Put a STOP to “Choppy and Stoppy” Reading


Stefanie Berryhill


Rationale:  In order for children to read without frustration they have to read fluently. Reading fluently means to read faster, smoother, and more expressively. Silent, voluntary reading is also brought about by fluency.

Materials:  One copy of Bud the Sub for each student, a checklist for each student (the checklist will have boxes to indicate if the child reads smoothly for the second and third readings [http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html]), a stopwatch, a graph chart with each student's name on the bottom and the correct number range on the left side, one pencil per group of two, a black permanent marker, and a red permanent marker.

Example of Graph Chart

        1. When we want to learn something we practice it over and over again. . Sometimes it takes a lot of practice to learn something really well. Think about learning to jump rope. The first time you ever tried, did you jump perfectly? NO! We have to first learn to do it slowly, stopping in between each jump.  Maybe we got someone else to turn the rope, or maybe you had a friend yell “jump!” when the rope came around.  It takes a long time and a lot of practice to be able to jump rope smoothly, without stopping. This is the same thing we have to do in reading. We have to practice reading so that we can read smoothly and flow without stopping.

         2. Does anyone remember how to crosscheck? Wait for responses (the children may need to be prompted). That's right! We use cover-ups. Cover-ups help us check out reading by covering up parts of the words and figuring out the parts of the word that are not covered. Even though this is a great thing to do while reading we do not want to use it too much, or we will sound “choppy and stoppy” when we read. 

        3. Today we are reading for smoothness. Listen to me as I read these sentences "B-abe says/stays in h-his c-c-cage. The c-cage has B-base nose/name." What did you notice about the way that I read these sentences? (Make sure that the students say something about it being choppy or not smooth.)  That’s right! It sounds choppy and stoppy! Listen to me read the sentences again. "Babe stays in his cage. The cage has Babe's name." Now what did you notice about the way that I read the sentences? (Make sure that the students recognize the smoothness.) Now, was this choppy and stoppy? This is how we are supposed to read, but it takes a lot of practice for everyone to become a fluent reader. Today we are not going to try to say each word correctly; we will just try to read as many words as possible without sounding choppy and stoppy.  Try to concentrate on staying smooth.

         4. Hand each child a Bud the Sub book and explain the directions.  I am going to time you with my stopwatch as you read. I will time you for one minute. In this minute, I want you to read as many words as possible. When I say STOP I want you to put your finger on the last word that you read. Now I want you to count all the words that you have read. Start with the very first word and count to the one that your finger is on. After you count your words, remember the number because I will come around to you and write it down for you. (Let the students do their reading and collect their numbers. As you collect these numbers you need to give each student a check sheet and each group a pencil.) Before we go on, mark their numbers on the graph paper in black permanent marker.

         5. Now, I’m going to count the class off, saying one, two, one, two….  When I tap your head and say you one or two, I want you hold up that many fingers.  I am also going to put you in pairs as I walk around. On the sheet that I just gave you, you will see two boxes. Your listener will mark these boxes, if you can make your words run more smoothly. We will be doing three readings. The first reading will be a warm-up.  The second two readings are what we are going to be measuring. We will only use the sheet for these last two readings. The first box is for the second reading and the second box is for the third reading. Each of you will be a listener and a reader. If you are holding up one finger, you will be listening first, then reading.  If you are a two, you will be reading first, then listening.  The reader will read three times as the listener listens, then you will switch roles and do it again.  You may begin reading but remember that we are only listening for smoothness in the reader's voice.  No choppy and stoppy reading!

         6. As the students are reading, walk around, observe them, make miscue notes, and answer any questions they may have.  Listen for students who continue to read choppy and stoppy.   

         7. After the students' finishes reading do another one minute timed reading. This time mark the numbers on the graph with a read permanent marker so that they can see the difference they have already made. After all the reading and the rereading of this book, they will have made significant and visible progress with smoothness.  This will be a well-deserved motivational boost.


Reference:  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/

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