Nemo’s Fast Swim

Growing Independence Fluency

Sara K. Smelley





In order for children to become fluent readers, they must learn how to read faster, smoother, and more expressively.  Fluent readers have to be able to read accurate and automatic.  This lesson will teach students how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  The students will gain fluency through repeated readings, timed readings, and one-minute reads.  The more they read the more their reading skills will improve! 






1.)  Introduce the lesson telling the students that we are going to be talking about the difference between a beginning reader and a fluent reader.  First, tell everyone what fluent means.  “It means fast and automatic.  Some of the benefits to reading fluently are that you can read faster, reading is easier, you can read more, and you can comprehend the text better.  A beginning reader reads slowly and also struggles while he/she reads, so reading is slower, harder, and they read less.  I’m going to read a sentence and you tell me if I’m a beginning reader or a fluent reader.  The frog jumped up into the sky.  (fluent)  The ffffrrrooooggg jjjjuuummmppeeeddd uupp iinnttoo the sssskkkkyyyy.  (beginner)  Great job!  Now, let’s practice to become fluent readers!”


2.)  Practice with the sentence strips.  “First, everyone is going to get two sentence strips with a different sentence on each one.  Then, I want you to get into groups of two and practice saying these two sentences over and over again.  A way to becoming a fluent reader is to read and reread texts.  I am going to show you how to do it.  I will read, ‘The frog jumped up into the sky.’ (several times).  I will read, ‘The cat went to sleep on the rug.’  (several times).  Then, Elizabeth will read, ‘The frog jumped up into the sky.’  She will read the sentence several times and then read the next sentence several times.  Ok now practice reading and rereading your sentences to your partner.  I am going to be walking around and observing you working with your partner.”


3.)  If you get to a word that you do not know, what should you do?  (use a cover-up)  Yes!  Do not panic!  Remember for the cover-ups we first cover everything up except the vowel and say the vowel sound…Like this (display on overhead).  Next, cover up everything except the letters before the vowel and say it with the vowel.  Last, cover up all of the letters except the ones after the vowel and say them.  When all is done, put all of those sounds together to help you read the word.  If the cover-ups still do not work, read on or ask your partner for help.


3.)  Next, handout the practice poem, “The Acrobats” by Shel Silverstein, and work with partner.  Poem talk:  “These acrobats are swinging by their nose and toes.  Let’s read to see if they can hold on!”  “You all did a wonderful job reading and rereading sentences.  Thank you for following directions and working so well in groups!  Now, I am now going to hand out a poem to each one of you and I want you to get your cover-ups out.  You will again work with your partner to read and reread the poem.  Along with the poem, you will get one stop watch per group.  After you have read the poem a couple of times, I want you to practice timing yourself for one minute noting how far you get each time.  Let me show you how to do it…  Dustin has his poem and Sara has the stopwatch.  When Sara says go, Dustin will start reading and Sara will push the start button.  Dustin will read the entire poem and when he is finished, Sara will push stop and they will record his time.  Afterwards, they will switch places.  What is one way that we can practice becoming fluent when reading this poem?  (reading it a lot)  Yes!  We will be reading the poem several times to practice becoming a fluent reader.  Again, I will be walking around to help you if you need it.  You may begin reading!”


4.)  After the students have read the first poem, give each group the poem, “Warning” by Shel Silverstein, for assessment.  Poem talk:  “Something is biting off people’s fingernails and rings off when they put their fingers in their nose.  Let’s read this poem and find out what it is!”  Give them a one minute assessment after they have had the opportunity to read through the new poem.  While a couple of groups are doing this, the other groups will still be working on the first poem or the sentence strips.  Once they finish the assessment they may go and practice the same skills with a book of their choice. “You all are doing such a fabulous job reading fluently.  Now, you and your partner will receive a new poem.  Read the new poem a couple of times and then I am going to use the stop watch to do the timing.  Each of you will also receive a reading chart that will help keep track of your improvement.  I will be writing the amount of words you read, in one minute, on the chart and as you improve you get to move your Nemo closer to his dad. After I finish timing your reading, you may go and get a book of your choice.  I am so proud of you all.  I want you all to continue practicing becoming fluent readers while I finish assessing!”


5.)  I will assess the student by how well they read the poem to me in one minute.  The reading charts will also serve as long term assessments that will be continued in the future.



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