Becoming Faster With Fluency
Growing Independence and Fluency
Fluency is one of the most important reading skills, as students must be fluent in order to read and comprehend more difficult texts. In this lesson, students will practice reading a decodable chapter book and reviewing decoding strategies in order to gain more words into their sight vocabulary and become a more fluent reader. Through the reviewing of these strategies and the repeated readings of the text, students will begin to recognize more words and read the text at a faster rate.
1.) A copy of Sal Takes Charge by Matt Sims for every student
Sims, M. Sal Takes Charge. High Noon Books. California: 2002.
2.) Poster with the sentence: The racecar zoomed around the track.
3.) Stopwatch for each pair of students
4.) Reading time sheet for each student
5.) Poster with the sentence: The track was full of racecar fanatics
1.) Begin by introducing the lesson: "Today we are going to work on our reading skills by practicing reading faster. We are going to be reading the book, Sal Takes Charge. You will read this story many times today so you can practice learning and reading new words. You are not rereading this because you are being punished but because it is a reading experience. Reading faster and learning new words are very important because it helps you to be able to understand harder books and know more words."
2.) "Before beginning our text for the week, I want to review what to do if there is a word that you don't know while you are reading. Let's look at the poster on the board: The racecar zoomed around the track. Listen as I try to read this word zoomed in the sentence: The racecar z-zzz-uuu-m zummed around the track…ohhh the racecar zoomed around the track! When I first tried to read zoomed, I had a difficult time figuring out how to decode the word. I kept reading the sentence and figured out that it was zoomed instead of zumed because of the other words in the sentence, like racecar and track. This is called crosschecking because I checked with the other words in the sentence in order to figure out what the unknown word was. This is one of the decoding methods that you will need to use when there is a word that you are unsure of."
3.) "You are going to practice fluent reading with the decodable story, Sal Takes Charge. You will read and reread the story, attempting to read faster and to decode more of the words. The more you read the story, the easier it will be to remember how to decode the words and to read the passage with a faster time."
4.) Now model fluent reading for your students: "I am going to read the same sentence, the racecar zoomed around the track, as a fluent reader and as a non-fluent reader. Listen carefully to each way that I read the sentence." First read the sentence as a non-fluent reader: "'The r-raaace c-c-caarr z-zuuummed a-rrr-ound the t-tr-track.' Did you understand what I was reading? Was it smooth and fast?" Wait for the students to answer. "No, it was slow and choppy. Now listen again as I read the sentence. Read the sentence fluently:"' The racecar zoomed around the track.' Did this reading sound smooth and fast?" Wait for students to answer. "Yes, it was more fluent and you could hear the words I was reading. This is how fluent readers read, with an even pace and with expression. Put up the poster with the sentence: The track was full of racecar fanatics. Now I will give you a sentence to practice your fluency. Get with a partner and take turns reading the sentence fluently." Give the students five minutes to practice their reading fluency.
5.) "Now I'm going to pass out the book, Sal Takes Charge, for you to use for your repeated readings. I will also pass out a reading time sheet for each of you and a stopwatch to each pair. You are going to work with a partner that I assign to read and reread this story. Put the students into their partner groups and pass out the book, time sheets, and stopwatches. "You and your partner will take turns reading the story. You will each read it three times, attempting to become more fluent each time. While you are reading, your partner will time you and record your total time on the recording sheet. Then, you will switch. You will be reading Sal Takes Charge. Sal is a student from Spain, who has come to stay with Mike and his family. Sal is shy, but he gets used to living with the family. One day, Sal and Mike get home from school and find that there is smoke at their house. Will Sal step up and help or will the house burn down from a raging fire? You will have to read the story to find out."
6.) While the students are reading to each other, walk around the room to make sure the students are on task and correctly completing the activity. Answer any questions the students have and see how each group is doing.
7.) To assessment the students' reading fluency, collect the students' time sheets. Compare each student's beginning time with their last time to see if they improved their speed. Then, assess the words read per minute by using the following formula: Words x 60
To assess the students' comprehension of the text they read, have them individually complete a 3-question worksheet:
a. Who is Sal?
b. What did Sal and Mike discover when they got back from school?
c. How did Sal react to the issue?
Colvin, Jamie. Zoom Into Fluent Reading.
Kilgore, Katie. Flying into Fluency!
Sims, M. Sal Takes Charge. High Noon Books. California: 2002. 25 pp.
Wheeler, Mary Kathryn. Reading Faster, Farther, and More Fluently.
Click here to return to Awakenings Index.