Flying For Fluency

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Ashley Runyon


Rationale: Fluency is pertinent to achieve to master reading. By definition, fluency is automatic word recognition. In order for this to develop, readers must make most/all words of text into sight words. This lesson will teach children that becoming more fluent is through reading and then re-reading. Students will complete three timed reads of the same passage, each containing 10 pages each to demonstrate how re-reading helps one become familiar with more words.


Beginning Scholastic Reader—I will use Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble (class set)

Stopwatches or timers (enough for half the class)

Class set of copies of the following sentences:

I like to hide in the woods.

We will eat lunch and watch the kids play on the swings.

You can watch a movie after you do your homework.

Chart for each student to show individual improvement. I will use clouds and a graph sheet so the students can show progress as well as reuse the chart for different books.

A piece of paper to turn in for the reader to record how many words were read each time to demonstrate progress

Cover-up critter (popsicle stick with googly eyes)

Whiteboard with marker


1. Explain what fluency is. Children must know what it is and why it is important. Say: Fluency in reading is when you are able to read more accurate without having to try very hard. This is done through sight words. It is important to reading because it allows you to begin to understand the story better by being able to read it more smoothly.

2. I will go over the cover-up technique with the students. I will remind them how we use our cover-up critter and how it helps us decode words we do not know. Say: Sometimes, we will see words that we do not know right away. It can be frustrating, but that is why we can use our cover-up critter to help us figure out these words. (I will show the class the cover-up critter and model how to decode a word using my cover-up critter). Remember that when you come to a word you do not know, you can cover up part of the word to slowly decode, then read the rest of the sentence to see if it makes sense! Let’s see if we can use our cover-up critter to figure out this word. (I will write the word slip on the whiteboard). Now watch what I do. (I will cover up the sl and the p). I know that i says /i/, so next I will sound out what becomes before the vowel, which is sl. I will say each sound that these letters make, and then blend them together to get /sli/. Okay so now that we have sli, let’s show the end of the word. I see a p. p says /p/. Now, I blend the /sli/ with the /p/. Slip. The word is slip! This strategy of covering up the letters and starting with the vowel sound will help us figure out words that seem a bit tricky more easily. So, next time you come across a word that does not look very familiar to you, make sure you try to use your cover-up critter to help you out!

 3.Say: Remember how we said fluency is really, really important? Well, one way we can become more fluent is by rereading a book to become more familiar with the words! I am going to read this sentence two times. I want you to tell me which time sounds the best. (Write “I went to the pool the other day.” On the board) First time say: I www-eee-nnn-tt, went, to the pppp-ooooo—ll, pool, the oo-ttthhhh-eee-rrr, other, dddd-aaayy, day. Then ask: Was that really easy for me to read. No, it wasn’t that great at all. I need to reread the sentence to really be better with those words that gave me trouble. Time two say: I w-ent to the p-oo-lll the oth-er day. Ask: How did the second read sound? You’re exactly right, it did sound much better. I still had a bit of trouble and needed to blend some words but because I was familiar with all of the words, I was able to read it much smoother. Which time do you think was easier to understand? You’re right, the second time was easier because I was reading more fluently. The first time I read the sentence I was not fluent and it was not very easy to understand. All of the words were chopped up which made it hard to really know what the word I was saying was. By rereading the sentence, I was able to read the words much smoother so it made a whole lot more sense.

 4.Say: I am going to give you all some sentences. Get with your partner and practice reading the sentences. See how you get better when you reread. The first time you read the sentence, I want you to whisper read quietly. Once you and your partner have both done it once, I want you and your partner to read the sentence aloud together! (Give students copies of the sentences.)

 5.The teacher will walk around the room and listen as the students read the sentences to see if they are on task, reading, and improving. The teacher will take fluency notes as he or she moves throughout the room.

 6.Say: Did you see how you get better as you read the same thing more than one? We are going to do a couple of timed readings using Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble. You will chart your progress so you can see just how important rereading is! As you sit with your partner, one of you will be the timer and the other will be the reader. The timer will keep time on how long it takes the reader to read the first 10 pages of the book. The reader will whisper read the first 10 pages. Once the first 10 pages are done, the timer will record the time for each read. You will do this three times. The reader will record the time it took him or her to read the 10 pages each time and place the cloud in the appropriate range. The timer will also observe the reader and fill out a checklist after each read. You will then switch spots. After you both have a turn, you can finish the book together. I will walk around to answer any questions you may have. Give a book talk: Iggy Pig is having a party. He wants to invite two of his closest friends, Tabby Cat and Dusty Dog. As the party goes on, an animal with a big, gray, long bushy tail appears. Iggy Pig didn’t invite this animal with a hungry smile to the party or did he? What is going to happen at the party? Will it still be fun or did the Big Bad Wolf ruin it all? You all will read to find out!

 7.Assessment: After students have read to each other, have them turn in the charts to assess if improvements were made. Then, ask the students as a class questions of comprehension. If further assessment is needed and time allows, have students individually come to your desk and read 10 pages of the book. Ask the students questions about what they read to see if they are gaining comprehension skills as well as becoming fluent. Write down notes for each student using observations as they read for fluency and comprehension, including whether they were reading and understanding or just reading.


Alli Smalley. Smooth Sailing.

French, Vivian. Iggy Pig’s Big Bad Wolf Trouble. Scholastic Inc. New York. 1998.

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