Fluent readers develop over time with plenty of practice. Many students (and parents) mistakenly equate fluent reading with fast reading. Teachers must work to help students and parents understand that reading quickly with little expression or in a monotone voice is not fluent reading (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.1.4.B). One way transliteracy skills can assist in this process is through the use of digital audio recording. There are many digital audio recording tools teachers can use to help students develop into more fluent readers.

Chirbit is a social audio sharing tool that can be used for recording, hosting and streaming audio. It is available as a free web-based application and as a free mobile app available for both Android and iOS devices, however audio files are limited to 5 minutes in length. Chirbit allows audio recordings to be shared on numerous social platforms and includes an option to get a QR code for each file. Other digital audio recording options include Soundcloud  and AudioBoom .

To get started in your classroom, determine what device students can access and use to record themselves. Will they be recording at a desktop computer? On a laptop? Tablet device? Once you’ve made this determination, you can decide which digital audio recording tool to use. The tools listed above offer “one-button” recording options which make them easy for students of all ages to use, although teacher modeling of the recording process for students is critical.

Next, ask students to pick a familiar book that they feel they can read fluently and have them read it aloud once before recording. After their practice read, students can then launch Chirbit on the computer or mobile device. When they are ready to begin, they use the “one-button” recording feature to get started. Ask them to start each recording by reading the title, author and illustrator of the book. If desired, students can use the “one-button” feature to pause the recording when they need to turn the page. After they have finished their recording, teachers can assist students with publishing their digital audio recording, making sure to use the title of the book and student first name when naming the file. Each digital audio recording completed in this fashion will be uploaded to your class Chirbit page where you can access for listening at a later time.

Finally, use the QR code option to share the recording with others. Email QR codes to parents so they can listen to their child’s oral reading and track fluency development at home. QR codes could also be added to your classroom website for others to access. You might even try printing QR codes on self-adhesive labels, affixing them to your classroom books, and then encouraging students to scan the QR codes during your classroom literacy block so that they can follow along in the book as they Listen to Reading!