It is Canada Day, but H. and I worked anyhow. The key to this intervention is *intensity* and daily practice. Today we practiced finger-point reading for 90 minutes, wrote a hamburger essay, played with affixes for ‘DICT’ (pre+dict+ion, contra+dict+ory, dict+ate+or), and talked about mindset and education on our break. And we did a ‘Repeated Reading’ drill.
‘Repeated Reading’ is a technique for building fluency or ‘reading speed’. It builds on Automaticity Theory, and this paper by the great psychologist Jay Samuels lays out the theory and practice here.
Slow reading degrades comprehension, if you try to read this post at one-word-per-second then you will quickly see why. As well, slow readers simply can’t find enough time for the volume of reading required in many professions.
The technique of ‘Repeated Reading’ is surprisingly simple. We pick a piece of text that will take about a minute to read, and practice it once. Then we read it again and again against a stopwatch, graphing out the results. We expect to see a ‘learning curve’ emerge, steep on the left and flattening as we get faster. When we get to the flat part of the curve then we are done – usually six or seven trials.
I use the stopwatch feature of my smartphone, and draw a crude graph as we run each trial. Below are our runs from yesterday and today. Yesterday’s curve wasn’t as pretty, but H. was still figuring how to speed up. Today’s ‘Learning Curve’ is exactly that.
I tried a Repeated Reading drill with H. back in December when we had our 11-day crash program, but we focused on Blending and didn’t stick to it. http://communityreading.org/…/christmas-crash-reading-day-7/
Now we are really reading, and fluency is one of the skills we need to develop. We will be doing a Repeated Reading drill every day.