"Race to the Top with Reading!"

Growing Independence and Fluency

Adair Bowman

Rationale: The goal for all students is to become fluent readers. Fluent reading is being able to have automatic word recognition and with that the students reading become smoother, faster, and more expressive. A great way to help build fluency is through repeated readings. In this lesson children will work in pairs reading a book and charting their progress. This will be beneficial to practicing and gaining reading fluency. 


Student copies of Night at the Shore by Matt Sims  

        Word Count sheet for each student (see example)

        Reading Evaluation Form for each student (see example)

        timer for each pair of students

        Progress Fluency chart for each student (This will be a monkey that moves up the tree to the bananas. Numbers that indicate the number of words read in a minute will be placed on each branch as he moves up the tree. Each time the child reads the text, they will move their monkey to the appropriate number. This will help to visually show the students their progress. These charts will be kept and used in future fluency lessons. At the end of our fluency lessons, the students will be able to take them home so that they will be encouraged to practice fluency at home.)

Word Count Sheet

Name: _________________               Date: ________________


The first time I read ___________ words.

The second time I read __________ words.

The third time I read _________ words.



Reading Evaluation

Name: _______________     Date: _________     Evaluator: _______________


My partner……… (Fill in circle)

                                           After 2nd time         After 3rd time

Read faster                                  O                      O

Read more smoothly                    O                      O

Read with expression                   O                      O

Read the most words                   O                      O



1) "Today we are going to practice fluency; this will help us to read faster and smoother. We all want to be skillful readers and to achieve that goal we all need to practice. I am going to show you an example. Listen closely so you can help tell me what I need to do. Read the sentence "Bobby and Sue went to the zoo and saw many animals."  (Teacher reads very slowly).   "How did that sound?  My words didn't flow together, and I kept stopping and I was reading too slowly. I am going to read it again listen to see if it sounds better. (Teacher read faster but not using expression)  "Did that sound better?  What did I do differently?  That's right, I read it faster.  I am going to read it one more time so I want everyone to listen." (Teacher reread it using speed and using expression.  "That time, I read the sentence quickly and my words flowed together smoothly. Did you notice how my voice went up and down as I read certain words?  That is called expression. This is what makes a fluent reader. To become a fluent reader we need practice so today we are going to practice and use our chart to make our progress on all becoming fluent readers."


 2) Explain to the students what they are going to be doing. "Today we are going to work on reading using speed, to gain fluency. To help us do this we are going to the read the same book three times. Each time that we read it, we will become more familiar with the words in the book which will help us read more fluently, being able to have automatic word recognition also helps us to become fluent readers."


 3) Divide the class into pairs (2 students).  Give each pair of students a copy of Night at the Shore along with two speed record sheets and reading evaluation rubric for your partner.

4) Give Book talk: Pierce and Sandy are bored on a night that is stormy. When Pierce dares Sandy to race to the top of the light house she takes the challenge. When they get to the top they see someone in danger. What should they do? Are they going to be able to help? Let's read and find out.



 5) Give the students directions for the fluency activity: "In this activity each of you will have a turn at reading the book and being the listener. The listener will time the student who is reader with the timer. Read the entire book and the person with the time will time you. . Your partner will count the words the reader read and record the data in the chart given. Then after that you will switch jobs. You will repeat this until each of you has read the book 3 times. Remember that each time you read begin at the beginning of the book.   After each child has done each job three times, both students need to fill out the reading evaluation. Make sure your name is on it because the teacher will take them up."


 6) Give each student their own fluency chart. This will be to chart their progress. Explain how they are to use them. "You are going to use these chart to help monitor your fluency. The numbers that are going up the tree represent how many words you are able to read correctly. After each time you read and count your words, move your monkey up the tree to that number. Each time that you read, your monkey should move closer to the bananas at the top of the tree. We will be using these in later activities, so make sure to take care of them. At the end of the today's activity, I will take them up and hold onto them for you."


 7) Once everyone has finished reading three times and filling out the charts, I will ask the students to be sure their name and the date is on their charts. Have students turn it their work so that you can chart their progress as well.




Evaluate the Word Count Sheet and the Reading Evaluation Rubric. On the Word Count Sheet, compare times for each reading. . The time should have decreased.. On the Reading Evaluation Rubric, each student should have accomplished each of the goals by the 3rd reading.

Comprehension Question For story:

1) Who was the story about?

2) What was the dare?

3) What did they see from the light house?

4) What happens to Sandy and Peirce? Who do they help?

5) What happened to the man and child's boat to make them stranded?

     6) What happened on Sandy and Peirce's way back to shore?



Murray, Dr. Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html

Young, Emily. (2007). "Race into Fluency!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/younggf.html.



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