Hurry, Follow That Cat!
Elizabeth Zorn

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale: For children to become successful readers, they must learn to read fluently. For children to learn how to read fluently, they must read a lot! It is helpful for students to perform repeated readings of the same text so that they will become confident in the story which will then allow them to read with more fluency. They should gain the ability to read fast, smooth, and with expression. Once children can do this, they will become fluent readers and increase their comprehension which is the ultimate goal of reading. During this lesson, students will perform repeated readings which will guide them to gain the characteristics of a fluent reader.

- Dry Erase Board
- Dry Erase Markers
- Stopwatches (one for each pair of students)
- Cat’s Trip by Sharon Fear (one for each pair of students)
- Time Sheets
    Time Sheet

    Your Name:

    Your Partner’s Name:

    First Time:
    Second Time:

    Third Time:


1. Explain to students: “Today we are going to discuss what it means to be a fluent reader. Can anyone tell me what it means to be a fluent reader? (Give them a chance to answer) Well to become a fluent reader requires a lot of practice. Reading expressively, smoothly, and quickly are all important in fluent reading. I am sure that you all know what reading quickly means. But what about reading smoothly? (Give them a chance to answer) Reading smoothly means that you can read through without getting stumped on a word or words and that it basically flows all together. Can anyone tell me what it means to read with expression? (Give them a chance to answer) For example, if you were reading a story and the characters were very excited, you would read with excitement, that is reading with expression.

2. Now I will explain how we are going to learn to become fluent readers. “Today we are going to practice rereading the same story and some sentences so that we can develop fluency.”

3. I will write a practice sentence on the board and model for the students: (My cat has never been on a trip). I will read the sentence very slow for my students. For example, “Mmyy caat haaas neeever beeenn oonnn aaaa ttrriiip. I will sound them out slowly again and practice the silent cover-up method. Then I will read the sentence smoothly again with expression. I will then ask my students, “Which way did you like it better, slow or fast? Why did you like it better?” (Hopefully the children will say fast because they could understand it better).

4. More practice: I will write another sentence on the board. (My cat wants to go to the beach). I will then ask the students to divide up into pairs. I will have them practice reading this sentence to each other several times. I will remind them, “Make sure each time that you are reading this sentence, you are reading it more smoothly and with more expression than the time before. Read it three times and then have your partner read it three times.” After I allow them time to do this I will ask them, “Did you notice a difference from the first time you read this sentence from the third time you read the sentence?” (Hopefully the last time they read the sentence was a lot smoother and expressive than the first time they read the sentence).

5. “Raise your hand if you have a pet at home? Okay, now only keep your hand raised if you have a pet cat. Well those of you who have a cat, try and imagine if your pet cat could go on a trip with you. Where would you go? Where do you think your cat would want to go? Well this book, Cat’s Trip, is about a cat that does go on a trip. Where do you think this cat will go? Do you think that the cat will have fun? To find out, we will have to read Cat’s Trip by Sharon Fear.” I will first read Cat’s Trip to the students so that they will know what the story is about and be prepared to read it on their own. Then I will keep the students in their pairs and give each pair a copy of Cat’s Trip. I will then give each student a copy of the time sheet and each pair of students a stopwatch. I will have the students read the story three times to each other. This may take a while but I will allow the students the time they need. I will tell each of them to record their partner’s time on their time sheet. At the end I will ask them, “Did your times improve as you read? Did you begin to read more smoothly and with expression as well?”

6. For assessment, I will use the time sheets that the children completed. This way I will be able to see that each child completed the activity and hopefully that they improved along the way. For those who did you improve very much, I will know to work with them more often to improve their fluency.

Ashley Biggee, Smooth Cat!

Hurry on Your Trip Cat!

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