On your mark, get set, READ!

Growing Independency and Fluency

Jordan McWilliams


Rationale:  In order for children to really enjoy reading, and to better understand what they are reading, they have to read fluently.  Learning to blend is important in fluency. Repeated readings are an excellent way for children to become fluent in their reading.  Students will be able to blend words after much practice and use repeated readings to increase fluency.


1.  The Book Pat’s Jam (Published by Educational insights) (one for every two students)

2.  A stopwatch for every group of students.

3.  A sheet of paper  (one for each student) with a banana tree (with bananas) on it.  The sheet should also have a list of numbers going up along the tree starting with the largest number on the bottom.  

4.  One cut out picture of a monkey for each student.

5.  A chalkboard to write practice words for blending.


1.    Explain to the students what you are going to work on.  Explain that you are going to talk about being a fluent reader.  Today we are going to learn how to become a fluent readers. To become a fluent reader we must learn how to decode and blend words.  When we learn to blend and decode we will be able to read words that we come across that we are unfamiliar with. We will use these strategies and practice reading texts over and over.  This will help us become fluent readers.

2.    Explain to the students what decoding is.  Explain the strategy involved with decoding a word.  When we decode a word we always start with the vowel sound, then go back to the first letter and work through the word one sound at a time.  For example, if I used the word ‘bad’, I would start with looking at the vowel a = /a/, then go back to the /b/ sound.  /b/ /a/ /t/.  Have the class try this strategy on some other words:  hat, ram, lip.  Now let’s try a sentence.  My lip is red.

3.     When we sound out the letters of a word together like b – a – d, it is called blending.  Have the children tell you which way to say ‘bad’ is easier to understand: b –a – d, or bad.  They should say the more flowing way.  It is easier and more fun to read if we could read smooth and not choppy.  This means we would read more fluently.

4.     Now it is time to practice reading fluently by using our decoding skills.  Have to students get into pairs and give each pair a stopwatch, a copy of Pat’s Jam, and two sheets of paper with the banana tree on it (one for each student).  Have the students read the book to each other one at a time.  On the second read, have their partner time to see how long it takes them to read the story.  If they read it in a fast time the monkey should be able to make it to the top of the tree to get the bananas.  Remind them to use the strategies that you worked on earlier


Have the students read the book Pat’s Jam to show you that they are reading fluently.  If this book is too simple, teacher should have more advanced books for students to read.  Record the time it took for them to read for future reference or conduct a one-minute read.  Through this assessment teacher will be able to see which students need further practice with blending and fluent reading.

< style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">Rate: Words X 60                                                                                                           Seconds

Catherine Moore:  The Fast and The Fluent.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/insp/mooregf.html

Jeremy Knowles: Ready, Set, Read   http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/inroads/wellsgf.html

    Pat’s Jam.  1990.  Educational Insights.  Carson, CA.

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