Fluency Development Lesson
In all my years of experience, I have witnessed the importance of development of sentence structure in teaching reading and writing. Students will learn to write sentences in a systematic process. As part of our responses to poetry, I have students draw a picture and write a sentence about their picture, including key vocabulary words from the poem in both their sentence and their pictures.
I like to use poetry from the book, When the Moon is Full, by Penny Pollack and illustrated by Mary Azarian (BookPartners, LLC 2011). Penny has created a poem for each month, so this gives us a chance to talk about the months and the seasons, as we learn new vocabulary words.
Writing and drawing about the poem will reinforce new vocabulary and improve students word choice and sentence structure in their writing. For this month’s poem, a second grade ESL student wrote:
“I like the moon behind the branches, because it is like the trees are playing with a ball.”
This shows complex sentence structure and also an extension of the poetic image, of the moon as a ball that the trees are playing with. The student has shown great skills in visualizing as well as creativity. She has written a long sentence, starting with a simple “I like…” and then adding to the sentence with the image of the trees playing with a ball.
After the students write their sentences and draw their pictures, they show them to a friend and read their sentence out loud. I go around the classroom, listening to the students read their sentences. They have plenty of opportunities to practice the “rare words” found in the poems. And the woodcut prints by Mary Azarian never fail to captivate and inspire the students.
Fluency Development Lessons
I use the Fluency Development Lesson, as I was trained by Lynne S. Kulich, who I first met at the International Literacy Association (ILA) conference, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona a few years ago. I was so inspired when Lynn explained how well this lesson worked with her ESL students. We both shared the same desire to find the best and fastest strategies to support our ESL students.
Both the poetry and the activities of the Fluency Development Lessons have never let me down. I have added a few activities of my own to the lesson, such as a close activity as well as this drawing and writing activity. My students and I have had countless hours of fun with these lessons. Students are engaged in the lessons, and their reading comprehension and fluency climb upward. Thanks to Lynn Kullich for sharing the fluency model that she has researched and developed.