“Smooth Moves”

Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Mareena Kohtala


Students need to not only be able to decode words, but be able to do so effortlessly to maintain comprehension of the story. Students should learn to read quicker while using expression to bring the story to life. This lesson is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of reading fluently.



-a stopwatch for each pair of students

-a list of words for each pair of students to practice decoding

-a football scoreboard for each student

-the book Pat’s Jam (Educational Insights) one for every two students



1. Explain to students that today you will be reading fast and smooth. Explain to them that it is not only important to be able to decode the words, but also to be able to read the smoothly. “The more you practice your reading the more the characters will come to life, and the story will be that much more exciting.”

2. “First we have to read the words. Who can tell me how we would sound out this word ‘gas.’ Lets cover everything up except for the part we are working on. Lets start with the vowel, who can find the vowel. ‘a.’ That makes the /a/ sound, remember like we are at the dentist, /a/. Now lets uncover everything before the vowel. What do we have, a g! That’s the /g/ sound, like we are drinking water. Now lets put those together, g-g-g-g-a-a-a-a. Drink, drink, dentist, dentist! Now lets take off the rest of the cover and we all know that the slithery ‘s’ makes the /s/ sound like a snake. So together we get ‘gas.’ Now practice with your partner.” Have children partner up and give them a few words to practice. One will decode the word and the other will check.

3. Now explain to the children that if you read every word its going to take a really long time to get through the story. Read a sentence from Pat’s Jam. Show slow reading: “P-p-a-a-a-t-t i-i-s-s-s a-a r-r-r-a-a-t-t. and hen show fluent, quick reading: “pat is a rat.” To get from the first way to the second way we need to practice reading fluently. To read quickly you must be able to recognize the words quickly. So practice reading this story with your partner. As you read you will notice you will get faster and more accurate. I’m going to give you a stop watch and I want you to take turns reading the story. Your partner is going to time you for one minute, how many seconds is that – 60! Then you will mark you score on the scoreboard for both “teams.” You will each read the story again two more times and you want to try and read more words so your score will be higher than the other teams.” Let students pick the two teams, one for them and the other they want to compete against, for example football teams.

4. Introduce the book the students will be reading. “Pat’s Jam.” This book is about a rat named Pat that is going grocery shopping. Pat meets up with Pam, his friend and they go shopping but when they get in the van to go home, there is no gas! What are they going to do! Lets read and find out/.” Make sure to explain the book with lots of expression and encourage students to see how much emotion they can read with.


Have students read the story to you twice and look for improvement. Also note fluency and expression. Time students to note reading speed.


Pat’s Jam
. Educational Insights.

Jeremy Knowles, “Ready, Set, READ!” at http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/knowlesgf.html.

Catherine Moore, “The Fast and the Fluent” at http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/mooregf.html.


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