression, automaticity and fluency until the time is up.
Ear to Ear Reading provides a safe, fun way for students to practice reading, gain fluency, automaticity, and expression while working with a partner. I first learned about it as a Tier III GLAD Trainer and have since used it successfully with my own students and with students in classrooms where I cotaught. It fits neatly into the reading workshop during partner reading. When implemented with fidelity and consistent routine, it can make a huge impact! Give it a try and let me know how you and your students enjoy it!
Brechtel, M. (2001). Bringing it all together: Language and Literacy in the multilingual classroom. San Diega, CA: Dominie Press.
A workshop setting is very conducive to differentiation. But how are we ensuring that our ELLs are not being forgotten? How are we making sure that the workshop setting is meeting the needs of our ELLs and pushing them forward in language AND literacy?
First and foremost, as teachers we have to remember that when we work with students who are learning English as a second language, we are not only teaching them to read and write, we are simultaneously teaching them the English language, language proficiency. It is important to keep a pulse of the students' levels in listening, speaking, reading and writing in English.
Being aware that some students come from countries where letters and symbols are different from ours is important too. Teaching ELLs how to decode letters will help empower them to read. Being explicit about letter sounds, capitals and lower case letter, and punctuation can be taught in small groups or during individual reading conferences with ELLs. Nevertheless, these are important lessons that our ELLs might have misssed depending on when they came to the US.
Often we ask our students to "sound it out...does it sound like it makes sense or sound correct?" Well, for an English language learner that type of question is difficult to answer. Some haven't heard enough examples of the English language to know if it sounds correct. For many, the classroom is the only place where they experience the English language. With ELLs, explicit instruction and modeling goes a long way.
If we want our students be excel in academics, we have to help them excel in language at the same time. Our ELLs need multiple opportunities to listen, speak, read and write during the day and this includes the workshop time. Recently while at an assessment training, the presenter discussed accommodations. I loved how she phrased it. She said that accommodations do not give ELLs an advantage. Accommodations level the playing field. I look at it this way...if a little girl can't reach the water fountain, what would we do? Would we let the child go without water until she grows tall enough to reach it herself even though she needs the water? Would we go get the maintaince crew to LOWER the fountain? NO! Of course not! The child deserves and needs the water and we will not lower the standards for her to reach it. We will give her a scaffold and little by little pull it back. The scaffold might be a stepping stool or some other type of device to allow her equal access to the water. She will get the same water that everyone else gets. Level the playing field.
See the document below for ideas on how to level the playing field for ELLs during workshop. Feel free to email me or reach out to me on Twitter and I will send you more information on this document.
All Academic Conversations Academic Vocabulary Academy Accommodating Accommodations Administrator Anchor Chart Assumptions Automaticity Bloom's Taxonomy Building Relationships Content Objectives Cooperative Learning Coteach CoTeacher Courses Differentiate Differentiation Discourse Ear To Ear Reading ELLs ELPS Empathy English Learners Expression Fluency Foundations Getting To Know Your ELLs GLAD Gradual Release Immigrant Instructional Language Development Language Level Language Objectives Language Rich Levels Linguistic Maslow Maslow's Hierarchy Model Modeling Nonfiction Observation Online PD Oral Language Partners Picture Talks Procedural Professional Development Programs Q Triple S A Readers' Workshop Reading Scaffolding Sentence Starters Sentence Stems Small Group Somebody Wanted But So Structured Conversations Summarization Supporting ELLs SWBS Talk Talking Heads Teacher The Power Of Talk Toolkit Total Physical Response TPR Verbal Vocabulary Workshop Writers' Workshop Writing