Growing
Independence and Fluency Design

Rationale:  If a sentence is read too slowly-say, one word every 5 seconds-it’s structure collapses and what remains is a string of words producing little meaning” (Eldridge).  Fluent readers are able to read quickly and effortlessly, allowing them to focus on comprehending what is being read.  The goal for this lesson is to teach students how to speed up their reading, and improve fluency.  The students will be given time to read and reread decodable text to each other while doing one minute timed readings.

Materials:

1. Stopwatch for each pair of students

2. A copy of the book Jane and Babe (published by Educational Insights c.1990) for each pair of students

3. A sheet of paper with a banana tree on it for each student.  The banana tree should have lines going up the tree to the bananas for the students to write in numbers.

4. A cutout picture of a monkey for each student

5. Chalkboard and chalk

6. Pencil for each student

Procedure:

1. Begin the lesson by reviewing the a_e=/A/ correspondence.  Teacher will give the word babe as an example, and write it on the board.  Ask students to display their knowledge of the a_e correspondence by naming words with that correspondence.  Teacher will write the words that the students name on the board.

2. Next, do a book talk for Jane and Babe.  Have you ever been to a zoo and seen a lion?  Jane is a girl that works at the zoo.  Every day she plays with Babe the lion. She likes to take care of him.  One day Babe falls asleep and Jane needs to wake him up.   Even though Babe is tame, Jane has to be careful because lions can get very mad.  How do you think Jane will wake Babe up without getting hurt?  Read the book to find out!!”

3. Today, we are going to practice reading with fluency.  This means that we are going to practice reading very quickly.  When we read quickly, we are able to understand the story much easier than if we read slowly.  The teacher will model how not to read by reading the first page of Jane and Babe (reading very slowly without fluency, sounding out each word, taking long pauses between each word).  “B-abe  (pause)  st-ay-s in his (pause) c-age. (pause)  The c-age has B-abe’s (pause) n-ame.  (pause)  The c-age h-a-s a (pause) g-ate.”

4. Now read the same page; this time reading with fluency and expression.  “Babe stays in his cage.  The cage has Babe’s name.  The cage has a gate.”  Tell students the difference between the two ways you read the same page.  (One way was slow, choppy, and boring.  The other way was quick, smooth, and entertaining.)  Emphasize how important it is that we read quickly so that we can understand and enjoy what we read.

Assessment:  Have students write their names on the banana tree charts.  Compare the number of words per minute the first time they read to the number of words per minute the last time they read.  See if it increased.

References:

Auburn University Reading Genie Web site, Growing Independence and Fluency Design, Estill, Laura.  “Sail into Reading

Eldridge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding:  Why and How, Second Edition.  “Improving Decoding, Fluency, Comprehension, Motivation, and Writing” pg. 151.  Pearson Education, Inc.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. C2005.