"Role Playing for Fluency"
Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Courtney Gibson


Rationale:  Fluency when reading is key component for children to develop when they are working to become good independent readers. In order for a child to read fluently he or she needs to be able to read faster and smoother than when they first started to read. In other words, they need to break away from the “robot reading” that many beginning readers have. When a child is able to decode words automatically and effortlessly reading becomes a much more enjoyable experience for them. The way to accomplish this is for the child to read and reread decodable words in a connected text.  The more children work with a particular piece of text, the more fluent and recognizable the text becomes to them. This lesson will help children learn how to read faster and more smoothly with fluency.



1. Let's begin by talking about how important it is for readers to read both quickly and smoothly.  Not only does it sound better when we read this way, but it also helps us to make more sense of what we are reading.  This means that the stories are more interesting and fun to read.  Let me show you.  I am going to read a sentence one time through just like a beginning reader would and then I am going to read it again like a really good reader would read it.  Listen closely to the difference.  "M-y-mmm-o-m-a-nd-I-rrr-an-ho-m-t-t-o-l-eee-the-d-o-o-g-g-ou-ou-t-s-s-s-i-d-e-e." That didn't sound quite right did it?  Now let me read it again.  Notice my speed this time. "My mom and I ran home to let the dog outside.” That sounds much better doesn't it?  What are some things that I did differently in the second sentence than in the first sentence?

2. Now I want you to get into groups of two. I am going to give each of you a sentence to work with (My mom and I ran home to let the dog outside.)  I want one of you to be the teacher and the other one be the student. First I want the student to read the sentence through for the first time out loud to the teacher.  The teacher needs to listen carefully to the way that it sounds the first time that they read it. Then I want the student to read the sentence silently to them self at least 4 times through. Reading the sentence repeatedly will help you with your speed.  Then I want the student to read the sentence again out loud to the teacher.  The teacher needs to listen and notice how different it sounds this time. Then tell the student what makes it sound better?  Also tell them if it sounded better when they read it fast or slow. Then I want you to switch and the teacher becomes the student and the student becomes the teacher. Any questions?  Let’s get started. The actual teacher will walk around the room to provide help when needed.

3. Now let's try this with a real book!  This time I am going to give each group a book to read.  While the student reads the book the teacher is going to time them for one minute. The student needs to read as many words as they can before the teacher says stop. While you are reading, if you come to a word that you do not know use the cover up method to try to figure it out. For example if you are reading the sentence, “Will the seal eat beans?” and you struggle with the word beans and say /bens/, go back and cover up the consonants in the word so that only the vowel chunk is showing [ea]. Read this part /E/ then add the b to get /b//E/ then add the ending sounds  /n/ /s/ to get /bEns/. Then go back and reread the sentence after you figure out the word. If you still cannot figure it out look at the rest of the sentence.  If that doesn't work, ask your partner the teacher for help.  I will also be walking around to help you. We are going to do this several times so that you can become a faster reader! I want each group to read their book at least 3 times, more if you have time.

4. After one minute is up the teacher will count how many words the student read and place the runner on that number on the track (or monkey or football player). Then you will switch jobs with your partner and do the same thing.  Before you start all over, make sure you move your runner or monkey to the correct spot on your chart and write the number of words you read beside it. (If you read more words move the object further, and if you read fewer words move the object back. “I bet after a couple of times reading the book, your runner will get farther and farther on the track.  Let's see· Ready, Set, Read!”

 Assessment:  I will assess each student by looking at the successes they had on their progress chart. They will mark on the track where they began and where they ended and turn it in for me to evaluate. I will also have a discussion session where I will ask students how it went and what they thought of the activity. I will take note of the comments made by students.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
       Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. pp. 122-145.
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/orsogf.html (Discoveries, On your mark, get set,
Steiner, Leah. Ready, Set, Read! 

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