reading out loud
I believe that becoming competent at reading out loud is critical to student success. The process of decoding text, speaking the words, and processing the language back to the brain through the ears is a much larger experience than the largely invisible and inaudible activity of silent reading. Listening to students read out loud affords me the opportunity to assess a student's independent reading level, understanding or confusion of text, mastery of vocab with, and it creates an opportunity to engage in dialogue about text. The sticky wicket is that reading out loud is difficult, frustrating, and demoralizing for many students.
Kylene Beers offers usable, effective strategies for the read aloud arena. I am a big fan of Beer's entire book. She offers teachers ways to collaborate with students that are risk safe and forward moving. In chapter 11(Word Recognition, What comes after "sound it out"?), Beers reccommends extensive reading at instructional and independent reading levels, discussions about the readings, opportunities for writing, a strong read-aloud program, comprehension strategy instruction, and meaningful vocabulary development. Beers reminds us that "nonfluent readers are most often nonfluent because of a lack of practice with reading" and gives us an opportunity to examine our instructional practices with these readers. On page 218-219 she shares 10 questions for teachers to consider and use to improve reading instruction.
If you have not read Beers book, I highly recommend that you borrow it and take a look at it.