Fluency Flattening

Growing Independence and Fluency

Kelly Crumrine



Rationale: The goal of this lesson is for students to become more fluent readers. Fluency is important because it allows the reader to focus on understanding the meaning of the text. Students that can read fluently have an easier time reading and enjoy it more. This lesson helps promote fluency through the repeated readings of a text.



Cover up critter for each student (A popsicle stick that is decorated to be more kid friendly. Students can use the critter to cover up part of the word and sound out each individual phoneme, which makes the word easier to decode.)

A pencil for each student

A timer per pair of students

Reading Chart (for each pair)

"Flat Stanley" By Jeff Brown


          Name: ________Date: ____


1st reading time: ______


2nd reading time: ______


3rd reading time: ______



Partner check- sheet:


Name: _____ Partner: ____ Date: ____


I noticed that my partner... (check the circle)


After 2nd           after 3rd


( )                     ( )                     Remembered more words


( )                     ( )                     Read faster


( )                     ( )                     Read smoother


( )                     ( )                     Read with expression



1. Begin the lesson by reviewing cover-ups. "Today we are going to work on our reading fluency, but before we begin that, can anyone tell me what we do when we come to a word that we do not know? That's right, we use our cover-up critters to cover up parts of the word, then we slowly uncover the word as we blend the sounds together." Write smack on the board. "If I saw this word in a book and I did not know it, I would use my cover up critter to help me sound it out. I would first find the vowel which is a and I know that a=/a/. Then I would look at what comes before the a. S says /s/. Next is m, m=/m/. When I blend them together I get the /sm/ sound. Now I know the first three letters say /sma/. Finally, I uncover the rest of the word. I know when I see c and k together they make a 'ck' sound. When I blend the whole word together, I get smack. We can use this strategy whenever we see a word we don't know."


2. Explain/review how to crosscheck. "Not only do good readers read fluently, but they understand what they are reading. A good way to do this is to crosscheck. Or to go back and make sure the words you are reading make sense. For example, if I read the sentence "The fly b-oooo-zzed past,' that would not make much sense. I would know that the word must be "buzzed not 'boozzed'.


3. Explain what fluency is. "Today we are going to work on fluency. Fluency is when good readers read quickly and with expression. One way to get better at fluency is to read a book several times. The more you read it, the quicker you will become because the words will be familiar to you." Write sentence "The fly buzzed past." on the board. "The first time I read this sentence might be slow. The lfff--lll-yyy bb-uu-zzzz-ed ppp-aaa-ssss-tttt. However, the second time I read it I can read it faster because I know the words. The fly buzzed past."


4. Allow the children to reread texts to become better at fluency. Pair students up, pass out the text to each pair of students as well as pencils, stopwatches, one minute reading form, and a partner checklist for each student. "Today, we are going to read an entire book together. The book is called, Flat Stanley' by Jeff Brown. In this story, a young boy wakes up one morning and he no longer looks like you or me, he is as flat as a pancake. Stanley has to go around and adjust to life as completely flat. Its good sometimes like when he can slid under doors, or travel on airplanes by folding up in his mom and dad's luggage. But it might also be hard to live life completely flat. Do you think Stanley will adjust? Will he ever turn back? You'll have to read to find out!"


5. "Once you read the entire book together, I want you both to go back to the beginning. One person will be the reader and the other person will be the timer. The timer will start the stopwatch as the reader begins to read. The reader will read the first section and the timer will record how long it takes. Each will read the section three times.


6. "Also, after you read each time, your partner needs to fill out the partner check sheet for you to see if you read faster, smoother, and with expression."


7. To assess students, I use the formula (words x 60)/seconds to determine the student's words per minute. I will then ask the students some review questions. The questions will include:


-How did Stanley help the museum?

-What fun things would you do if you were flat? Can you remember some of the things Stanley did? (i.e. fly as a kite, mail himself etc.)

-What were some of the downsides of being flat?

-Did did Stanley change back? How?




Brown, Jeff, and Tomi Ungerer. Flat Stanley. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1964.


Hale, Erin. Race Down the Track with Fluency. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/solutions/halegf.htm



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