Growing Independence and Fluency

Give Thanks for Fluency!

Julia Waldrum

Rational:  Reading with fluency is not as easy as one might believe. Fluency is developed after learning many correspondences and becoming automatic with decoding words.  Reading fluently is not just reading quickly and easily, but is reading at a pace where others can understand and keep up with the storyline.  When students read with fluency the story flows together and seems effortless. By working with a partner the students will help record their partner's fluency by marking words that are stumbled through or when more time is spent on a certain word. The students will gain a better understanding of what it means to read fluently and ways that will help them improve their fluency as readers. 



- Book- The Berenstain Bears' Thanksgiving (one for every student)

- Copies of pages of the whole book that will be read by each student.

The copies are for the students to record their partner's fluency on and the copies will also have the words numbered so it is

easier for the students to record their time and words a minute

- Stopwatch

- Pencils

- Crayons

- Fluency bar graph chart



1.  "Today students we are going to work on reading fluently."  "What does fluency mean to you?"  "Fluency is not just how fast you read, but it is reading smoothly and allowing the words that are being read to sound as if they are just being said, like you are talking to somebody, it is reading with automatic word recognition."  "I am going to read a page from this book, The Berenstain Bears' Thanksgiving; I want you to pay close attention to how I am reading."  I will proceed to read a page or two from the book, and I am going to drag out my words, reading them choppy and sounding out most words that I am trying to read.  "Did you enjoy me reading this story?"  "Could you tell me what the story was about?"  "Ok, now I am going to read the same thing to you a second time" I will begin to read the same pages a second time this time reading regularly with fluency and expression, modeling how to improve.  "Did you enjoy me reading that to you?"  "Why, tell me what you enjoyed about my reading."  "Did you understand what I read?"  "Well I want us to practice your reading so that each and every one of you will read fluently and with expression." 


2.  I will write a sample sentence on the board after introducing fluency to the students.  My friend went to the beach for spring break. "I want you to read this sentence with me sounding out each letter in each word slowly."  "Did this sentence come together and make sense to you?"  "Ok, I am going to read it to you at normal speed."  My friend went to the beach for spring break.  "Did I leave out any words or mispronounce anything?"  "Now, I am going to read this sentence to you using fluency."  "I want you to read it with me the second time."  The students join in with me and we read the sentence together using fluency and saying each word correctly. 


3.  I am going to explain to the students that they will be paired up with a partner, and they are going to read 3 pages from The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving, until they are reading it fluently.  "Your partner is going to help you with mistakes and they are going to keep count of the words that you read correctly.  You will then make note of how many words you read correctly.  You are going to take a break while you listen to your partner read.  I want you listening because you need to make marks of words that your partner skips through or has a hard time reading.  If someone is having a hard time reading, and you are not sure of the word I want you to try your best at decoding the word, but as I'm walking around you can point the word out to me and I can try to help you decode it.  We will then go back and reread the sentence to put it all together to make sure that you understand. Ok, I am going to show you an example of what you are going to be doing with your partner.  Ok, Ben and I are partners.  I will listen to Ben read.  I am going to mark all of the words that he misses, and once he has read three pages then I will stop the stopwatch to see how long it took him, I will count up all of the words and make note of that.  I will share the amount of time it took Ben to complete the reading. He is going to color in that number in his bar graph.  Then we will switch, Ben is going to listen to me read and do the same for me. We are going to repeat this for about 20 minutes.  The idea here is for you to read the same passage over and over that way you become familiar with how reading with fluency sounds and feels.  After reading this a few times you should start getting familiar with the text and with the story." 


4.  The students are going to break into their pairs.  Each student will be given a copy of the pages that they will be reading, and will also be given the book that the copies were made from.  The stopwatch will help them keep track of how long it takes to finish the pages. The students will use the copies of the story to mark their partner's words that have been missed and to record where their partner stopped reading at. 


Assessment:  I am going to walk around to each group and listen to them read. I will calculate how long the fluency by words X 60 divided by seconds. This will help me assess if the students are reading quickly and fluently.  It will depend on what benchmark is for certain grades to see if the student's pace while reading is acceptable or if something needs to be worked on.




The Berenstain Bears' Thanksgiving by: Stan and Jan Berenstain, 1997.


Stewart, Nicole.  Sailing Away with  Reading!


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