Speeding into Fluent Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

Natalie Brock




Rationale: Developing fluency in a reader is something that is the determining factor for independent motivation and confidence in reading.  Fluency is the ability of a reader to recognize words accurately, rapidly and automatically.  Direct instruction in fluency is a way to aid students in the development of their fluency and to provide the necessary support to help students reach the main goal of independent reading with comprehension with a hopeful goal of reading independently with the desire to read. Through this lesson, students will see the impact fluency has on comprehension through modeling reading with and without fluency as well as independent practice of speed reading.


Materials:  Class set of a decodable text, Caps For Sale, Phonics Readers, Short Vowels, stopwatch for every two children, 3 racecars (numbered 1, 2, and 3) for each child's progress chart with numbers 10 through 91, ascending on the right side of the race path (see attached), Velcro on the chart and cut-outs (to hold the racecar on the track), one sticky note, 3 per child, partner reading checklist, and pencils. 


1. Begin the lesson by discussing the importance of fluency and rereading passages.  Also discuss how fluency and rereading help with comprehension of texts.  "Today we are going to learn a new skill to help us become more expressive and faster readers!  This skill is called rereading.  Can anyone tell me what I mean by rereading? Let's break the word down to find out! What does the suffix re- mean? Now add that with reading! Very good! Rereading means to read again.  We are going to practice this together today while we become more fluent readers.

2. Model how to reread a passage from a text.  "I am going to read a sentence to you in two ways.  When I am finished I want you to tell me which way you liked the best or which sounded the best to you." Caleb took his dog to the park and they played there for 3 whole hours!  First I will read the sentence like a beginning reader -- slowly noting each phoneme.  Then read it a second time smoothly with expression.  "Which way did you like the best?  The second way?  Great!  The first way was harder to understand and remember the words because I did not use my fun voice, or good expression.  The second way was easier to understand because I used expression!  Did you notice how my reading improved the second time through the sentence? I even added a change in my voice toward the end to let you know there was an ! at the end of the sentence."  Now we are going to practice becoming better readers so we can remember more of what we read!

3. "Now it is your turn to practice the skill of rereading."  Pass out decodable texts to each student.  "I want you to read the story to yourself quietly.  If you come to more than one word, on one page, that you cannot read you may want to choose a new book to read."

4. Introduce the fluency checklist to the students.  "You will listen to your partner read the story one time through.  On the second reading of the text you will check the boxes that apply to how they read.  For example, if your partner remembered more words the second time through check that box, if they read faster check that box, if they read smoother check that box, and if they read with expression check that box.  Repeat this for the third reading too.  Then you will switch places with your partner.

5. Place children into groups of two.  Pass out stopwatches, progress charts with speedy racecars, repeated reading checklist, and sticky notes numbered 1, 2, and 3 to designate the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reading of the text.  "Along with your partner you are going to read for one minute.  Each partner will take turns using the stopwatch to time the other partner for one minute.  Once your partner says to stop you will place the post-it note where you stopped in the book.  This is when you will count the number of words you have read and place your speedy racecar on the race track by the correct number.  Then you will reread the book a second and a third time.  This you're your partner will fill in the checklist for you.  You will place the 2nd sticky note on the page where you stopped and move the racecar according to the number of pages you read.  You will do this once more for your third reading.  Once you have finished your three readings you and your partner will switch places.  If you have a hard time reading some of the words you can use the cover-up strategy that we have already learned.  Remember, if you come to the word trust cover up the /tr/ and pull down the /u/ then add the /st/.  Now you have /ust/ so just add the /tr/ and now you have /trust/.  Get ready to be speedy readers!  I will be walking around to help you as you read." 

6. "When you have finished reading the story three times raise your hand and I will bring a racecar cut-out to you.  Here you will write your name and record the largest number of words that you read through the three readings.  We will post these around the room to show off our new speedy fluent readers!"

7. Assessment:  I will assess the students by reviewing his or her progress chart to see if they made any improvements after the three repeated readings.  I will check each racecar marker on the progress chart to see how many words they gained after each reading. 


1. Asbury, Sarah. Let's Leap Into Great Reading.


2. Caps For Sale. Esphyr Slobodkina  

3. Long, Angela Carroll. Running Towards Fluency. 


4. Ludlum, Anna. Ready Set Read! http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/ludlumgf.html

5. Lunceford, Valerie. Hop Into Speedy Reading.


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