Radio Reading

Radio Reading is a literacy strategy in which students read texts aloud as a “radio” performance in order to build fluency, expression, and automaticity in their reading. To prepare for radio reading, students read a passage multiple times to develop fluency. Teacher-selected or student-selected texts can be introduced through a teacher or class read-aloud to provide a model for fluent reading. Students then follow a series of outlined steps during which they practice reading the passage independently, with a peer, or with an adult and receive feedback and learn strategies to improve their fluency. Students improve their expression, pacing, and phrasing with each reading of the passage. Once students have gained fluency with the passage, they perform the reading for the predetermined audience. This strategy is effective because it provides an engaging, performance-based method that allows for repeated practice and multiple opportunities for feedback.

Implementation Tips

Appropriate Text Selection
Choose texts based on the student’s reading level and fluency goals (e.g. expression, words per minute) in order to ensure the passage appropriately difficult. Text should align with the curriculum in order to assure that students have the necessary background knowledge to understand the passage.
Annotate for Fluency
Annotate the text to show phrases, provide phonetic spelling of difficult words, highlight words/phrases that should be emphasized, and highlight punctuation. Teach students how to do this on their own through modeling and practice. Providing a visual representation of these aspects of the texts helps students read fluently.
Multiple Opportunities for Practice
Provide students with steps to practice the passage. For example, students may begin by reading into a [[|phonics phone]] or voice recorder, then with a peer and/or an adult, and finally to the teacher. Repeated reading provides fluency practice and allows students to successfully perform the passage.
Differentiation in Practice
Allow for differentiation in reading preparation. Provide struggling readers with more guided practice. Challenge advanced readers by providing more difficult text and allowing them to move at their own speed. Student motivation is increased when the activity moves at the appropriate pace and provides the appropriate level of challenge.
Constructive Peer Feedback
Teach students how to provide constructive feedback to peers through modeling and discussion. Students can listen to each other and provide feedback on phrasing, expression, using punctuation, and misread words. Students may also time each other to measure words read per minute.
Set the Purpose
Establish the audience and set the purpose for performing the passage before students begin practicing the passage. Knowing their audience (e.g. classmates, another class, older or younger students) and the purpose (e.g. to inform or entertain) will create a reason for reading and increase student motivation.
Exposure to Radio
Listen to podcasts and/or radio broadcasts with students to provide an example of audio performance and strong fluency. Analyze the expression, phrasing, and emphasis in these performances and how they provide entertainment or information without a visual representation.


Introducing the Passage
All students are provided with a copy of the passage. The teacher begins by drawing on student background knowledge to introduce the passage and key vocabulary words. The teacher then reads the passage modeling correct pacing, phrasing and expression. While the teacher is reading, students are using their copy of the text to follow along. After the teacher reads the passage aloud, he/she leads the class in a choral reading where all students join the teacher in reading the passage. The teacher emphasizes that students should pay attention to proper pacing and pronunciation of the words in the text.
Annotating the Passage
As the teacher reads the passage aloud, students pay attention to where phrases break. The teacher models how to “scoop” the phrases by drawing a half-circle under each phrase and students repeat on their text. The teacher continues to read the passage, eventually stopping at a difficult word. “Pa-le-on-tol-o-gist,” the teacher reads. “I know this is someone who studies dinosaurs, but it is a difficult word to pronounce. I am going to write the word how it sounds above it.” The teacher writes *pay-lee-un-tol-uh-jist* above the word. “Now I can refer to this to help me pronounce the word.”

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