Rocket into Fluent Reading

Building Fluency Lesson

Maegan Dennis



Rationale: In order for students to become more fluent readers, they must be able to read with automatic word recognition. As a result, students will read accurately, quickly, smoothly, and with expression. Fluent reading is important in becoming reading comprehension.  If a student can read fluently, he or she can put their focus on constructing a meaning from the content of the story instead of slowly decoding every single word. One aspect of reading fluency is reading smoothly. Students can use the crosschecking and rereading strategies in order to help them read more smoothly.


Materials: Copies of Star Bus by Matt Sims for each student, repeated reading checklist for each student, pencils for each student



1. To begin the lesson, say: "Today we will be practicing reading more smoothly. We don't want to sound like robots when we read, so we have to practice reading smoothly and try not to have long breaks between our words. Sometimes even the best readers don't know all the words in every sentence they read. If we want to read with fluency, we have to use our crosschecking and rereading strategies. If we come to a word that we don't know then we have to go back and read the sentence again, using what we know about how words are spelled to figure out the right word. When we figure out the right word, we need to reread the sentence to see if we got the right word.


2. Say: "When we want to read smoothly, two of our most important tools are crosschecking and rereading. They help us to become more comfortable with what we are reading." Write this sentence on the board: "The star bus drove the kids to the Five Moons School." Then read the sentence making sure to include long pauses as you are pretending to decode words. "The… star… bus… drive… the… kids… to… the… Five… Mons… School. That didn't sound right. Let me try that again. The star… bus… um… drove… the kids to the… Five… Moons… School. Oh! The star bus drove the kids to the Five Moons School. Did you hear how I read that sentence the first time it didn't sound just right? Then I went back and read it again, and crosschecked my words and I figured out the two words I didn't know. When I read the sentence the last time I was able to read it smoothly because I knew all of the words. Today, you are going to work with a partner to read the first chapter of Star Bus. You and your partner will both read the chapter three times so that you will be able to read it more fluently and smoothly.


3. "Star Bus is about what happens when a bus takes a wrong turn on the way to the Five Moons School. The bus driver and the students in the bus are thrown off course when they hit a bump and land on another planet. Will they every make it to school on time, or will they be late and get into trouble and get into trouble with Miss Smith? Lets read the book to find out!" The teacher should now read the story to the students, modeling good fluency so that students can become familiar with the story and be able to focus on making their reading more fluent during their independent reading time. Say: "Now let's read the story as a class. Follow along in our book and read with me as I'm reading to the class.


4. After reading the story, break the class into groups of two. Say: I want you to get with your partner, and read the first chapter of this book to each other taking turns. One person should read, and the other should be listening. The partner who is listening should be trying to see if their partner is reading more smoothly each time. Put your partners name on the front of your checklist, and put your name on the back. Decide who is going to be reading first, and make sure you are taking turns reading the chapter back to each other. This is the second time you have read the story, so when you and your partner are reading make sure you are listening, and checking the boxes on your reading checklist of the things that your partner is doing. You should be listening to see if your partner remembers more word what they read (Elephant), if they read faster (Cheetah), if they read smoother (Swan), and if they read with more expression (Monkey). After one person has read, swap roles and that person should listen to the other partner next. After you and your partner have read discuss what you heard your partner do while they were reading. If you thought they remembered more words, or read smoother, or anything else positive you noticed, make sure you let them know. When you are finished, show me your thumbs up and you can go back to your seat to keep practicing on your own.


5. Once everyone is finished, ask the students questions about the reading activity. Say: "Who felt like their reading got to be smoother with each time they read the chapter? Did anyone think of a new strategy to help them read more fluently? Can someone tell me what is happening in our story so far? Great job!"


6. Each student's fluency will be assessed individually in a meeting with the teacher. They will read the first chapter of Star Bus while the teacher takes not on the fluency of their reading, making sure to note if they student is read with speed, smoothness, accuracy, and expression. The focus of the lesson was to help students develop their ability to read smoothly, using crosschecking and rereading, but the other aspect of fluency should also be able to be assessed by the teacher. This will give the teacher information about which of the other aspect of fluency each student needs to work on, and which areas the students are strong in. The notes from the teacher should be compared to the checklists of the students. While each student is being tested for fluency, the other students in the classroom should be working on writing a different ending for the story so that they teacher can assess the student's comprehension.



Bryant, Elizabeth. "If You Give a Student a Book…":

Book: Star Bus by Matt Sims. Illustrated by Rick Hackney. Nigh Noon Books. Novato, CA. 2001



Reading Checklist


First Read

Second Read

I noticed my partner…



read faster.



read smoother.



remembered more words.



read with more expression.


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