Fluency is no Monkey Business!

By: Victoria Barron

Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to assist students in developing reading fluency and expression. It is important for students to grow their reading fluency and expression to develop increased reading comprehension and speed. This fluency lesson will have students read a trade book and be partnered for reading in order for the students to increase speed in reading and develop understanding of their readings, while reading fluently with expression. Students will take on the roles of the peddler and the narrator in the story, then swap roles after 2 readings.

Materials:  White board. Book: Caps for Sale, by: Esphyr Slobodkina, Harper Trophy, 1940. Time Sheet for each student. Check Sheet for partners.


1.  Question students about the definition of fluency. Does anyone know what fluency means? Allow responses. Fluency is being able to read faster and smoother at the same time. We want to become fluent readers because it helps us to know and understand what we are reading, and remember more words. However, for us to become fluent readers, we have to practice reading to get better.

2. Begin with a few cover up of stamp. The students can use their reading sticks they have made in previous lessons. First demonstrate for the students how to use the cover up stick, now we are going to start with the vowel, and I see an a, and we know that a vowel by itself without an e on the end of a word, means that it is usually a short vowel, so we know we know it says /a/. Now take your finger off of the first two letters. I know that the letter s  says /s/, and t says /t/, like when they are together in the word stick or star. And last we are going to uncover the mp on the end of the word, and we know that m says /m/ like mmmm-mmm good! and p says /p/ like when they are together in the word stump or jump. Now that we have uncovered each part of the word, we can blend it together: stamp.

3. Using the white board, write: The man sells red caps and blue caps. I will model reading fluently and not fluently. Now we are going to practice saying the sentence. First, I will read it: Thhheee maannnn selllssss redddd capppps annnd bluuuue capppps. Students should recognize the reading is slow and lacks expression because the words were hard. Ask the students if that reading sounded like an exciting part of the story. Now read the sentence quickly and with great expression. The man sells red caps AND blue caps! This reading, the students should recognize that I was able to remember more words and read faster.

4. Now ask the class, what was the difference in the two readings of the sentence? I am going to show you how I read smoothly and quickly the second time through practicing reading the sentence, and rereading the sentence. First I will decode each of the words in the sentence, and then because I know the words, I am able to read faster and smother. It's your turn to read fluently. Now it is your turn to read the sentence out loud and practice your speed and expression with each reading.

3. Now, I am going to pass out the book we're going to read today. Each student gets a copy of Caps for Sale. But before we read it, I am going to tell you a little about it: This is the tale of a peddler, some monkeys, and their monkey business. One day, no one will buy the peddler's caps, and he hears a strange voice. He looks up in the tree. It's the monkeys! Will they buy his caps or help him? Let's read to find out.

4. Now, you are going to read this book with a partner. One partner will be the peddler and one will be the narrator. After you have read it twice in that role, switch. After you finish reading, write down the time on your sheet. If you get stuck on a word, remember to look at the vowel sound, then blend the beginning, then the end! Ready, set, read!

5. After completing the second and fourth readings, students should use the partner check sheet to evaluate their partner's improvements.

6. Assessment: I will evaluate the students as they work in partners to hear them read as quickly and smoothly as possible. While the students read silently, I will assess their recordings to see how they improved over the three readings, and I will compare the partner checklist as well. During the partner reading, I will have each students complete a one-minute read, and I will note miscues and the number of words they read in that minute.


Beth Crenshaw. Ready, Set, Race to Read. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/realizations/crenshawgf.htm


Reading Time Sheet

Name____________________________                     Date____________________


          After 1st read:__________________ (role=_____________________)

          After 2nd read:__________________

          After 3rd read:__________________ (role=_____________________)

         After 4th read:____________________


Partner Check Sheet

Name:______________________________                                   Date:_______________

Partner Name:_________________________



After 2nd Reading

After 4th reading

Read faster



Read smoother



Used expression



Remembered more words




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