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USING DIGITAL TEXTS TO PROMOTE FLUENT READING

Author(s): Andrea Thoermer and Lunetta Williams


Source: The Reading Teacher, Vol. 65, No. 7 (April 2012), pp. 441-445
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the International Literacy Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41853052
Accessed: 27-06-2017 11:55 UTC

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TEACHING TIP |

USING DIGITAL
TEXTS TO
PROMOTE
FLUENT
RFAPTNG
Andrea Thoermer * Lunetta Williams

of digital texts offers a different literacy


continue to change how
students learn and can motivate students to want to

As continue develop, studentsdeveltechnol


op, educatorsogy educators learn to change and and the how Internet read. Students are able to manipulate
have the opportunity to access font size, dictionary usage, text-
digital texts via the Internet to )-spe ch features, and note-taking
supplement reading instruction. acuities (Larson, 2010). The individual
Moreover, reading instruction that r^ nnaannipipuulaltaitoinonof)-tshpeseecfheataucrueistiaefs ofrodnst read. avenue can size, motivate Students (Larson, features, dictionary for readers, of students these are 2010). and able usage, which, features note-taking The to to want text- manipulate individual in af ords itself, to
incorporates digital texts can serve students some autonomy or self-regulation
to motivate students to want to read in the learning proces , factors that can serve
and help increase students' reading ^ to motivate and strongly influence a student's
fluency in the classroom today. i reading suc es (Schunk, 20 1).
Digital texts can be easily accessed on
desktop, laptop, or handheld computers
as well as electronic tablets such as the Kindle, Andrea Thoermer is a doctoral student at the University of Florida,
Gainesvil e, USA; e-mail andreat@ufl.edu.
iPad, and Nook, which, according to Larson (2007),
Lunet a Wil iams is an as ociate profes or at the University of North
are preferable over computers because of their size Florida, Jacksonvil e, USA; e-mail lmwil a@unf.edu.
and portability. The unique medium and scalability

The Reading Teaci er Vol.65 Is ue? p . 4 1-4 5 DQ:10.1TO2'TRTR.01065 O 2012 International Reading Association I Ad

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USING DIGITAL TEXTS TO PROMOTE FLUENT READING

When improving the accuracy, rate, modeling of the fluency elements (e.g.,
" Fluency is a bridge
and prosodie features of fluency, it is accuracy, automaticity, prosody) that

between a student'simportant to provide students with proficient readers exhibit. In addition,


engaging instructional methods and reading aloud provides opportunities

ability to decode strategies on a daily basis (Reutzel & to introduce different genres, titles,
Cooter, 2003). In this article, we discuss and authors, which can ignite students'

words and comprehend techniques to use with digital texts reading motivation and lead them to
in motivating and further developing read a wider range of material (Miller,
text." fluent, primary, and intermediate grade- 2002).
level readers. Specifically, we offer Featuring well-known actors and
suggestions on how to incorporate actresses such as Elijah Wood, Haylie
digital texts that are read aloud and Duff, and Amanda Bynes who read
in the form of Readers Theatre scripts aloud children's stories, the Screen
into the teacher's literacy routines to Actors Guild Association BookPALS

Digital texts can increase the reading build and support students' fluency sponsors Storyline Online (www
proficiency of students by assisting competencies. We also provide a table .storylineonline.net), an online
them in reading more fluently, a key with additional websites that can be streaming video program. The books
skill of adept readers (Allington, used for fluency development. offered on Storyline Online consist
2012). More than just being a skill that of only picture books; examples of
students must master during their Read-Alouds - Cyber some stories read aloud include Gene

