Rationale: In order to become successful readers, students need to be able to read faster and smoother than when they began reading. Students also need to learn to read with expression. Fluency refers to a student’s ability to read words automatically and accurately. In this lesson, we will focus on getting the student’s to read smoother, faster and with more expression. Students will gain fluency through one-minute readings, repeated readings, as well as, timed readings. The more time a student spends on a piece of text, the more fluent they will be able to read it.
Copy of “James and the Good Day” for each student
Teacher copy of “James and the Good Day”
Stopwatch for each set of children
Pencil for each student
Dry-erase board and marker or chalk board
One-minute read charts for each child (speed record)
Ex. _____________ words per minute
_____________ words per minute
set of laminated tug boat illustrations with words per minute written
and accompanying Velcro boy/girl to show each student’s progress.
ex. of tug boat illustrations and velcro child:
1. Explain the purpose of this lesson to the class. “Today we are going to be working on improving your reading skills to make you more fluent readers. This is very important if you want to become a skillful reader. Fluency is being able to read smoothly without stopping between words. Fluent readers can read the words with little or no effort. Once you become a fluent reader, the text you read will make more sense to you because you do not have to keep stopping while you read. Every time you read the text, you become more familiar with it, so you also read much faster. Today we will be practicing fluency by reading a text more than once and seeing how much we can improve during the readings.”
2. Model for the class how to read fluently. Using the dry-erase board or chalk board, write the following sentence: The dog ran after the cat. “I am going to read this sentence without fluency. The ddog rran aafter the cccat. Now I am going to read the sentence again, but this time I will read it as a fluent reader would. The dog ran after the cat. Were you able to tell the difference between reading with fluency and reading without fluency? Listen once more as I read the sentence again. The dog ran after the cat. Did you notice how I read it fast this time because I have read it a few times and with that practice, I was able to read it fluently."
3. Have children practice reading the sentence: The dog ran after the cat. Have them repeat it until they are able to read it fluently and then move on to reading through the book.
4. We are going to use the book James and the Good Day to work on our fluency. Don’t forget to remind the students to cross check if they cannot read a word. “Do not forget that cross checking is what fluent readers use to help make sense out of sentences. If you get stuck on a word, you can use a cover-up tool to figure out the separate parts of the word. Once you have determined how to sound out the word, reread the sentence using the word, so that you will understand what you just read. If the sentence does not make sense, go back to the word you had problems with and change it to make sense out of the sentence. If you and your partner are unable to figure it out, raise your hand and I will come and help you. This book, James and the Good Day, is about a boy named James who thinks he is going to have a good day with his tug boat and his cat, but something is always going wrong. Do you think he is going to end up having a good day? I’m going to read you a sentence from the book to model fluency, and then I am going to let you read to see how it ends.” Give a brief book talk and model a sentence from the book.
5. “Now that I have given you an example, I am going to split you into pairs and I want one student to read while the other student times that student’s reading. Afterwards, you will switch and the other person will time while you read. When it is your turn to read, I want you to see how many words you can read in one-minute at a smooth, but quick, pace. Do not skip any words. Make sure, if you are the timer that you stop right at one-minute and tell the reader that time is up so they can stop reading. At the end of one-minute, place a sticky note where you stopped and go back and count the words that you read. Then write that number of your person with the expo marker and place it on the tug boat. While you are reading, I will be walking around listening to your reading and assisting with your progress charts if you need help.”
6. Assessment: Call students up to your desk one at a time with their tug boat progress chart and review it with them and see what they need help with. Then have the child read a page or two of James and the Good Day to personally monitor their fluency. Continue to check weekly for improvements in all students’ fluency.
James and the Good Day. Educational Insights.
Barrowclough, Lauren. Ready, Set, Let’s Read! http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/invent/barrowcloughgf.html
Return to Catalysts Index