On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Mary Claire Sikes

Rationale: In order for children to read a significant amount of text in a certain amount of time and be able to remember what they read, they need to be able to read fluently and skillfully. Reading fluently is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. Fluent readers learn to read at a fast pace, but can also read smoothly and with expression. When children become fluent they are able to comprehend what they are reading because they don't have to focus on sounding out words. The goal of this lesson is to help students develop reading fluency using timed, repeated reading.


 A Day at the Lake by: Matt Sims (enough copies for each student)

Dry Erase Board

Dry Erase Marker

Fluency Sheets for each student

Stopwatch for each pair of students

Pencil for each student

Progress chart (could be a mouse climbing a ladder to the tree)


1.    The teacher will explain the purpose of the lesson to the students. "Today we are going to learn how to improve our fluency in reading. In order to become a successful reader, you must be able to read fluently.  Fluency is when you are able to read fast without having to stop to sound out words because you are able to recognize them automatically and read them with little to no effort.  Once you become fluent readers, the text will begin to make more sense because you do not have to try so hard to read each word.  One way that we can work on fluency is by reading a text or book more than once.  Each time you read a book, you get faster because you are becoming more familiar with the text."  "Today we are going to read a text more than once and see if that helps us with our fluency!"

2.    The teacher will model for the students how to read fluently. She will explain what it sounds like and feels like.  Write on the dry erase board the following sentence: A Day at the Lake. Tell students, "first I am going to read this sentence without fluency. Aaaa Daaaay atttt theeee Laaakkke.  Now, I am going to read the sentence like a fluent reader would. A Day at the Lake.  Did you hear the difference between reading with fluency and without? Listen as I read the sentence once again.  A Day at the Lake.  This time, I read the sentence faster because it was not the first time I had read those words. By reading the sentence twice it will help me read it fluently the third time that I read it.

3.    "We are going to use the book A Day at the Lake to practice improving our fluency. The teacher will remind students to cross check if they do not automatically recognize a word during their reading. "Do not forget that cross checking is a tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read and to read more successfully." Also, if you do not automatically recognize a word you can use your critter cover-up to cover part of the word to help you sound it out.  Once you have determined the pronunciation of the word, go back and reread the sentence to see if the word makes sense in the sentence.  If you and your partner cannot figure out how to pronounce a word correctly, come to me and together we will figure it out. Model reading A Day at the Lake aloud to the class as an example of a fluent reader for the students.

4.    "Now that you have heard me read the book fluently you are going to practice reading fluently with a partner." Divide students up into groups of two and give each student a copy of the book. One student will be the reader while the other will sit and listen and write down how long it took them to read. Then, the students will switch jobs. "When it is your turn to read, I want you to see how many words you can read smoothly and see how long it takes you to read it.  After each time your partner reads, I want you to fill out the fluency sheet marking what you noticed about their reading and write down how long each time took them to read.  I want you to keep switching with your partner until you have each read three times.  You may go ahead and begin!

5.     As the students are reading with partners the teacher will walk around the classroom observing and providing help to students when needed.

Assessment: To assess the students reading fluency, the teacher will call each student to her desk one at a time. When the students come they will bring their book, progress chart, and fluency checklist that was filled out by their partner.  The teacher will look over the checklist to be sure they did well with fluency.  If there is doubt, the teacher will have the student read for one minute to demonstrate their fluency in reading. Once the child has done this, the teacher will then ask basic comprehension questions, to really see if the student understood what they read.


Sims, Matt. A Day at the Lake. Novato, CA. High Noon Books 2002

"Ready, Set, Read" by Caroline Conner


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