Ready, Set, Read!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Catherine Bonner





Rationale: Reading smoothly, quickly, and expressively are all characteristics of fluent reading. Reading fluently requires automatic word recognition. Fluent readers are able to read silently to themselves. The fluency formula is read and reread decodable words in connected text. This lesson will use that formula by reading a decodable text, and then rereading it to aid in the development of fluency. Students become fluent through reading and then rereading.

Materials: A stopwatch, a copy of Iggy Pig’s Silly Day, Fluency chart for each student (the chart has a column with numbers counting up towards the top of the page. The chart has a race theme), dry erase board with markers, cover-up critter.


1. The teacher will begin the lesson by defining fluency. "Fluency is when you read fast, smoothly--so you don't sound out each word--and when you read with expressions in your voice." The teacher will explain that skilled readers are also fluent readers. “We can all become fluent readers by reading a text several times. Today, we are going to work on improving our fluency by rereading a text."


2. The teacher will use a dry erase board to write a sentence. The sentence will be, "I can skip all day, over the hills and far away.” The teacher will review the necessary steps for decoding. "What do I do if I get to a word and do not know what it is? That's right! I use my cover up critter. Show me that you remember how to use the cover-up critter by trying it with me now." Write the word “skip” on the board and practice using the cover up critter together. "Let's try it with the word skip. First we find the vowel. Which one is the vowel? Right! It's i. The letter i makes the /i/ sound. Then we uncover the letters s and k which makes the /s/ and /k/ sound and say out loud by blending the /ski/ together. Then we uncover the letter p which makes the /p/ sound. Then we blend all the sounds together to say: skip." Next we must check to make sure we blended correctly by rereading the sentence to check that skip makes sense. Re read: “I can skip all day, over the hills and far away.”


3. "Now I am going to show you the difference between reading with fluency and reading without. First I will read my sentence without fluency, and the next time I will read it with fluency." The teacher will write on the board the sentence, "I love my fun dog." Then demonstrate reading by reading slowly "I-l-o-v-e-m-y-f-u-n-d-o-g. What did you notice about my reading? I got stuck on a few words. Did that make you have trouble understanding me? It did! This can happen a lot when we read, but the more we practice reading the same words, the better we become at reading. Now I will read the same sentence again in another way, not getting stuck on the words. 'I love my fun dog.' Which one sounded better? Why do you think it sounded so much better? The second one sounds better because it is faster and more fluent that the first. The second time you could understand me better because I was not getting stuck on the words. I was not trying to sound out every word, so I could focus on what the text was saying. This is fluency, and this is what we are practicing today.


4. Give each student a partner. Pass out a book (Iggy Pig’s Silly Day!) to each child. “This is Iggy Pig’s Silly Day! Iggy Pig and all of his friends are skipping over the hills and far away. They run into a big gray animal with a long bushy tail. Are Iggy Pig and his friends in trouble? We will have to read our book and see what happens to them! Follow along in your book while I read the first two pages. I am going to read them three times to practice reading fluently. When I finish you will do the same thing with your partner. The teacher will read the first two pages aloud to the students. The first time the teacher reads he/she will read slowly and sound out each word. The second time the teacher will improve his/her reading by reading smoothly, quickly, and with emotion. "Now it is your turn. Read the first ten pages one time, then reread it again.  The first time I would like for you to whisper read to yourself, the second time you and your partner can read together.


5. The teacher will move throughout the room and observe students as they read with their partner. The teacher will take fluency notes as he/she moves around the room.


6. Once every group has read the story twice, pass out a stop watch and the chart to each group. "We are going to play the Fluency Game! Listen closely so you will know what to do. One person will be the timer and one will be the reader, then you will swap. I want partner one to start as the timer and partner two to start as the reader. Partner two will read the first ten pages while partner one times them. Then, you will graph it on the chart I have passed out. After you have graphed the reader’s number, I want you to swap jobs." As you are explaining the graph, show the students what you mean. Use an extra graph to visually demonstrate the oral instructions. "Do this three times. Use the different "trackers" to mark each one-minute read, so each partner should have three "trackers" on the chart marking their number for each read."


7. After students have completed their three readings, the teacher will collect the graphs. The teacher will use these charts as an assessment. This will allow the teacher to teach the students according to the level they are on and know which students need additional help. The teacher can ask follow up questions to assess students’ comprehension of the text they just read. The questions should include: What was the problem? How did they solve it? Who were Iggy Pig's friends?


          Jennifer Falls "Go, Go Speed Reader"

          French, Vivian. “Iggy Pig’s Silly Day!” Scholastic Inc., New York, 1998.

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