Growing Independence and Fluency

By: DeDe Carroll



Rational: Reading fluency is very important for kids to develop. They must learn to read quickly, effortlessly, and with emotion. Fluency is developed after learning many correspondences and becoming automatic with words that are read.  Reading fluently does not just mean one can read really quickly. It means that the reader can keep himself, as well as an audience, entertained and being able to read for comprehension. Once a child is a fluent reader, reading becomes more enjoyable. This lesson will help the students more fully understand what it means to be a good fluent reader and how they can improve their fluency.



- Book- Robert the Rose Horse

- Document camera

- Copies of the pages they are going to read (one for each student)

- Stopwatch

- Pencils

- Crayons

- Fluency chart



1.  Say: “Today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers.”  Who knows what reading fluently means?” Let them give a few answers and then tell them: “Fluency is not just how fast you read, but it is reading smoothly, with expression, kind of like you are having a conversation. The words should flow and you should be able to enjoy the book. So now, I am going to read two pages from the book, Robert the Rose Horse; I want you to pay close attention to how I read these pages.”  I will proceed to read the pages from the book. Just read page one and two. I am going to read the page very choppy and sound out most words that I am trying to read. You may even want to struggle with a sentence and then re-read it. Then ask: “So, did you enjoy me reading this story? Did I read good? Did you notice how I got stuck on some words?  Didn’t everyone have a difficult time understanding me?  Yes, you are right.  This happens a lot when we read, but the more we read the same words, the better we become at recognizing them. Ok, now I am going to read the same thing to you a second time.” I will begin to read the same pages a second time. This time I will read regularly, with fluency and expression.  “How about that time? Did you enjoy me reading that to you? Why was this time so much better than last time? Did you understand the pages more? Now we are going to work on some strategies to help you practice your reading so that each of you will read fluently and with expression, just like I did.” 


2.  I will write a model sentence on the board after introducing fluency to the students. My dog loves to swim in the water.  “I want you to read this sentence with me, and we are going to sound out each letter in each word slowly.” Do this together as a class. “Did this sentence sound good to you?”  “Ok, I am going to read it to you tremendously fast.”  My dog loves to swim in the water.  “Whoa! I barely could understand myself! That was TOO fast! Now, I am going to read this sentence to you using good reader fluency.” Read the sentence like it should be read.  “I want you to read it with me this time.”  The students join in and we read the sentence together using fluency and saying each word correctly. 


3. “Before we move on, let’s think back to when we learned about how to use decoding skills to help us read. What if I was reading a story and came across a word I didn’t know? Let’s say the word was fast. (Write the word fast on the white board). What could I do to figure it out? That’s right; I can use my cover-up critter to help me! (Model for students how to use cover-ups). Cover all of the letters except for a; leave it by itself. We know that the letter a makes an aaaaa sound. Now look at the rest of the word and let’s sound out the rest of it together. FFFFF-AAAAAA-SSSSS-TTTT. Good job! Now you can use this strategy to help you if you get stuck.”


4.  Now it is time for their partner reading. I am going to explain to the students that they will be paired up with a partner, and they are going to read a chapter from “Robert the Rose Horse”, until they are reading it fluently (it will actually just be 3 pages out of the book, since it is not a chapter book). “Your partner is going to keep time for you. When you get through reading the pages, your partner will tell you how long it took you to read it. Chart your time on the graph (hold up graph to show them). Let me show you an example: Say that Libby and I are partners. She is going to have the stopwatch and I am going to read until I finish the passage. When I am done she will tell me my time. Say it took my 2 minutes to read this. I am going to chart 2 minutes on my graph. Then Libby will read and do the same thing that I did when she is done. You will take turns and keep going until you both have read THREE times. Color in your time with a different color each reading round. The reason we are doing this is for you to be able to read the same passage over and over so you can become familiar with how reading with fluency sounds.  After you read this a few times, you should start getting familiar with the text and with the story.” 


5.  Pass out the fluency chart and break the students into pairs.  Each student will be given a copy of the pages that they will be reading and a stopwatch.  By having the students color in the different numbers for each time they have completed reading, they will begin to see their progress in fluency because they have become familiar with it. This will be a good visual motivator for them.


Assessment:  The first assessment will be a quick scan. I will walk around the room to not only monitor, but to listen in on each group to make sure they are completing the task. The main assessment piece will be looking and interpreting the charts they make. I will collect the charts at the end of our time and analyze each one. If I had time, I could calculate their time by using the formula (wordsX60/seconds it took to read). I will make sure each student is on the level they need to be on (depending on their learning level). We will have a group discussion to see if they comprehended what they read.




“Robert the Rose Horse” by By Joan Heilbroner, P. D. Eastman - Random House       Children's Books (1962)

Nicole Stewart- Sailing Away With Reading



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