No More Robot Reading

Growing independence and fluency lesson design by Amber Allman



In order for students to become more fluent readers, they must grow in their abilities to read accurately, smoothly, quickly, and with expression. Reading fluently is an important step toward reading comprehension. When a child reads fluently, he or she is able to focus more on the content of the text instead of on slowly decoding every word. Crosschecking and rereading are tools that complement each other and that aid in teaching a child to read smoothly and in turn more fluently. By reading Amelia Bedelia three times, students will be able to read more smoothly.


Student copies of
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Repeated reading checklist



1. Begin the lesson on fluency: "Today we are going to learn how to read smoothly. What does smooth mean? (allow for student response) Yes, if something is smooth it is all together or it flows well.  In reading, reading smoothly helps with fluency.  When we are able to read smoothly, we no longer have to stop and decode each word.  Sometimes even fluent readers mess up, and when they do, they go back and read the sentence over again.  So if you come across a word you have to decode, you crosscheck it, or see if it makes sense, then return to the beginning of the sentence to read the entire sentence smoothly.”

2. “To be able to read smoothly, students need a lot of practice!  Rereading is a great way for us to become more comfortable with what we are reading.  It also allows us to become smooth readers.” Write this sentence on the board: Draw the drapes when the sun comes in. Then read the sentence like a robot. "Draw… the…. ummm… when… the ... sun… comes… in. Oh! Draw… the… drapes… when… the ... sun… comes… in.  Draw the drapes when the sun comes in. "Did you hear when I didn't know the word drapes I kept reading the rest of the sentence then went back to figure out the word? Then I read the sentence again. Because I had read the sentence, go back and figure the word I missed, and then read it again, I was able to read more fluently. "Today, we are going to read Amelia Bedelia three times! This way we will be able to become more fluent, smooth, readers."

3.  "Amelia Bedelia is about a girl who goes to clean house for a very rich family.  Her boss, Mrs. Rogers, leaves her a list of things to do while she is working. Amelia misunderstands some of the things on the list. Do you think Amelia will do something bad? Do you think she will get fired? Let’s read to find out!” Teacher will read the book to students so they may become familiar before reading independently.

4. After reading the story as a class, the students will then whisper read to each other.

5.  After reading the story, say: "Now I want for you to break into pairs. Each pair needs a book and 2 repeated reading checklists. You and your partner are going to take turns reading and listening to each other. While one of you reads, the other will listen for if you are reading smoothly. Quickly decide who is going to read first. When you read, use the crosschecking technique for words you don't know. Then make sure you reread the sentence so that you can read it smoothly. This is your second time reading the story and I want you to read to your partner a third time so you can read even more smoothly! After you read to your partner, discuss with them whether or not you read smoothly. The partner who was listening needs to mark which time the reader remembered more words, read faster, read smoothly, and read with expression on the worksheet. Then swap roles and whoever read, listen, and whoever listened, read."

6.  Once everyone has finished reading, get feedback from the students. "Who felt like they read more fluently the more they read the book? (student discussion) What do you think helped you the most? (student discussion) Good! I am glad everyone read more smoothly the more they read the book!”

7. Each student will be assessed individually on fluency by meeting with the teacher. They will read Amelia Bedelia while the teacher takes notes on how smooth, accurate, and expressive each student read. The teacher should compare her notes to the rereading checklist completed by the students. While the teacher is meeting with students individually the rest of the class should be writing a story about a time they messed up or misunderstood then illustrate their story. Students must compare their experience with Amelia Bedelia’s experiences.



Lesson by Elizabeth Bryant: If You Give a Student a Book 

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish; HarperCollins Publishers; 1963


Return to Awakenings Index