In my "reading tree" model (left), fluency is one of the components to reading comprehension.  If your child is having trouble with reading fluently, then here are some activities to do WITH your child:

1.  Choral Reading
2.  Paired Reading
3.  Echo Reading

Today we will discuss choral reading... stay tuned for paired reading and echo reading later this week.

Choral Reading:

The following quote comes from ReadWriteThink and describes the research that is found behind choral reading.
"Support for choral reading is found in several reading theories and educational paradigms, including Dowhower (1987), Rosenblatt (1978), Samuels (1979), and Schreiber (1980). Through repeated readings of the text, the reader increases sight word vocabulary and ability to decode words quickly and accurately. This fluent reading enables the reader to spend less time on decoding and have greater comprehension of the text (Pikulski & Chard, 2005)."

Choral reading is designed to help a child become more fluent with his/her reading.  You will want to begin with a easier text selection in the beginning.  This way your child will get comfortable with the process of choral reading.  However, begin to select texts that are harder and harder.  This will allow your child to have access to texts that he/she would not ordinarily be able to read on his/her own.  He/she will then have success with a harder text.  As he/she practices reading at this harder level, your child is encountering more difficult vocabulary.  This gives you the opportunity to explain the meaning of the words so your child is learning the words and learning how to read the words.  This builds his/her confidence, sight word knowledge, and vocabulary.

When choosing material to read for this activity, consider things other than stories.  You could choose poems, song lyrics, a letter, etc.  Of course, books will work as well.  Remember, the more interesting the material (whether it's interesting, "colorful"/descriptive, funny, or rhymes), the more fun this activity will be.

How do you do choral reading?
  1. The adult reads the selection first while the child follows along silently
  2. The adult and the child reads through the selection together (yup... at the same time... like a CHORUS... get it?  CHORAL reading)
  3. Read through it in unison until the child feels very comfortable with that piece and his/her reading is fluent!
  4. Select a new piece

For more information, you can check out readingrockets.org
I've worked with kids of all ages.  Typically kids think that they are getting bored with reading around 4th-5th grade.  If your child is a struggling reader, then this may happen earlier (more like 3rd grade).  We are dealing with two distinct groups of kids in this blog post - kids who are simply apathetic readers (but are proficient) and kids who claim to be apathetic readers because they are actually struggling readers.

First for the apathetic readers who are proficient... Have you tried every trick in the book?  You've bribed, you've threatened, you've begged and pleaded?  Kids will claim that they, "don't like to read."  However, I like to argue that they just don't like what they are reading.  Those are two different statements.  Most newspapers and magazines are actually written at a 4th grade reading level. Find out what you child would WANT to read and offer to get him/her a subscription to a magazine of his/her choice (of course, it must be age appropriate also).  When the magazine comes in, they get to read it if they have all of their school reading done.  Make sure to go to your local library or bookstore with a magazine section and check out the magazine to make sure it fits within your parameters of acceptable.  Here are some ideas:
Sports - ESPN magazine, NFL magazine, Sports Illustrated (for kids)
Girlie Stuff - American Girl Magazine, Discovery Girls Magazine
Animals/Nature:  National Geographic, National Geographic for kids, Ranger Rick, Zoobooks
Once your child sees that he/she likes the magazine then he/she can't say, "I don't like to read".  Instead he/she can say, "I don't like WHAT I'm reading."  However, learning to read the stuff you have to read is part of life.  Finding something your child will read as a reward is such a benefit because then your child won't be an apathetic reader forever!

Now, if your child is claiming that he/she is an apathetic reader, but you know that your child is struggling, then you need to get your child help right away!  Ask around if there is a good reading tutor at your school (sometimes teachers will do some before or after-school tutoring).  You also want to make sure that you are reading at home.  Find out your child's reading level and let him/her pick out a book that he/she would like to read at home.  Make sure to set aside time to read TOGETHER.  Stay tuned tomorrow for more specific tips of HOW to read together to help your child achieve reading.  If you are interested in my "reading tree" model, then click here for the blog post from September 6, 2011.