Zoom Into Fluent Reading


By Molly Montgomery


Rationale: When students learn to automatically recognize words they can read faster, more smoothly, and with more expression. To become more fluent readers, students must read and reread decodable words in connected text. When students read fluently, they are able to connect more with the text that they are reading. This lesson is designed to help readers increase their fluency and reading ability.



Copies of Slim’s Outing by Geri Murray (one for each student)

Sentence on the board: The rocket zooms past the moon.

Stopwatch for each group of students

Cover-up critters (one per student)

Rocket target for each student

(These targets need to have a space background with increments of 5 going from the ground to the moon. The rocket will need to have Velcro on the back and be easily moved from target to target.)



1. Say: Good morning students! Today we are going to learn about how to become more fluent readers. This is when we can read words without having to stop and decode each one of them. This is going to help you understand what you are reading better.

2. Say: When we come to a word we do not know it is important for us to figure out what that words is instead of skipping it and going to the next words. Today we are going to use our cover-up critters to help us figure out difficult words. Write the word flick on the board. If I was reading a book and did not what this word was, I would first start with figuring out what my vowel says. I do this by using my cover-up critter and my fingers to cover every letter but the i. I know the i says /i/. Next I uncover the letters f and l. Now I have /fli/. Last I uncover the last two letter, ck, and add them to the first part. I now know my word is flick. You can use your cover-up critter to help anytime you get stuck on a word.

3. Say: I am going to read a sentence out loud and I want you to pay attention to which one is the most fluent. I will write the sentence: The rocket zooms past the moon. On the board. First read the sentence as if you were decoding it: ttthhheee rrroooccckkkeeettt zzzoooommmsss paaasssttt ttthhheee mmmoooonnn. Next read the sentence a little faster. Finally read the sentence in the way you normally would. Say: The last sentence was the easiest to understand because it was read the most fluent. When we read fluently people can understand what we are reading.

4. Now it is your turn to practice reading fluently. I want everyone to take a copy of the book Slim’s Outing. I want you to practice reading it a few times because practicing is the only way to make perfect. The book that we are reading today is called Slim’s Outing. This book is about a pig named Slim who gets out of his pen when no one is watching. Do you think Slim behaves himself while he is out of the pen? Let’s read to find out. Don’t forget to make the words as fluent as possible.

5. When they have had a chance to read the book a few times say: Now that you have had a chance to practice let’s come back to the center and I will pair you with a partner to read to each other. You will read the book # times a piece. I want you to use the stopwatch and time your partner for one minute while you listen to them read the book. At the end of the minute you will count how many words they read. You will have a piece of paper to record the results on. As soon as one partner has read 3 times you will switch partners and do the same thing.

6. While students are timing each other, walk around and make sure they are all assessing each other correctly and following all directions.

7. After all of the groups are finished take turns calling the students up to your desk to give them their results from the readings and help them set reasonable goals. We will graph their results on their rocket targets. After we graph where they are today we will set a goal for where they need to get to by the next time we do the activity.

Directions for cover-up critter: You will need a thin popsicle stick and two googly eyes for each cover-up critter. Turn the popsicle stick horizontally and glue the eyes on one end.


Assessment: Their movements or lack thereof on their rocket target will assess the students. You can keep this documented for easy recovery.



Zoom Into Fluent Reading by Janie Colvin:



Slim’s Outing – Geri Murray



Timing Worksheet:

Trial #

Words per minute








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