reading development, fluency is a bridge Models Zion's Harry the Dirty Dog and Evelyn
between a student's ability to decode Exposing students to rich and varied Coleman's To Be a Drum. While the
words and comprehend text (Pikulski & fluent models during read-alouds is abook is read, its illustrations and text are
Chard, 2005). beneficial strategy to support readingdisplayed.
Looking more specifically at the fluency development (Lynch-Brown The following are suggestions on
three common elements of fluency, & Tomlinson, 2010). Daily exposure how to use Storyline Online in the
accuracy refers to the ability to decode to read-alouds presents students classroom for fluency development.
words correctly, automaticity is the speed with opportunities to hear explicit The first set of suggestions is applicable
or ability to read words and connected
text automatically, and prosody refers
to the rhythm and tone one exhibits
when reading orally (Young & Rasinski,
2009). Taking these definitions into
consideration, a teacher can easily
identify fluent and dysfluent readers by
listening to students read aloud. Fluent
readers have a tendency to use voice
inflections of various pitches and tones.
They can also efficiently read through
connected text in a fluid, swift manner,
free of many errors; however, a dysfluent
reader may read more laboriously. In a
connected text, this reader may read in
a monotone voice at a conscientiously
slow pace, which can significantly
interfere with their reading process,
comprehension, and motivation to read
at all.

im The Reading Teacher Vol. 65 issue 7 April 2012

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USING DIGITAL TEXTS TO PROMOTE FLUENT READING

choose to participate in paired reading


during literacy centers where students and the importance of it in reading
exercises,
navigate the website independently or choral readings, reading-
fluently. Then, either in small groups
while-listening,
in small groups. The next two sets of or as a class, students can listen to two
or repeated readings.
suggestions, prereading preparation and different celebrities as they read aloud. As
Prereading
prosodie comparisons, are for whole- Preparation each celebrity reads, students can fill in
or small-group instruction in which a Venn diagram to compare and contrast
the hearing the read-aloud, each
Before
teacher guides students through the the prosodie features of the celebrities.
celebrity briefly introduces himself
website. Next, the teacher should confer with the
or herself and the book. Some of the
students about the information written
celebrities, such as Sean Astin and
Literacy Centers in their graphic organizer and allow
Bradley Whitford, either ask questions
While the teacher is conducting pertaining to the book or providestudents
props to vote on the celebrity they .
guided reading sessions, one literacy enjoyed
that are significant to the story's plot. the most, providing reasons to
center can use the Storyline OnlineAt this point in the read-aloud,justify
the their decision.
website to listen to teacher-assigned This activity can be followed with
teacher can pause the video and activate
students' background knowledge further
or student-selected digital texts, with by student modeling of fluent and
the latter increasing a student's sense
facilitating a discussion about thedysfluent reading by selecting a digital
of autonomy. The site is quite easy to
questions text
and props in relation to the from one of the websites provided in
navigate, with the title of the books the
story. This discussion can assist in Table to review the characteristics of

displayed on the left side of the screen; prosody.


fluency development because students
children can simply click the triangle
havefor
been exposed to and can anticipate
reading text with similar ideas, Readers Theatre
"play" to start the read-aloud. Students - Virtually
can also use headphones so the audio Dramatic
concepts, and vocabulary displayed
does not disturb other students. through the captions on the bottom of Theatre, yet another text that
Readers
If enough computers or handheld the screen. can be found in digital format, involves
tablets are available in the literacy a dramatic performance of a written
center, each student can work on their .
Prosodie Comparisons script without the use of memorization
fluency independently. By silentlyFor prosody practice, students can
orlisten
elaborate props, costumes, special
reading along with the captions while lighting, or acting (Rasinski &
specifically for the prosodie features
listening or conducting repeated exhibited by each celebrity. (KeepStevenson,
the 2005). Some genres that
readings of the same book, text-level
captions turned off so the studentsare can
conducive to performance include
automaticity increases (Rasinski, focus
1990). on the tone, pitch, volume, poems,
and songs, rhymes, dialogues,
For students who may need to listen and letters (Rasinski, 2006). Readers
expression.) One of the nice features
to themselves read, whisper phones Theatre allows each student to have a
of using a digital text for read-aloud
can also be provided. To make whisper
purposes over traditional read-alouds
role in a particular script, practice the
of when students evaluate the role with others who have the same
is that
phones, cut approximately 6 inches
PVC pipe and attach both ends toexpression
a of the reader, the teacher
script,can
and perform the script in front of
90-degree elbow (also PVC). an audience, which usually consists of
stop and replay the exact same reading
For classrooms in which only one patterns each time. peers in the classroom, but can involve
computer is available, the students inFirst, the teacher should conductlarger
a few audiences such as parents or other
the center can simply listen to andlessons
then on the characteristics of prosody
grade levels.
conduct choral readings of the same
read-aloud.

