Zoom, Zoom, Zooming Into Fluency


Emergent Literacy Design

By: Maggie McKinney

Rationale:  When students learn to automatically recognize words they can read faster, more smoothly, and with more expression. To become more fluent readers, students must read and reread decodable words in connected text. When students read fluently, they are able to connect more with the text that they are reading. This lesson is designed to help readers increase their fluency and reading ability.


Copies of Slim's Outing by Geri Murray (one for each student)

Sentence on the board: The rocket zooms past the moon.

Stopwatch for each group of students

Cover-up Critters (one per student) *directions at bottom

Rocket Targets for each student (directions at bottom)


1. Say: Good morning boys and girls! Today we are going to learn about how to become more fluent readers. When we read fluent we can read words without having to stop and decode or understand each one of them.  This is going to help you understand what you are reading better.

2. Say: When we come to a word we do not know or can't figure out, it is important for us to figure out what that word is instead of skipping over it and going to the next word. We must try our best to figure it out so we can understand the rest of the story. All of the words fit together like a puzzle, and if one is missing, it isn't complete. Today we are going to use our cover-up critters to help us figure out difficult words. Write the word stick on the board.  If I was reading a book and did not know what this word was, I would first start with figuring out what my vowel says. I do this by using my cover-up critter and my fingers to cover every letter but the i. I know the i says /i/. Next I uncover the letters s and t. Now I have /sti/. Last I uncover the last two letters, ck, and add them to the first part. I now know my word is stick. You can use your cover-up critter to help anytime you get stuck on a word.

3. Say: I am going to read a sentence out loud and I want you to pay attention to which one is the most fluent.  I will write the sentence (on the board): The rocket zooms past the moon. First I will read the sentence as if I were decoding it: ttthhheee rrrooocckkeeettt zoooommss paaasstt tthhee mmmooonnn.  Next I will read the sentence a little faster. Finally I will read the sentence the way I normally would. Say: The last way was the easiest to understand, wasn't it? That's because it was read the most fluently. When we read fluently people can understand what we are reading.

4. Now it is your turn to practice reading fluently. I want everyone to take a copy of the book Slim's Outing. I want you to practice reading it a few times because practicing is the only way to make perfect. The book that we are reading today is Slim's Outing. This book is about a pig named Slim who gets out of his pen when no one is watching. Do you think Slim behaves himself while he is out of the pen? Let's read to find out! Don't forget to try to make the words as fluent as possible.

5. When they have had a chance to read the book a few times say: now that you have had the opportunity to practice let's come back to the center and I will pair you with a partner to read to each other. You will read the book 3 times each. I want you to use the stopwatch I give you and time your partner for one minute while you listen to them read the book. At the end of the minute you will count how many words they read until the timer went off. You will have a piece of paper to record the results. As soon as one partner has read 3 times you will switch partners and do the same thing.

6. While the students are timing each other, I will walk around and make sure they are assessing each other correctly, following all directions, and staying on task.

7. After all of the groups are finished I will take turns calling the students up to my desk to give them their results from the readings and help them set reasonable and attainable goals. We will graph their results on their rocket targets. After we graph where they are today we will set a goal for where they need to get to by the next time we do the activity.

(These targets need to have a space background with increments of 5 going from the ground to the moon. The rocket will need to have Velcro on the back and be easily moved from target to target.)

Directions for cover up critter: You will need a thin Popsicle stick and two googley eyes for each cover-up critter. Turn the Popsicle stick horizontally and glue the eyes on one end.

Assessment: Their movement or lack thereof on the rocket target will assess the students. You can keep this documented for easy recovery.


Zoom Into Fluent Reading- Taylor Swann



Slim's Outing- Geri Murray http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html

Timing Worksheet:

Trial #

Words per Minute








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