Literacy Lenses

Focusing on The Literacy Work that Matters

Dr. Timothy Rasinski and Melissa Cheesman Smith The Megabook of Fluency

by Jenn Hayhurst

On August 30, 2018 #G2Great was delighted to welcome, Dr. Timothy Rasinski and Melissa Cheeseman Smith. Tim and Melissa are fluency gurus who have so much to teach us all. Why is fluency so important?  Fluency is one way that children begin to believe in their reading prowess. I use the word prowess because it implies skill or expertise and it also implies courage and bravery. When children enjoy reading and become more skilled; reading becomes a source of joyful learning that builds them up and helps them to take future reading risks. Risks that will push them outside of their comfort zone into overdrive to their growth zone!

Yet, as part of our shared literacy history, fluency instruction got a speeding ticket. We began to focus our assessments and instruction on speed alone –  and as anyone who has ever gotten a speeding ticket will tell you, we pay dearly for that mistake.

Our conversation Thursday night mapped out a route for the complexities of fluency instruction. Our destination? To strike a balance on the elements of fluency so our instructional practices not only meet children where they are, but gets them where they need to go.

Understanding the Rules of the Road…

Think of the essential instructional building blocks of reading fluency as the “rules of the road” that help readers lay a strong reading foundation.  Just like new drivers, readers need to time to practice a lot with an expert. Here is what the #G2Great PLN had to say…

Read the Road Signs…

Road signs are a quick and efficient way to communicate important information.  Tim & Melissa gave us this powerful instructional device,  “EARS” to underscore the elements of fluency: Expression, Automatic Word Recognition, Rhythm & Phrasing & Smoothness. This tells our students the essential information they need to think about when working on fluency while reminding them to be all EARS! 

Objects May Appear Closer Than They Appear…

Speed has loomed large in the rearview mirror because for so long we been advised to keep fluency success dependent on words per minute. Ironically (just like driving a car) keeping a free and open perspective is what we really need. We need the whole picture. So while fluency has been seen through that quantitative lens of speed, Tim & Melissa have given us a revised Multidimensional Fluency Scale. One that rewards good drivers (a nod to Allstate) and that reflects a qualitative lens. 

Thank you so much for joining us, Tim and Melissa! It was a fantastic night and an excellent journey. If you want to learn more from Tim and Melissa please follow these links. You will be glad you did!

Scholastic Megabook of Fluency link:
Take a closer look at the Megabook of Fluency:
Check out Tim and Melissa on Twitter: @TimRasinski1 ‏@MCheesmanSmith@ScholasticEd #TheMegabookOfFluency
Tim Rasinski, “Why Fluency?”:
Melissa Cheesman Smith, “Today, Choose Joy: Joyfulness in Fluent Reading”: