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Poem Coding, Fluency, & RtI

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

I have a student in the third tier of RtI.  She struggles with fluency, but has been working oh so hard to improve!  

I found a way that I thought would help her.  If you have been following my Wednesday posts for the past couple of weeks, you know that I had the pleasure of listening to Georgia Heard speak at a conference.  Click here if you missed those posts.  She talked with us about using poetry for fluency and the common core.  

Georgia Heard gave this idea of using symbols to help the student practice their fluency.  I call this poem coding.  

I handed my student the poem, Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, and the coding card.  She went through  a paragraph at a time and coded it to what she felt sounded right to her.  She naturally knew where to slow down, stop, and raise her voice.  

You can also see where she was having difficulty with multi-syllabic words.  She has learned to draw in her lines to break the words to help her read them. I find it interesting to look at her work on the poem sheet.  It is like a work in progress to better fluency!

Poem Coding for Fluency

Using Poems for Fluency

I have to say that this coding really helped my student and she got to where she could read this poem quite well!  Coding the poem seemed to help her to think about how it should sound, the punctuation, and using expression.  It was an easy tool for her to put into practice too.  I really appreciate going to a conference and receiving practical resources that you can immediately put into place and that really help our students!!


  1. What a great idea! I have a couple students who really struggle with decoding and fluency as well and think this would be a good strategy to try.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Joy in the Journey

  2. This is perfect for one little one who could use this! Great idea, thank you!

    Amy Howbert
    Little Miss Organized

  3. I feel like it is so hard for my kids to NOTICE the punctuation, sometimes! One way I've helped them pay more attention to it is our Punctuation Dance. I wrote about it here-

    It's also really awesome for those kids that need to get up and move during the reading block, and my kids love it- but I can tell a big difference after we've done "the dance." Color coding would be a perfect addition to this- thanks!


  4. That's a great strategy, and it's so smart to use an interesting poem instead of some random text that holds no meaning for her.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  5. That's a very interesting idea. I'll have to remember that.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  6. Omigosh that poem is too cute!!! Thanks for sharing the coding idea...I think this will be a great strategy for two of my little readers who are struggling with fluency.

    Read with Me ABC

  7. Thank you Jessica! I hope it helps your students!

  8. Thanks Amy! It did seem to help my student. :)

  9. Thanks Jenny! Your punctuation dance sounds like fun! I will come read about it. :)

  10. Tammy, I just happened to find that poem that fit perfectly for her for the week before Thanksgiving! It was fun to use it. :)

  11. Thanks Barbara! My student just seemed to know right where to code the poem.

  12. Thanks Wendy! I ran across that poem searching on the internet. I really liked it too! I hope the coding helps your struggling students.