Amelia Bedelia Wants You to Read More Fluently!

Growing Independency and Fluency

Hayes Adams


 Rationale:  Students read slowly when they first begin reading, but increase speed as words become more effortless and automatic.  Word recognition becomes quicker and more involuntary as the student learns to decode. Fluency allows students to concentrate on comprehending and retaining what they read instead of struggling to decode words.  Some signs of fluency are rapid, more expressive, unvoiced, and instinctive reading.  Fluent readers also have a more positive experience and enjoy their reading because they are not having a hard time with each and every word. Their developed sight vocabulary helps the reading process to go more smoothly. Reading and rereading decodable words in a connected text helps students become more fluent readers.  This lesson will help children learn how to read more rapidly and confidently.  They will work on their reading fluency through timed readings and repeated readings. 



-Class set of decodable books, Amelia Bedelia By Peggy Parish (one per student)

-Stopwatch ( one per pair)


-Reading charts for each student

-Fluency rubric for each child


-Reading Progress Chart:

Name:______________________  Date:____________


1st reading: ______

2nd reading: ______

3rd reading: ______


-Fluency Rubric:

Name:______________________  Evaluator:_______________________  Date: ____________


I noticed that my partner: (put an X in the blank)                                                 

                                                          After 2nd    After 3rd

Read Faster                                                ______      ______

Read Smoother                                           ______      ______

Read with Expression                                ______      ______

Remembered more words                            ______      ______




1. Introduce the lesson by explaining what it means to be a fluent reader. 

"Today, we are going to practice reading more fluently.  Who knows what fluently means?  Good job!  Fluent readers read quickly. Their reading is also very effortless and automatic.  (Write the following on the board: 'My dog is big')  A beginning reader sounds like this when


reading the sentence on the board: 'Mmmmyy dddoooggg iiisss bbbiiiiggg.'  Then they might say 'Mmyy- my- ddooggg dog- is- bbiigg-big' struggling with the unfamiliar and repeating those they do not recognize.  A beginning reader who can read the words automatically might say 'My dog is big' but sound like a robot or read without expression, but a fluent reader who recognizes words automatically and reads with expression sounds like this: 'My dog is big!'  Fluent readers sounds like this because they are able to read the words effortlessly and automatically.  The only way to become fluent is to practice. Just like anything in life: sports, dance etc, practice makes perfect. The more practice that you have with a book, the faster you are able to read it.  Reading a book that you have already read before also helps you become more natural with books that you have never even seen before.  Let's start practicing so that we can become fluent readers!"


2. First say: "Today we are going to review the cover up critter strategy class.  Okay, what do we do when we come to a word that we cannot read? Exactly! We use our cover-up critter! For example, if I saw this word (write stack on the board) when I was reading and did not know it, I would cover-up all the letters (s, t, c, k) but the vowels because I know that  a= /a/.  Now look at the letters before the vowel a, the st.  Blend these phonemes with the vowel a.  This sounds like /s/t/a/.  Then blend the letters at the end of the word, the ck, with the rest of the letters to make /s/t/a/c/k/.  When you see a word that you don't know how to read, use the cover-up method to help you decode the word. Breaking it down into little pieces is a lot less intimidating and makes it much less frustrating when you come across a word you do not know."


3. Tell the students: "To understand what we have read, we cannot just concentrate on reading fast.  We can crosscheck what we read to make sure our sentence makes sense.  For example, if I read this sentence (Write on the board: "The cake tasted good.") as "The cack tasted good" then I could use my crosschecking ability to decide that “cack” doesn't taste good because the word “cack” doesn’t even exist so the sentence I read doesn't make sense.  I would then reread my sentence correctly as "The cake tasted good." realizing that the e makes a say its name.


4. Break the class up into pairs. Then give selected book, Amelia Bedelia to each child; hand out a Fluency Rubric and Reading Progress Chart to each student. Also, give the following book talk about Amelia Bedelia, but will be careful not to give away the ending so that the students are eager to continue reading. “A rich couple hires a maid to do chores while they are out for the day. Amelia has the best of intentions and wants to please her new employers. She does the chores exactly how they are written, word for word. We will have to read more to figure out how Amelia interprets each of the chores. Will she lose her new job?


5.After the students have heard the whole story out loud and tell them to take turns reading a portion to their partners. The person who is not reading, “the recorder”, will write down how long it takes the "reader" to read pages 6-14 of the text.  The "recorder" will record the "reader’s" time by using the stopwatch.  The "recorder" will then make a note on the Reading Progress Chart about how many long it took the reader to read pages 6-14 (154 words). They will then switch turns (the "reader" becoming the "recorder" and vice versa) and do the process again.


6. After both children have finished reading, have them practice by doing a repeated reading of the same text.  This time also remind each "recorder" to fill out the Fluency

Rubric after the "reader" has read the book. This will give them a chance to focus on expression and smoothness not just speed. This will also show me how well they read the text not just if they could read it quickly.


7. Let the students to do one more rereading of the book for a total of three readings of the book.  Remind the children to carry on recording their partner's reading in the Reading Progress Chart and to complete the Fluency Rubric. Let the students discuss how they got better within their readings and rereadings of the book with their partner.


8. Then collect the students' completed Fluency Rubrics and Reading Progress Charts.  Compare the students' first, second, and last readings to check for development in fluency and divide the 154 words that each child reads divided by the amount of time that it took them. This will give me the words per minute for each student and enable me to make a graph of their progress.


Assessment: Have each child read a section to me in the reading center out of Amelia Bedelia.  The passage will contain approximately 60 words.  Measure how fast they read by timing them and recording their time on a checklist.  They will then be able to read the passage through two more times and try to better their score. Make a chart of their progress. The class will also have a conversation about Amelia Bedelia to make sure that everyone has understood the text and did not just race through the reading without understanding the text. At the end each child will write about three mistakes that Amelia Bedelia made while completing her checklist. This will show whether or not the students understand and remember the text. Afterwards, they will choose one mistake that Amelia Bedelia made and draw a picture of what the list intended literally and how she interpreted it.



Parrish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia. Harper Collins: New York, 1963


Murray, Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.


Harry, Amanda. Racing to Read Fluently.