Leap into Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

Mary Cam Carlson


Reading fluently is the ability to read faster, smoother, and with expression. Becoming a successful reader involves reading and rereading decodable texts. Through rereading texts, students will learn to read more words per minute. When children practice and learn to read more fluently, they will be able to comprehend the text and understand it more easily. Teachers should model fluent reading in the classroom, so that children have an understand of what it is and how they should sound when they read. 



Book "Rabbit Takes a Hop" (enough for every two people -- 10 books), die cut rabbits (approx. 20), chart of a garden (with carrots) for each student. (attached), stopwatches (enough for every two students), worksheet with three or four simple sentences to read aloud to practice speed (ex. She has made a mess.).



1.     Introduce the lesson by explaining that when readers read fast, the words flow better. Words and sentences are easier to understand and listen to when they are read fluently instead of read slow. Read a sample sentence to the students. "Boys and girls, I am going to read you a sentence in two different ways. AFTER I get done, I want you to tell me which one sounds better. 1.) Thhhe rrrraaaabbitttt hooopppss  innnnn theee gardddeennn. 2.) The rabbit hops in the garden. Now, which one sounded better? That's right, the second one sounded better. Can anyone tell me why? That's right, because it was faster and smoother than the first one I read.

2.     Today we are going to work on reading so that it sounds smooth and more like we are talking to someone. When we talk to our friends, do we talk real slow or kind of fast? That's right, we talk kind of fast. We also use expression.  This means that the words sound how we feel.  How do you sound when you are really excited? How do you sound when you are sad? Read a line from the book.  Which sounds better when I read it? that's right, the one with expression.  I want you to practice reading like this. That's what good readers do. 

3.     "Now, I want each of you to get a partner. There are some sentences on the board and I want each of you to practice reading them out loud with expression.  Remember to read the like you would talk.  When we are finished I will tell you to go back to your desks. 

4. I will read a rabbit book out loud to model fluent reading for the students.  The students will have a copy of the text as well.  I will read quickly and with expression. 

5.     Today, when we are reading, we are going to keep track of how fast we can read. In order for us to keep track, I am going to give each of you a rabbit and a picture of a garden. Pass out the chart, rabbit and stopwatches.

6.     "I want everyone to put their rabbit on the first row of the garden at the bottom of your chart. In a minute I am going to give everyone a partner. You and your partner are going to practice reading this story "Rabbit Takes a Hop" (Hold up the book) I want you to time your partner for one minute when he/she is reading. When one minute is up, count the number of words that he/she read in a minute. Write this number on the first line by the first row in the garden. This is going to be your starting point. Then switch and let the other person read. After both team members get their first numbers written down I want you to add ten to it. Write this number on the next line. Keep adding ten to each number until all four lines are filled in with a number.

Everyday we are going to work on reading more words in a minute. When you increase the number of words you read in a minute you can move your rabbit to the next row. But, you can only move the rabbit if your new number is at least your next number. (Demonstrate on the board).

7.   Allow the students to begin reading and timing. Instruct students to continue reading their books until their rabbit has reached the last garden row or until they have taken turns reading four times, or until the time for the activity is up. If people do not finish you can continue the activity again tomorrow for them to progress in their speed. 

      8.    ASSESSMENT:

 -Walk around and check on each group. Make sure they are completing the task correctly. As you walk around, listen to each student, and answer the following questions for each student.

                   1.    Does the student read fluently?

                   2.     Is the student progressing?

                   3.      s the student reading quickly, but still comprehending the text?

 - Have the students come up one at a time to read a passage from the book to make sure they are progressing in fluent reading. 

    9.     After the students have finished this activity, ask them to pick out their own book from the classroom library and create a chart on their own to do the same thing. This will help them continue to be fluent in their reading. 


Burbic, Cindy. "It's My Party and I'll cry If I want to…."

Pegues, Jennifer. "Dive Into Reading".

Williamson Mandy, Leaping Rabbits



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