Class comments from Kathy:
I was excited to see the example in the book that described a good way to begin teaching varying sentences was to model. That is exactly what I did with my class last year when I dabbled in teaching sentence fluency. I wrote a story similar to the boring beach story in the book. Mine was about playing at the park. I started every sentence with we and the sentences were short and simple. Then next to it I had a story with descriptive words, varied sentence lengths and different words starting the sentences. I started by asking which one was more enjoyable to listen to. They were able to respond correctly and talk about what made it more interesting to listen to. We then focused on the poorly written park story and how we could rewrite it to make it have more sentence fluency. We never got past the modeling and shared writing portion of this because the school year ended. I am excited to try some more of the ideas in Spandels's book this year.
Three times a week we work on fluency in our reading. A lot of this is done with reader's theater. This is a great way for students to work on their fluency and expression. Tying some of these writing ideas to their reading fluency will truly help them make the connection between reading and writing. Might be fun to give them a reader's theater written simply with no sentence fluency. Then with their partners or groups, have them rewrite their parts with sentence fluency. Then they can present the revised reader's theater to the class.
I think I will bundle this trait with word choice. Part of what makes a sentence fluent is choosing the right words.
Internet Resources for Conducting Readers Theater
(From the International Reading Association.)
Reader’s Theater from the ProTeacher’s Archive
Lots of lesson plans and links to materials.
Reader's Theater Lesson Plans (Grades 3-5)
4 60 minute lessons by Laurie A. Henry, Ph.D.
Reader's Theater Scripts