Fluency is such an important component of reading. Low fluency rate may not always be detected until late elementary or early middle school. Suddenly, a student is expected to read more curriculum in a short period of time, and is not able to keep up with his or her studies. This is one area of reading that I wanted to tweak so my students would be well prepared.
I realize that in order to increase a student’s fluency rate, he or she needs to practice reading. I reflected back to my personal experience of joining a book club. My book club read a different genre each month . . . i.e. we didn’t read chick lit. each month. I thought this must be what it’s like for my students. You know, reading a book that’s not really your personal taste. Whenever the genre wasn’t my taste, it took me all month to read it. Most months I would have a cram session a couple of days before my book club met to finish the book. UGH! This must be what my students feel like!
I decided to do something a little different to help my students. On Wednesdays, students are encouraged to bring a book of their choice to school. It can be a book they checked out of the library or one of their personal books. If they don’t have one, they may check a book from my class library. I give them 20 minutes of time to read in class. Then we meet in book club groups. Students are grouped differently each week. Sometimes we meet according to the genre of the book. Other time I will have students meet in groups of 3 and do a book talk, mini-commercial about their book.
Book club is making a difference! I’m sure the key factor is CHOICE! Choice of book and some weeks they have choice of assignment.