Fluency is a good thing when practiced over time. Some teachers are finding methods that focus on progressive ways to include fluency in their literacy lessons and homework. Notice I said, “include’, not “focus on”. When the focus is “speed”, the practice is regimented and stressful, when the focus is “learn”, speed follows.
We challenge our learners to do many things “quickly” without teaching a strategy to get it done. What we miss out on is that speed comes with progressive practice using a specific strategy, not practicing more. Seventy math problems, or long reading passages might appear to be discouraging to a young learner because the bar is set too high. Taking into account the attention span, vulnerability, and consequences of cognitive overload, can turn practice sessions into progress sessions in school and at home. Both reading and math need to be learned using cognitively guided instruction methods, allowing the brain to learn and practice in a stress free environment.
Strategic learning is the door to the common core. Future blogs will include strategies to increase fluency in both mathematics and literacy that include what parents and teachers can do to break the cycle of practice….practice…practice by adding intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. It begins with goal setting, each time we sit down to do homework we need to set meaningful and proximal goals that when accomplished lead to increased self efficacy and serve as motivators for continuing….