Jack and the Beanstalk

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Emily Barberini


Rationale:  An important step in reading fluency is being able to read faster.  Reading fluently means reading is fast, smooth, and has expression.  A way to increase reading fluency is to read and reread a text in order to become more familiar with the words in the passage.  When a child becomes a fluent reader, the task of reading becomes more enjoyable to all involved.  This lesson will help reinforce fluent reading by allowing students to reread a passage in three, one minute reads.



  Class set of Doc in the Fog (Educational Insights)

  One printout for each student of the Speed Record Sheet & Fluency Literacy Rubric

Speed Record Sheet

Name: ______________________________  Date: _____________

1st time: ____________________________

2nd time: ____________________________

3rd time: ____________________________


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Reader's Name: _______________________________ 

Recorder's Name: _______________________________

Date: _____________________    

I noticed that my partner... (color in the circle)

After 2nd reading:                 After 3rd reading:

                                                                                                                         O                                                                O                                 Remembered more words
                                                                                                                         O                                                                O                                 Read faster
                                                                                                                         O                                                                O                                 Read smoother
                                                                                                                         O                                                                O                                 Read with more expression

            ∙  Stopwatch

  Progress chart for each child (it will be a beanstalk with little Jack at the bottom.  There will be numbers along the beanstalk leading up to the giant.  After each of the one minute reads, the student will move Jack up the beanstalk according to how many words he has read.) Sample  design:



1.         I will introduce the lesson by talking to the student’s about reading, telling them that reading is something that takes a lot of practice.  “Today we are going to practice reading faster and smoother.”  Talk to students about what it means to be a “fluent” reader.  Fluent readers are able to read quickly, smoothly and with expression.  “This might seem like a lot, but one you are a fluent reader you will be able to enjoy stories a lot more!  Today we are going to read the story Doc in Fog.  Each of you will be reading the story three times so that we can get lots of practice reading quickly and smoothly.  There might be some words in the story that you don’t know, but that is ok.”  Students can practice using the cover-up strategy or try reading the rest of the sentence to see if they can figure out the missing word.  Model cover-up strategy for students to refresh them. 

2.         “Who can tell me why it is important for us to be able to read fast?” Give students an example of what it sounds like to read slowly.  Read the first sentence of Doc in the Fog very slowly.  “Was that fun to listen to?  What do you think I could do to make it more fun for you boys and girls to listen to?  Very good, I could read faster.  Do you have any more ideas of what I could do to make it sound better?  That’s right, I could use different voices.  That is called reading with expression.  Today we are going to practice reading faster and smoother by re-reading the same story several times.  We want to become very familiar with the words that are in the book.  Before we start reading I want to make sure we all remember what the new words we learned mean.  Who can tell me what the word ‘fluently’ means?  If no response, remind them.  What about the word expression?  Who remembers what that means?  If no response, remind them.  Now, we are going to practice reading our book so that we will be able to read it fluently.  Remember that comprehension is a very important part of reading books so pay attention to what the book is saying.”

3.         Divide the class into pairs.  If there is an uneven number of children, I will be their partner.  Give each child a copy of the book, a speed record sheet and a fluency literary rubric. 

4.         Explain to students that one person will be the reader while the other is the recorder, and then they will switch positions so that everyone gets a turn at doing both.  “You are going to start at the beginning of the book and read for one minute.  I will have a stopwatch and tell you when to start and when to stop so you don’t need to worry about it.  Just read as fast and as smooth as you can.”  Explain the role of both the recorder and the reader to students, telling them that the recorder will count the number of words that the reader reads in one minute and record is on the speed record sheet.  After this, the reader will get to move “Jack” up the beanstalk to the number they have read.  The recorder will also have the responsibility of filling out the fluency literary rubric by coloring in the circles that describe how the reader did.  The students will then switch roles and continue for another one minute read.  [Each of these will be monitored by the teacher who is controlling the starting and stopping so that everyone stays on the same pace.]

5.         Students will continue to take turns until each student has done three one minute reads.  Continue to remind the students to keep track of the number of words they read each time and record them on both the speed record sheet and on the progress chart of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Also, remind the recorder to be filling in the fluency literary rubric. 

6.         After the students have completed three one-minute reads they talk with their partners about how they think they did.  Guide the students conversation by asking them questions such as:  Did each partner improve on the words per minute they read?  Did each partner remember more words, read faster, read more smoothly, and read with more expression each time they re-read the book?  Tell the kids what re-reading can do and how it helps by explaining to them that rereading makes you a faster reader, it helps you read with more expression and it helps you read more accurately. Also, explain to the students that comprehension is the goal to reading.  The more you read, the more fluent you will become.

7.         For assessment, collect both the speed record sheet and the fluency literary rubric from each student.  Compare the first and last reading looking for improvement.  The teacher can also gather all the students together and hold an informal discussion and ask for the attitudes towards reading after this exercise.  Do they understand why we need to be able to read fluently?  If not, explain to students again the importance of fluency.  Also, read the story to the students because most of them will not have gotten through it completely. 



Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. 1990.

Bennett, Shelley.  Speed Read.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/bennettgf.html

Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teach Decoding; why and howUpper Saddle River, NJ. (2005).

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