Shoot for the Stars With Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency


Kathleen Boehme


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to help students to gain fluency and expression will reading. Being a fluent reader is important because it is a crucial aspect of reading comprehension and speed. In this lesson students will read and re-read by themselves and with a partner a decodable text. The students will have a time limit and will try to read more fluently each time.



White board with marker

Copy of The Josefina Story Quilt for each student. I Can Read Books, 1986

Timer for each student

Reading Time Sheet for each student

Partner checklist for each student

Rocket ship with poster board with a picture of space for readers to move higher as they read more words per minute. There would be pictures of planets lined up on the left side of the page with the words per minute read. Each student would have a rocket ship with their name on it and as they read more words they would move their rocket ship up the poster through the planets and the stars.



Reading Time Sheet

Name: __________________          Date: ________________


After 1st read: _________

After 2nd read: _________

After 3rd read: _________


Partner Reading Checklist


Name: ___________________ My partner’s name: _____________

When my partner read, he/she:

                                               After 2nd reading   After 3rd reading

Remembered more words        ________             ________

Read faster                              ________             ________

Read smoother                        ________             ________

Read with expression               ________             ________



1.     Ask the class if anyone knows what fluency means.  Then explain that it means to read faster and smoother at the same time. Tell them that when we read fluently, we also have expression in our voices. This is just like when you are talking to your friends. We want to be good fluent readers because it will help us remember more words and to understand what we are reading.  One way to tell if we are becoming fluent readers is to practice re-reading with timers. We are going to practice our fluency using timers today!

2.     Does everyone remember what to do if you get stuck on a word? Good! That is right; you use your cover up critter! Let me show you just in case you need refreshing. Write the word stuck on the board. Then model how to decode stuck using vowel first, body, and coda. It would look like /u/, /s/ /t/ /u/, /s/ /t/ /u/ /ck/, stuck.

3.     Write the following sentence on the white board: The rocket shoots in the sky.  Read the sentence to the class slowly and without expression: “The rooockeeettt ssshoootts in the ssskyyyy.” Ask the class if that sounds like an exciting part of a story.  Now read the sentence quicker and with great expression: “The rocket shoots in the sky!” Ask the class what you did differently to make the sentence more exciting.  Explain to them that after you sounded out the words they just jumped out the page at you so you could read with expression. After you have finished explaining this let them try reading the sentence on the board with you, then by themselves. The goal is to hear expression in their voices.

4.     Distribute a copy of The Josefina Story Quilt to each student.  Give a book talk by saying that this book is about a girl and her pet hen. It was May of 1850 and Faith’s family was moving to California in a covered wagon. Faith wanted to take her pet hen Josefina with her. Her Pa said she could not take Josefina. Will faith be able to convince her dad that Josefina can come? To find out read the book with fluency!

5.      After everyone has a book and timer, explain to them that they will read the book three times and record their time each time they read. They need to write their time on the sheet. Explain the directions about how to move the rocket ship on the poster of space. Tell them that after they have finished they can move their rocket ship to the planet that corresponds with the number of how fast they read.

6.     The next step in this is that the students pair up and pass out the Partner Reading Checklist. Explain that one partner will listen and fill out the check list while the other partner reads. Then they will switch. Make sure to explain to them that they put check marks if their partner remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and with expression after the 2nd and 3rd reading. Then tell them to start reading!

7.     Assessments: The teacher needs to be walking around and observing the reading throughout the lesson. At the end she will collect and evaluate the self reading worksheets and the partner reading worksheets. Also she will look at the kites on the board and see where the students are.




Barbara Jane Hall: Fly High with Reading


Allison Bragg: Ready Set read


Bruce Murray: Developing Reading Fluency


Coeer, Eleanor. The Josefina Story Quilt. Harper Trophy, I Can Read Books: Copyright 1986.


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