Keep on Rollin'…


A Lesson on Repeated, Faster Readings

Growing Independence and Fluency

By Haley Thomas

Rationale: Children must be able to quickly and effortlessly organize words to become fluent readers. The recognition of these words may be learned by decoding and then sped up through the use of repeated readings. If students are fluent readers and do not have to individually decode each individual word, they will be able to spend more time deciphering the message and retaining it for comprehension. If a student is unfamiliar with a particular word and unable to decode it, perhaps he could figure out the word by crosschecking. Children who use both decoding and crosschecking are becoming more able to recognize words automatically, read with expression, and understand the context and thus are on the path to becoming fluent readers.

Materials: "A Firefighter's Thanksgiving" (enough for all students and the teacher), whiteboard, dry erase markers, fluency checklist, stopwatches for each pair of students


1.     This lesson begins with the teacher explaining the concept of fluency to the students. Say: Does anyone know what fluency means? [Listen to responses.] Say: Those are great guesses! When someone is a fluent reader, they can read a passage quickly while remembering what a story is about, and they also put expression into their reading. A fluent reader does not stop while he is reading to figure out individual words. How do you think we can improve our fluency? [Wait for responses.] Say: We can improve our fluency through repeated readings, or reading the passage over and over again. Today we are going to read a passage about a firefighter several times and see how much we can improve our fluency. I want to use a strategy called crosschecking that will help us if we stumble upon a word we don't know.

2.     Say: Who can tell me what cross checking is? [Wait.] Crosschecking is a strategy we use to make sure what we are reading makes sense and also it helps us if we find a word we don't know. We can use context clues to crosscheck. Let's try. I am going to write a sentence on the board and we will read it together. Write: I have a big dog who likes to run fast. Say: I have a bag dig who likes to ran fast. A bag dig who likes to ran fast? Hmmm, no that doesn't sound right. Oh wait, I have a BIG DOG who likes to RUN fast! That's right.

3.     Say: Since we now have reviewed crosschecking, let's see how to read fluently. I will write a sentence on the board and read it a few times. Tell me which one sounds the best. Write: Glenn taps his toe lightly. Say: /g/ /l/ /e/ /n/ /t/ /a/ /p/ /s/ /h/ /i/ /s/ /t/ /O/ /l/ /I/ /t/ /ly/. Next, I will read the sentence with all of the phonemes blended and with expression. Lastly, I will read the sentence with all of the phonemes blended and with expression. Now let's all decide which one sounds the best. Let's take a vote. [Write a tally chart on the board.] Say: If you chose the third reading, I agree with you. It is more entertaining to listen to someone read who does so smoothly and adds expression. Let's read it a few more times so that you can hear the difference. Let's add expression as we read. Glenn taps his toe lightly!

4.     Pass out a copy of "A Firefighter's Thanksgiving" to each student. Say: Let's look at this story. It's about a very happy firefighter spending a holiday with his family. He plays in the snow with his family. We have to read the story to find out all of the details! Read the story to yourselves and then look up at me when you are finished.

5. The students will be paired into groups. Say: I need everyone to listen to me very closely so that you will know what to do. I am going to pass out checklists to each of you and I want you to document how your partner improves. For ach group, you will have one stopwatch. You will time how long it takes your partner to read the passage. One the name line, you will write your partners name. [Pass out the checklist.] Say: There is a line that says "Time" and then it says "After 1st Read", "After 2nd Read", and "After 3rd Read". One person will read and the other person will time. If you are timing, start the stopwatch when your partner begins reading and stop it when they finish. Record each time in the space provided. This will help us gauge the improvement we make. Also on the checklist, under second and third read, mark if your partner remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, or read with expression in comparison the the readings before. Let's get started.


Speed Reading Record





After 1st Read




After 2nd Read:

Remembered more words: _____

Read faster: _____

Read smoother: _____

Read with expression: _____



After 3rd Read:

Remembered more words: _____

Read faster: _____

Read smoother: _____

Read with expression: _____


6. Assessment: I will call individual students up to time and assess their fluency of the passage. I will use the formula "words x 60/seconds" to figure out their words per minute reading. I will also collect the peer checklists and evaluate those.


Murray, Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency. Auburn University Reading Genie.

Thompson, Lauren. Chugga-Chugga, Read-Read!

Webber, Lisa. "A Firefighter's Thanksgiving"


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