Smooth, Speedy Reading

by Meg Hunter 

Rationale: In order for children to become expert readers and to enjoy reading, they must become fluent readers. To increase fluency in reading, students' focus should be on reading faster, smoother, and with more feeling rather than on accuracy.  Children should learn to recognize words effortlessly and also be able to decode instantly. This allows children to comprehend easier and enjoy their reading.  This lesson will develop fluency through reading and rereading.



 Class set of Book "Julius" by Syd Hoff with marks after every ten words;

2 Sentence Strips per group:

“The tall boy went to the park.

The birds sang in the trees.”

Stopwatch for every group

Pencils to mark errors

Cover critters


“What is fluency? "Fluency is the ability to read smoother, faster, and with more expression" I will give the children an example of what it sounds like when someone is not a fluent reader. I will read the sentence "The tall boy went to the park." I will read if very slow and choppy. I will ask the children "Do you think this was an example of fluent reading?" Great!

“Now, how do we figure out a word that we have trouble reading?  Right, we use cover-ups.  Which part of the word do we look at first?  Yes, the vowel.  Then what do we add?  Thats right, the beginning sound.”

Okay, now I'm going to figure out this word as an example of our vowel-first cover-ups” (write the word park on the chalkboard). “First, I'm going to cover everything other than the vowel up. Okay, this vowel says /a/. Now I'm going to look at the beginning p. P says /p/. So far I have /p/ /a/, and now were adding r. So I have, /p/ /a/ /r/, /par/.   Now the end, it says k. K says /k/. So /par/ /k/, park. So don't forget to use the vowel-first cover-up method when you need help figuring out a word.

“It's important to become faster at our reading because the faster we can read the more we can understand what we're reading and we'll like reading more. Now we're going to work on reading faster.  Have you ever noticed that the first time you read something it sounds broken up and slow, a little bit like a robot? Demonstrate reading the sentence, " The tall boy went to the park," very slowly and haltingly. The- tall- boy- went- to – the – park. Then say, if you read that sentence again it sounds better. Demonstrate reading the same sentence a bit faster. The tall boy went to the park. Say, the more you practice, the faster you get, and you can add feeling and different voices. Read the sentence one more time, this time with more expression. The birds sang in the trees. I will also explain that it's easier every time because you learn the words in the sentence and become familiar with them.

"Great! Now everyone get the books. I want one each person to read the first two pages of "Julius" by Syd Hoff, to their partner. "When you finish with the two pages, give it to your partner to read aloud to you.”

Have each student take out paper and pencil to record how many words per minute he/she reads during each timed read. Have each student do four one-minute reads.

Now, we’re going to get with a partner. (Pass out a stop-watch to each pair of students.)  “Here are some stopwatches. I want you to take turns reading the pages. While your partner reads you will time them. Here is how you will do it. As soon as your partner begins to read push the start button. When you partner reads the last word they will say finished. When you hear them say finished press the stop button and write down their time." "Before we begin are there any questions?" "Ok! Great! You can begin!"

Walk around the room as students begin, making sure everyone understands the process. Continue monitoring students as they engage in the fluency activity.


Assessment: "Great! I am so proud of you! Now, I will call you up one at a time to read me your pages. If you are not up here with me you should be practicing to be a more fluent reader. I want you to continue reading "Julius" at your seat. Later, we will be timing ourselves reading the entire book and use our time sheets to mark our progress, so you want to be practiced!

Encourage students to choose a book from the classroom library to read several times at home, and then show their family how well they can read.  Mention that the next day you'll be eager to have a few volunteers read their book to the class.




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