Fluency in the Big Top


Growing Independence and Fluency
Molly McCormick

 

Rationale:

            Reading fluency is a goal of reading instruction.  In order for students to read more fluently, a student must learn to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively which can be achieved through rereading text. A very effective way for a student to increase their reading fluency is by doing repeated readings of a text.  In this lesson, students will learn how to become a more fluent reader through repeated one minute readings.  Students will also learn an effective decoding strategy to help decode unknown words.

 

Materials:

• Class set of In the Big Top

• Class set of stopwatches

• Pencils

• Sentence strip with the sentence “Monkeys play in trees” written on it.

• One-minute Read-aloud Recording Sheet (provided at the end of the lesson plan)

• Literacy Record Sheet (provided at the end of the lesson plan)

 

Procedure:

1. Introduce lesson by explaining that in order to become better readers, we must begin to read fluently.  Once we become fluent readers, we will be able to understand the text more easily.  One way to become fluent readers is to read a text more than once, each time reading it faster and more automatically.

2.  Model the difference between reading choppy and reading fluently.  “On the board is a sentence strip (‘Monkeys play in trees’).  M-o-n-keys p-l-a-y in t-r-ee-s.  Did you notice how slow I read the sentence?  Where do the monkeys play?  It’s hard to answer that question because when I read the sentence slowly it was hard to comprehend what I said.  Now I’m going to read it faster.  Monkeys play in trees.  Notice how much smoother I read the sentence that time?    That is an example of how you read a sentence fluently.  Which way was easier for you to understand?  That’s right, the second time I read it.  Now do you know where the monkeys play?  Yes, they play in the trees.”  Show how expressive readers make their voices go higher and lower, faster and slower, louder and softer. 

3.  “Let’s review how we can figure out how to say a word we do not know when we are reading.  The best way is to use the cover up approach, remember?  If I had the word ‘big’ I would cover up everything but the vowel /i/.  The i = /i/.  Now I look at what comes before the vowel which is /b/ and blend them together, /bi/.  Then we look at the end of the word g = /g/.  Put them all together and you have big! Remember if you are stuck on a word this is a great way to figure it out!”

4.  Introduce the book In the Big Top and give a book talk.  “Have any of you ever been to the circus?  Another name for the circus is ‘Big Top’ and today we are going to read about a family that goes to the circus!” 

5.  Pass out a copy of the book to each student and give them a few minutes to read through the book.  Discuss the book with the students once everyone has had the chance to read it.  Ask the students questions for understanding of the story.

6.  Split the students up into groups of two for 1-minute reads.  In each pair, students take turns being the reader and the recorder.  The reader reads a selection three times, each one minute long.  The recorder works the stopwatch announcing when to start and stop reading.  Each time the recorder will record how many words were read in that one minute.  Once one student has read three one minute read alouds, students switch roles.  

7.  Once students have finished recording the one minutes read alouds, have students fill out a Literacy Record Sheet on their partner.  They should color in the circles on how they thought their partner did during the second and third round.

8.  For assessment, I will have the students individually read the story to me and time them for one minute.  I will record the number of words they read and track their fluency development throughout the year. 

 

Reference:

Mummert, Michelle.  “Speeding into Fluency”  

The Reading Genie, “Developing Reading Fluency.”  

• (1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel In the Big Top. Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

 

Handouts:

• Literacy Record Sheet:

    I noticed that my partner…  

After Second Reading...
After 3rd Reading...

Remembered more words
Read Faster
Read Smoother
Read with expression

• One-minute Read-aloud Recording Sheet:

My name: ­­____________________________

My partner’s name: _________________________

 

1st time: ______­words

2nd time: ______words

3rd time: ______ words

 

 

 Links
Dr. Murray's Reading Genie
Auburn University