Blast off to Reading Fluently!

By: Kimberly Craig


Rationale: Good fluency skills involve reading smoothly, quickly and with expression.  In order to read fluently, children must be able to effortlessly recognize words without decoding.  In other words, it must be automatic for them.  The more students read the more automatic their recognition of words will be.  This lesson will help students see that, with practice, they can read fluently and reading will be more enjoyable.



1. sentence strip with "Tomorrow, my sister and I will take our dog to the park."

2. Sentence strip for each student that says "In the winter, I want to build snowmen on the weekends."

3. A chart for each pair of students that has stars and places for them to put the number of words they read on each side of the stars and a rocket to move up along the stars on velcro.

4. A rocket for each child with Velcro on the back.

5. A stopwatch for each pair of students

6. Pencils

7. Copies of "Fuzz and the Buzz" and "Tin Man Fix-it" so that each pair gets a copy of each book



1. I will put the sentence strip that says, "Tomorrow, my sister and I will take our dog to the park." on the board so the kids can see it and I will read it to them twice: once decoding each of the sounds and once reading fluently.  So, first I will read, "To-m-o-rr-ow, m-y  s-i-s-t-e-r  a-n-d  I  w-i-ll  t-a-ke  ou-r  d-o-g  t-o  th-e  p-a-r-k." Then, I will say, "now I want you to listen to it again and see if you notice a difference in the two readings. Tomorrow, my sister and I will take our dog to the park."  I will ask the students to raise their hand if they think the first one sounded better and then I will ask them to raise their hand if they think the second one sounded better.  I will tell them "the first one did not sound as good because I was having to work so hard and decoding the words that I couldn't even tell what I was reading.  But, the second one sounded better because I was reading fluently.  Reading fluently mean reading quickly and smoothly with expression. Skilled readers read fluently and can understand what they are reading much better than someone who reads like I read this sentence the first time." 

2. I will put students in pairs with a student who is at their same reading level and give each group a chart with stars and a rocket.  I will have one student put their name on one side of the stars and the other student to put their name on the other side of the stars so they can record their progress on the same chart but I will be able to easily tell them apart.  I will give each group a copy of the other sentence strip that says, "In the winter, I want to build snowmen on the weekends." I will have the kids read it to their partner once as best they can and then read it silently five times so they can practice the words and make sense of what the sentence is trying to say.  I will tell them that, "after reading it silently five times, hopefully the words will become more familiar so, the next time they read it out loud, they will be able to read it more quickly and smoothly."  After they read it silently five times, I will have them try reading it to their partners one more time out loud and see if they notice a difference from the first time they read it to this time.  I will ask them to tell me "why they think it sounded better?"

3. I will next give each group a stopwatch, a pencil and one copy of each book (Tin Man Fix It and Fuzz and the Buzz.  I will say, "Okay, now that we have practiced with individual sentences, we are going to work on fluency while reading real books! I want one person to time their partner for one minute as they read one of the books and write down how many words they read in the bottom blank on their side of the page.  Do this four times and fill in a blank each time with the number of words your partner read, starting at the bottom and going up to the top. With each blank you fill, move the rocket up one slot on the Velcro. By the end of your fourth reading, your rocket should be able to reach the stars! After you have timed your partner four times, they will time you reading the other book four times for a minute each time and record the number of words you read just as they did for you. If you run across a word you do not know, you can ask your partner for help or try using your cover-up critter to figure out the word.  But, remember that you only have a minute to read each time so do not stay on one word for too long."  I will model how to use a cover-up critter before they start their timed reading, in case they don't know how to use one.  I will also walk around the room as they work on their timed readings to make sure they are staying on task and that nobody needs help.  They can also ask me for help on words, but since I might not be there to help them exactly when they need it during their timed reading, I will encourage them to ask their partner for help first.


Assessment: I will walk around the room to make sure everything is working well and nobody needs help.  I will be able to assess their progress by taking up their rocket progress charts after the partner activity is over and seeing how many words they read and how they improved with each reading.  Hopefully, they were able to read more words each time and become more fluent in recognizing familiar words from the book.



Tin Man Fix-It. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Educational Insights.

Fuzz and the Buzz. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Educational Insights.

Battles, Ellen. (2007).  1, 2, 3 Blast Off!


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