Another option for using the online


streaming video program during literacy
"When students evaluate the expression of the
centers is to project the Storyline Online
link onto a dry-erase board or plain,
reader, the teacher can stop and replay the exact
white wall using an LCD projector.
Using the enlarged image, students can same reading patterns each time."

www.reading.org I z IBI

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USING DIGITAL TEXTS TO PROMOTE FLUENT REAPING

teacher could create their own Readers


Website name Link Website description Theatre scripts and save them as digital
texts.) The following websites include
Bus Songs bussongs.com Provides more than 2,000 nursery
rhymes and songs. The lyrics, free scripts with few roles:
videos, and music are accessible
for most songs, which range from
www.gigglepoetry.com/
multicultural songs to counting
songs.
poetrytheater.aspx
www.readerstheatre.ecsd.net/
Children's Books Forever www.childrensbooksforever Features more than 20 books with
collection.htm
.com/index, html brilliant illustrations and appropriate
themes for primary school children www.poetryteachers.com/
(anger, bullying, etc.).
poetrytheater/delaybedtime.html
Inkless Tales www.inklesstales.com/ Displays stories about a character aaronshep.com/rt/RTE34.html
stories named Fanny Doodle and her poodle.
The site contains fictional animal
stories that highlight words from 2. After choosing a script for a particular
the Dolch list, which can reinforce group, the teacher can save it in a
learning high-frequency words. Microsoft Word document format. It
Krazy Kats www.krazykats-karaoke Lists additional links to sites that
may be helpful for later retrieval to
.co.uk/karaoke_kids.html have music and lyrics to nurseryname the document with the names
rhymes, Walt Disney movies,
of the students assigned to a specific
alphabet songs, traditional songs,
and songs from PBS Kids. script.

Magic Keys Books www.magickeys.com/books Contains digital storybooks3. for


Because scripts can be downloaded
primary and intermediate students.
and pasted into a Word document,
Each story has accompanying audio
and pictures. they can be manipulated or modified
to meet the students' needs. For
Reading is Fundamental www.rif.org/kids/ Contains fun, animated stories that
(RIF) readingplanet/bookzone/ children can read and sing along to, example, the teacher can enlarge the
read_aloud_stories.htm and, if teachers have native speakers font or create more "white" space to
of Spanish, this site also provides decrease the amount of font on each
stories read aloud in Spanish.
page to improve its readability.

4. The teacher can also personalize the


script by replacing each character's
name with the name of the student
This authentic approach to reading The following suggestions on how
who will play that particular role. For
instruction motivates students to to use Readers Theatre digital text
example, if Jalisa is playing the role of
conduct repeated readings of their part for fluency development require the
Narrator 1, the teacher can find and
in the script, thus developing accuracy teacher to have at least four iPads in
replace "Narrator 1" for "Jalisa."
and automaticity. Students can also be the classroom at a time and would be
motivated to want to read well, as they applicable for a literacy center while the 5. Each script can be saved in Dropbox
have autonomy in how they present teacher is meeting with a small group (www.dropbox.com), a free service
their roles and are held accountable to of students. Using these state-of-the-art that allows users to share files across

