Let’s Learn to Read Fast, Smooth, and Expressively
Anna Maner
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  There are three important skills that children need to learn in order to become fluent readers.  They are the skills to read faster, smoother, and more expressively.  Repeated reading and dyad reading are great ways for students to work on their reading fluency.  Rereading texts allows students to learn to read more words per minute, while working with partners allows students to learn new decoding skills as well as more practice reading.  Just like the saying, "Practice makes perfect," the more students read, the more they’re reading skills will improve.

Materials:  Enough copies of Tops and Bottoms (Scholastic) for every pair of children in the class, a stopwatch, a fluency rubric for each child, monkey charts, and monkeys for each child.

Literacy Rubric
Name_________________________       Evaluator_________________________

Circle one
Expressive reading  Good    Great
Smooth reading   Good   Great
Faster reading    Good    Great

1.) Introduce the lesson by explaining that reading expressively, smoothly, and quickly is the key to fluent reading.  (Be sure to explain the meaning of these words to your students so they understand).   For example, say, "When a person reads with expression they put a lot of feeling in their voices as they read."  Then say, "Today we are going to learn how to become fluent readers and as a result our reading will become much more enjoyable."
2.) To begin, let’s review some of the vowel sounds we have already learned.  Ask the students the following questions: Do you hear the /a/ sound in sat or sit?  Do you hear the /e/ sound in wet or bat?  Do you hear the /i/ sound in hush or wish?  Do you hear the /o/ sound in food or top?  Do you hear the /u/ sound in sun or beg?  (Continue this review with similar questions until the students are familiar with all the vowel sounds).  Then write words on the board with phonemes that need review.  Have the children read the words so you can see if they can recognize the sounds made in the word.  Let the students know that knowing vowel sounds will help them become better readers.
3.) We can practice reading now that we have reviewed our vowel sounds.  First, I will read some passages from Tops and Bottoms; a story you have all heard before.  Them I want you to tell me what you think of my reading.  As you read the first passage model how to read fast, but also smooth.  Then model reading that is slow, choppy, and not so fun.  After each passage allow time for the children to discuss the different ways the passages were read.  Then be sure to explain to them that the first way is how fluent readers read and that it is much more fun.
4.) Have the students pair up (be sure that one partner is at a higher reading level than the other.)  In their pairs, the students are to take turns reading the story Tops and Bottoms to one another, practicing the fluent way the teacher modeled.  Allow enough time for the students to discuss the story with each other.
5.) Tell the students that they are going to read the story again, but this time they are going to be timed on their reading.  Model for them how fast fluent readers read and how they should all work on reading at a quicker pace.  At this time show them the monkey tree chart and the goal that they should all try to reach.  Let them see how the monkey moves up the tree.  Now say to them, "Ok boys and girls, you will each take turns reading to your partner.  While one person reads, the other will count how many words are read.  I will be timing you for one minute.  Once we have all read, then we will record out results on each monkey chart."
6.) For assessment, give each child the reading fluency rubric.  Then assign different partners to the students and have them read the same story to each other.  Explain to the students that they will listen carefully as their partner reads and rate them according to the rubric.  (Make sure they understand the rubric)  For this assignment the rubric is the following: a chart that has great and good which can be circled for expressive reading, smooth reading, and faster reading.  The result can be used to assess the students as well as allow the students to see their won progress.
7.) Follow ­Up activity: allow students more time to practice reading silently as well as more time for repeated readings. Use the monkey chart so that the students can work to accomplish their desired goal for the number of words to be read in a minute.

Reference: Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. Pp. 122-145.

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