Georgia Avenue Community School SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

I. General Information

School Name: Georgia Avenue Community School

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members: Kelly Inglis:
Neil Varner:
Taya Sklapsky:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading

Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction, Formative assessment, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Increasing reading fluency, including prosody, accuracy and speed, with our Grade 5 and 6 classes.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: As a district focus school, we are required to complete beginning of the year literacy assessments. When we asked the students to read aloud to us, many of them responded that they do not like reading out loud or that they are better readers in their heads. This made it difficult to get a clear assessment of their reading skills. Many were very anxious to read to an adult. We looked at our school goals of literacy and social/emotional learning. We determined that small group fluency practice led by one constant adult three times per week may improve both fluency and comprehension, as well as develop confidence as a reader and build relationships with adults in the school.

Focus: Literacy is always the main goal at Georgia Avenue Community School, a district Focus School. A lot of work has been done with early literacy and we wanted to expand our focus to intermediate literacy.

Hunch: We know from literacy researchers that the reading fluency of students has a direct correlation with their reading comprehension. In primary classrooms, there seems to be a reading culture that encourages reading aloud: readers’ theatre, choral reading and buddy reading to name a few. In intermediate grades, this seems to change; much of the reading students do is in silence. We wondered if daily oral reading would increase our students’ reading fluency and therefore comprehension.

New Professional Learning: Our group read The Six Minute Solution for Reading Fluency. It is a professional resource that provides assessments and passages for fluency practice. Students are paired with similar readers. In these pairs, one student reads the passage, while the other tracks the words read correctly or incorrectly. Partners then switch roles with their progress being tracked. This whole process should only take six minutes per day.

Taking Action: In a double-sized class with 55 students, we had many adults available to support this inquiry. With two classroom teachers, two ISTs and one literacy coordinator, we divided the students into 5 groups based on their initial assessments. We worked with students three days per week. The most emergent of our readers were given word lists (which eventually became sight word phrases). The other students were given new passages weekly that correlated with their reading level. Students tracked their number of correct words per minute to assess their progress on the passage throughout the week. While our students were getting more oral reading practice, about 4 weeks into our program we decided to fully utilize our time with our literacy team and changed our program a bit. While we still used the fluency passages from the Six Minute Solution, we used our time to dive deeper into reading comprehension strategies (see below for daily schedule). Each teacher developed a mini-lesson focusing on retelling, literal and inferential comprehension, or other reading comprehension strategies.

Fluency Groups Weekly Routine:
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 1:30-2:00

• Students will do 6 Minute Solution at 1:15
• Teachers will take their small groups
• Reread passages with a focus on using punctuation, phrasing, voice, etc., to build fluency

• Students will do 6 Minute Solution at 1:15
• Teachers will take their small groups
• Reread passages
• Comprehension/vocabulary is the focus
• Guide with retelling, main ideas, literal and inferential questions and context clues

• Students will do 6 Minute Solution at 1:15
• Teachers will take their small groups
• Hand out new fluency passage
• Students read once over independently (quick read) and will underline/highlight words they had trouble decoding or understanding
• Quick discussion on tough words
• Choral read

Checking: We did a pre- and post-fluency assessment. While we did see some growth in our most fluent readers, we were surprised that the gains were not larger. This assessment was based purely on the number of words read correctly per minute and we did not use any measure to see if our students’ comprehension was increased. Where we saw the most growth, however, was with our ELL, refugee and emergent readers. We believe that the repetitive exposure to high frequency words allowed the students to spend less time trying to decode words, so they became more fluent. Based on many of the conversations we had with students, they were motivated by the challenge of beating their previous day’s score. Next year, we plan to reimplement the Six Minute Solution and will include the reading comprehension component from the beginning. In addition, we would like to include some drama activities to really encourage reading prosody.

Reflections/Advice: We believe that the Six Minute Solution was an effective program to support reading fluency in our Grade 5 and 6 classrooms. We were surprised how engaged the students were during this time and believe that it is because it is a quick practice with visible results. We modified the Six Minute Solution to fit our students. We substituted some of their word lists with the Dolch list words and moved on to decodable word lists and fluency phrases. While this did require some extra work, it was important for us to be responsive to what all of our students needed. We were able to take this time to delve into reading comprehension. This extra practice did not take the place of their regular reading comprehension teaching.