Racing into Fluent Reading


Growing Independence and Fluency

Madeline Manifould




Rationale: Reading fluency is being able to read with automatic word recognition, which results in the ability to read text at a quick, smooth rate, and with expression. To become fluent readers, children must be able to decode words in a connected text.   Students can work on becoming fluent readers by performing repeated readings of text.  The goal of this lesson is to improve students' fluency through repeated readings and timed readings.


Materials: Copy of Missing Chime for each student, pencil for each student, cover up critter for each student

Racecar Reading Progress Chart for each student with a track counting by five's around the racetrack. A racecar like the one pictured above will Velcro to the track and students will move it as their fluency improves.

Sentences written on chart paper:

The dog chased the cat under the tree.

I like to skip with my mom.

Mary runs to the park to play with Susie.

Kate is at school with her friends.

Speedy Reader Progress Chart for each student:

Name:________________    Date:__________

1st time:____

2nd time:____

3rd time:____



1.     Say: Sometimes we have to practice things to become better at them. Can anybody tell me a skill they practice to become better at? (Ex. Dance, sports, math). Those are all things that we must practice to become better at. We also need to practice our reading to become more fluent readers. A fluent reader is a reader who can read quickly and accurately. Once you become a fluent reader, the text you read will make more sense to you because you will not have to keep stopping while you read. Today we are going to practice reading and try to become more fluent readers.


2.     Now, I will model cross checking. Say: I'm going to read a sentence to you (The girl ran up the hill.). Let me show you how to cross check. The girl ren up the hill. Hmm... ren up the hill? That does not make sense to me. I better reread the sentence. The girl ran up the hill. Ohhh ran. That makes more sense.That sentence was a lot easier to understand. This is a strategy that we can use as fluent readers.


3.     Now, have students practice reading example sentences that are written on chart paper. After the students read a few of the sentences move onto the reading of the book.



The dog chased the cat under the tree.

I like to skip with my mom.

Mary runs to the park to play with Susie.

Kate is at school with her friends.


4.     Say: Now, you are going to read the book Missing Chime to work on fluency. Remember that fluent readers use crosschecking to identify unfamiliar words and understand sentences. If you are stuck on a word, use your cover-up critter to separate the parts of the word. First, cover up every letter except the vowel, then blend the beginning of the word with the vowel, and finally blend the end. Then, reread the entire sentence to make sure you understand. If you are stuck on a word or confused, raise your hand and I will come help you.


5.     Book talk. Say: This story is about a little boy who stumbles across an old wind chime in a store in his town. The chime fascinated the boy. But one day one of the chimes went missing. The store owner is left to figure out where it went! We'll have to read to find out where the chime disappeared to!


6.     After the book talk, have students sit with their reading partners and give each pair a stopwatch. Explain that they are going to be reading the books to one another. The person who is not reading will time their partner using the stopwatch. They will be timing the amount of time that it takes for their partner to read the text. They will count the total number of words that they read and write that number on their sheet. The students will then move their racecar along the track to the number they read. They will read the same passage three times. As they are reading, their partner should be looking to see if they are improving in accuracy, reading with expression, speed and fluency. I will be walking around to assist any groups that need help.


7.     For an assessment, the students will each bring me their Speed Reading Record and partner checklist. I will perform a fluency check with each child to check for fluency and accuracy. Formula=(words x 60)/seconds.




Abby Hamann; Zoooom Let's Go Go Go!

Murray, B.A., & Lesniak, T. (1999). The Letterbox Lesson: A Hands-on Approach for Teaching Decoding. The Reading Teacher, 52, p. 644-650


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