their peers to learn their lines so that devices to display the Readers Theatre the Internet. (Dropbox should be
they can adequately carry out their roles scripts as digital text can be yet another installed, using the same e-mail
during the performance. Furthermore, means to motivate students to read. address and password, onto the laptop
Readers Theatre encourages students to or desktop and iPads.) Once the script
focus on prosody because reading their 1. The teacher selects online Readers is saved in Dropbox, it is saved to all
lines with meaningful expression helps Theatre scripts with two to four roles so of the teacher's computers and iPads.
the audience to further understand the that each student is able to read from Students can then open the Dropbox
story. a separate iPad. (Also, the students or application on the iPads, find the

||J The Reading Teacher Voi. 65 Issue 7 April 2012

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USING DIGITAL TEXTS TO PROMOTE FLUENT READING

as indicated above, students can comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 58(6),


510-519. doi:10.1598/RT.58.6.2
record individual sound effects saved
Rasinski, T. (1990). Effects of repeated
in separate files, and an audience reading and listening- while -reading
on reading fluency. The Journal of
member can play certain sound effects Educational Research, 83(3), 147-150.
during the performance. Rasinski, T. (2006). Reading fluency
instruction: Moving beyond accuracy,
automaticity, and prosody. The Reading
Enhanced Learning on the Teacher, 59(7), 704-706. doi:10.1598/
Digital Horizon RT.59.7.10
Rasinski, T.V., & Stevenson, B. (2005). The
Living in a digitalized world calls for effects of Fast Start Reading: A fluency-
educators to reconsider nontraditional based home involvement reading
program, on the reading achievement of
means of teaching reading. Digital beginning readers. Reading Psychology: *
texts accessed through computers or An International Journal, 26(2), 109-125.
doi:10.1080/02702710590930483
electronic tablets such as the iPad offer
Reutzel, D.R., & Cooter, R.B. (2003).
an appealing medium of reading text Strategies for reading instruction and
that can motivate students to want to assessment: Every child a successful reader.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice
read. Incorporating fluency lessons Hall.

using digital texts, such as listening to Schunk, D.H. (2001). Social cognitive
theory and self-regulated learning. In
read-alouds and performing Readers B.J. Zimmerman, & D.H. Schunk (Eds.),
Theatre, can strengthen students' Self-regulated learning and academic
achievement: Theoretical perspectives
accuracy, automaticity, and prosody (pp. 125-152). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
skills. In turn, as students' reading Young, C., & Rasinski, T. (2009).
Implementing Readers Theatre as
files with their names, and openfluency
their improves, their comprehension an approach to classroom fluency
scripts. is also likely to improve, thus instruction. The Reading Teacher, 63(1),
4-13. doi:10.1598/RT.63.1.1
furthering their reading enjoyment and
6. After students have practiced reading
positively affecting students' reading
their scripts several times, they can use
one iPad to record their performance *
dispositions and personas (Larson,
2010).
MORE TO EXPLORE
using the camera function. Students ReadWriteThink.org Lesson Plan
REFERENCES
simply tap on the camera icon, tap on "Going Digital: Using e-Book Readers to
the "record" button at the bottom of Allington, R.L. (2012). What really matters
for struggling readers: Designing Enhance the Reading Experience" by Lotta
the screen to start recording, and then research-based programs (3rd ed.). C. Larson
Boston: Pearson.
tap on the "record" button again to IRA Journal Articles
Larson, L.C. (2007). A case study exploring the
stop recording. Students can then view "new literacies" during a fifth-grade electronic "Becoming Critical Consumers and Producers
reading workshop. Doctoral dissertation,
their recording to note their accuracy, of Text: Teaching Literacy With Web 1 .0 and
Kansas State University. Retrieved June
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handle/2097/352 and Kristin M. Cielocha, The Reading Teacher,
in the performance and discuss what
Larson, L.C. (2010). Digital readers: The next
fluency features could be improved September 2009
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Pikulski, J.J., & Chard, D.J. (2005). Fluency:
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www. reading .org ES3

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