Floating into Fluency


Growing Independence and Fluency


Kelley Adams


Rationale:  Fluency is the ability to identify words accurately, rapidly, and automatically, and is read at the rate in which you speak. There are three significant skills needed to become a fluent reader: the ability to read faster, smoother, and more emotionally. To gain fluency, students need to read and reread the same text multiple times so that they will learn to recognize all of the words automatically. When students read with partners, they have each other to help decode words and it allows them to practice reading aloud.



∙A copy of Night at the Shore for each student

∙A stop watch for each pair of students

∙A Speed Record Sheet for each student

∙A Fluency Literacy Rubric for each student

∙A dry erase marker


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name: ____________         Evaluator: ____________         Date: ___________

I noticed that my partner (color in the circle)

After 2nd                         After 3rd

O                                    O                          Remembered more words

O                                    O                          Read faster

O                                    O                          Read smoother

O                                    O                          Read with expression





1. Explain to the students what it means to be a fluent reader. "To be fluent readers we need to read with expression, which means that we put feeling and emotion in our voice; we read smoothly and we read rapidly, at a speaking speed." Explain to your students that today we will be reading and rereading the story Night at the Shore. Rereading the text will help us become more fluent readers. Reassure them that they might not know every word the first time they read it through but that they need to use their cover-up critters or use the crosschecking method to figure out the word. Next time they read this story they should be able to recognize the word with a little more ease and by the last time they should know how to read the word fluently.

2. Write the sentence "I row the boat to shore." on the board. Model two ways to read this sentence. The first way you read it should be slow and drawn out. For example, say "I r-r-o-o-w-w th-e-e b-o-o-a-t- t-o-o sh-o-o-r-r-e." Next, model for the students how to read this sentence fluently. "I row the boat to shore." Ask the students which way sounds better: when I said it slow or when I read it fluently? The students should answer that the second time was the correct way to read fluently.

3. Engage the students in a book talk about the story Night at the Shore. This story is about two friends who race to the top of a lighthouse. They see large waves in the ocean and a flare (or emergency signal) from a boat off the coast. Someone needs help, so will they be able to help them?

4. Have the students partner up and go to different places in the room. Each child should receive a Speed Record Sheet and a Fluency Literacy Rubric. Explain to the students that one person is going to be the "reader" while the other person is the "recorder". The reader will read as much of the book as they can in one minute. At the end of the one minute they will point to the word they ended on and the "recorder" will write down the number of words the "reader" read. The "recorder" will reset the stop watch and the "reader" will read the book through a second time. The "recorder" should follow the same steps as before. The "reader" will read the text a third and final time. At the end of this read, the "recorder" will record the number of words the "reader" read and then fill out the Fluency Literacy Rubric. They are instructed to bubble in the circle that best describes how the reader did. After they have finished this, the students will swap roles and follow the steps above. The goal by the end of this activity is that the students will be able to read the text more accurately and fluently.

5. For assessment, the teacher will call students up individually and have them read as much of the text as they can in one minute. Have the students recall what happened in the story to assess their comprehension skills.



Adams, Lacey. "Up, Up, and Away With Fluency!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/guides/adamsgf.html

Night at the Shore by: Matt Sims (2004).


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