Grab a Partner and Read, Read, Read!


Growing Independence and Fluency

 Samantha Dobbin


Rationale:  The goal of this lesson is to build reading fluency.  Students who are fluent readers become successful readers for a lifetime.  Fluency in reading means that students can read at a fast, even pace, with appropriate expression.   Fluent readers read words automatically and accurately.  Fluency is an essential bridge between decoding words and comprehension.  In order to develop reading fluency, students must read and reread text.  Practice is essential to improving a student's fluency level, and effective teachers develop ways to provide supportive, constructive practice in the classroom.  This lesson uses the concept of partner reading to provide practice and to build fluency skill.


Partner Recording Cards (example enclosed)

Copies of the book A Brave Act by Matt Sims (one for each student)

Practice reading passage posted on the board (possible passage included, but can be teacher's choice)

Timers to time one minute or two minutes

Miscue recording charts for each student


1.  I will introduce the idea of Partner Reading.  "Today, we will begin working with a partner to improve our reading skills.   First let's talk about the skills we want to build in our partner practice.   To show you the skills, I am going to read you a passage that I copied from a book.  The passage is on the board.  Listen as I read it each time."  (The teacher should have partners already determined.  A good idea is to put a strong reader with a weak reader.  In addition, the teacher should have a passage for reading on the board or overhead before introducing the lesson.)

Possible passage: 

"I like my cake with my tea," said Miss French.  Would you like a slice?"

"Yes, please.  Cake is the best thing with tea," said Glen.

"I think so, too," said Miss French.  She cut a thick slice of cake for each of them.

(From Miss French by Matt Sims)

2. "I will read the passage three times. Listen carefully." (I will use this procedure:  The first time I will read it slowly and decode some words.   The second time I will read it more quickly but without much expression.  The third time, I will read it quickly and with lots of expression.)

3. I will then ask the children: "Which time seemed the best to you".  (I will wait as the children identify the third time as the best.)  I will ask, "Why was the third time the best?"  (I will respond to the students' answers.)  Then, I will explain:   "The third time I was reading fluently. When you read fluently it means you read the words quickly and correctly, and put expression in the words.  For example, when the words formed a question, I read the words as a question."  (I will repeat the question, "Would you like a slice?" and put in expression).   Then, I will explain: "Reading fluently is the skill we will build in reading with a partner. Reading fluently takes practice, and a fun way to practice is to read with a partner.  The more you read a passage, the better you can read it.  Practice makes reading easier and makes a person a better reader. I want all of you to be fluent readers. However, reading fluently does not mean that we are trying to be 'speed readers'" (I will read a passage very fast and we will discuss why this is not the best way to read).

4. Then, I will discuss some guidelines for partner reading and demonstrate.  "Today you are going to read a story with a partner.  When you partner read, you take turns reading pages. During partner reading each partner has a job.  One partner reads the page out loud and with expression.  When one partner is reading aloud, it is the other partner's job to read the words silently with him or her to make sure he or she is saying all the words right and with expression.  You will use your recording cards to record what you learn about your partner's reading. Go over the jobs of each partner."

5.  I will distribute copies of the book A Brave Act by Matt Sims.  Each student should have a copy. Then, I will present a brief book talk about this book.  I will say:  "This book is about a boy named Frank who sees a house on fire.  He goes to explore and finds people inside.  What will Frank do?  The smoke is thick, and the fire is growing.  Let's read the book to find out what Frank does."

6.  I will distribute the partner recording cards.  I will explain:  "We will read Chapter 1 first.  The first time, read the chapter silently by yourself.  Read it as best you can and figure out any difficult words."  (I will circulate in the room to help students with any difficult words.)

7.  Then, I will say: "We will now work with your partner and a timer.  Partner one will read the first chapter, and Partner two will record observations.  Look at the recording cards so that you will know what to look and listen for".  (I will review the card information with students. If this is the first time students have conducted partner reading, I will demonstrate partner reading by having a student who is a good reader read a page from a book with me.  Tips for reading and demonstrating how to conduct partner reading are enclosed.) 

8. "Then, Partner Two will read and Partner One will make the observations.  Both partners will read the first chapter a third time.  Partners will record their observations for each other during the third read also to note any improvement."   (I will review instructions one more time.)   "Now, let's begin."

9. I will ask students to look at their recordings.  If the students are reading Chapter 1 fluently, they may go on to Chapter 2.  However, they can choose to reread Chapter 1 to improve even more. It is important to give students time and repeated practice opportunities. 

10. When students begin their partner practice with Chapter 2, I will instruct them to use the timer.  "This time as we read Chapter 2 for the second time, I want you to set your timer for one minute.  When the timer sounds, mark with your pencil where your partner stopped and then count the words he or she was able to read in one minute.  Record the number on the recording card. However, please remember that you still want your partner to be able to understand what you are reading and you want your reading to sound smooth and fluent." (When students finish the second reading, they should repeat the procedure with the third reading.  Students should see that they can read more words per minute during the third read.  If not, conduct a fourth reading of Chapter 2.)

11. I will ask students to read for me individually to assess students more formally.  I will record miscues for each student on a student miscue chart.


Tips for Conducting Partner Reading

-Explain what partner reading is.   Be sure the students understand the concept.

-Demonstrate the procedure for young or beginning students.  Choose a student to come to the front of the room to partner read with you.  Model with the student for the class what partner reading looks like, using the "6 inch voice rule" and reading "shoulder to shoulder."  Also, model helpful assistance when a word is unknown.

-Give specific instructions and voice expectations.

-Walk around the room and monitor each pair.

-Assign partners ahead of time.  This saves times and is fair to all students. If placing struggling students with stronger readers, make sure that the partners do not get frustrated with each other.

-If students conduct partner reading well, give them a treat by letting them read on the floor or another special place. 



"Development of Reading Fluency Project FORI Lesson Plan"

"Effective Fluency Instruction and Progress Monitoring" Presentation from the University of Texas

Sims, Matt.  A Brave Act. Novato, CA:  High Noon Books, 2002.

Sims, Matt.  Miss French.  Navato, Ca:  High Noon Books, 2002.

"Reading is Fun: Partner Reading for Fluency" by Kristen Baumgartle



Partner-Reading Recording Card

Partner #1:  ___________________________    Partner #2:  _______________________________

I noticed that my partner

After 2nd                After 3rd reading

______                        _______                                                       Remembered more words

______                        _______                                                       Read faster  

______                       _______                                                        Read smoother

______                       _______                                                        Read with expression


Number of words 2nd reading per minute:  ____________________

Number of words 3rd reading per minute:  ____________________

Number of words 4th reading per minute:  ____________________



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