Smooth Sailing Into Fluent Reading!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Jamie Storey


In order for children to become successful, independent readers, they must develop fluency.  Reading fluently allows for automatic word recognition, in which reading becomes faster and more connected and expressive.  For fluency to be developed, students must read and reread words in decodable texts.  It is through these repeated readings that students gain confidence in their reading abilities, as well as develop other components of reading, such as adding expression and building comprehension/understanding of a text.   In this lesson, students will read, reread, and do partner readings to improve fluency.



Individual Copies of the book, Silly Dreamer;  Dry erase board and dry erase markers (teacher use only), Timer for partner reads and teacher; Individual copies of the fluency checklist


1. I will begin this lesson by explaining to my students the importance of becoming a fluent reader.  Say: "Today, we are going to be working on something that is a very important part of our reading: fluency.  When you read fluently, you don't have to stop to sound out each word, because you can recognize them without any trouble! To become fast, fluent readers, we have to read and reread our books."

2. Write the following sentence on the board so that it is visible to all students, "I want to go on a sailboat ride." I will use this sentence to review decoding strategies with my students.  Say: "I am going to read this sentence, but I may need your help."  Begin to read sentence. Say: "I wwwwaa. . . Ok guys, I need your help.  What could I do to help me figure out this word? (Allow students to respond.)  That's right I could use my cover up critter."  Use cover up critter to continue to read the rest of the sentence, modeling appropriate decoding strategies on the words 'want,' 'sailboat and 'ride.'

3. Have the students read this sentence again.  Say: "Since we have read this sentence once, and now we can recognize all the words, let's read it again, because every time we reread words, we become more fluent readers. Let's try it together" (Read sentence again with students modeling fluent reading.)  "I want to go on a sailboat ride."

4. Say: "Now, I am going to read another sentence to you, and I want you to tell me which time I read the sentence fluently."  Write the sentence " Sammy and Sally love to sail in the ocean" on the board.  Say: "Ok, are you ready to listen?   Great  sss-a-a-mmm-y and sss-a-a-a-ll-y love to sss-ai-l in the oooc-ea-n."  That was the first try.  Now listen to this one "Sammy and Sally love to sail in the ocean" (I will really add expression to the second try.)  Say: "Which one of these do you think I read with fluency?  Right!  Say: "What are some things that I did that made my reading sound fluent?"  (Allow students to respond with such answers as read with expression or did not have to sound out words.)

5. Say: "Because you have done such a great job helping me read fluently, I think you are ready to get some practice of your own."  (Give each student a copy of the book, Silly Dreamers and a copy of the fluency checklist.)   Say: "Today you are going to be reading Silly Dreamers. Jason and Leroy find a clue that tells of an upcoming robbery. They contact the police and they are on site when the TV news van arrives. You will just have to read to find out the rest of the story!" Now, I want you to read the story to yourselves and then look up at me when you are finished.

6. (Pair students into groups). Say: "I am going to pass out a checklist to each of you and I want you to document how your partner improves. Each group will have a timer. You will time how long it takes your partner to read (speed), you will listen for word memorization, how smooth they read and if they read with expression.  Each of you will take turns being the reader and the listener.  The reader reads the book three times. The listener gives a report after the second and third readings.  Make sure all your reports are kind!"


I will have them read Silly Dreamers to me during reading centers.  At this time, I will use the formula "words x 60/seconds" to figure out their words per minute.  In addition, I will review the fluency check lists that the students completed to get a better idea of their progress.



Blasting Into Fluent Reading! By Leah Smith

Go, Go Speed Reader by Jennifer Falls


Murray, Dr. Bruce, Fluency Checklist.


Murray, Dr. Bruce. How to develop reading fluency.

Sims, Matt.High Noon Books. Sound at Chapter Books. Silly Dreamers.c 2004.

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