Smooth Operator!

girl reading

Fluency Design

Kelly Roberts

Rationale: Fluency can be one of the greatest challenges for beginning readers. These young readers initially sound choppy when reading because they have to exert so much effort. As a result, beginning readers often have difficulty remembering what they read, since the text can be so disconnected.  Practice in developing fluency is one of the methods that help readers develop accurate and automatic comprehension skills.  By teaching children how to make their reading sound like speech, they can more easily connect the text, and ultimately be on their way to becoming skilled readers.



-1 copy of Jane and Babe (Educational Insights) per student

-check sheet for fluency and expression for each student (for their reading partner activity)

-a one-minute read chart to graph the students progress (A dog that is moved so that it gets closer to it’s bone)

-timer or watch



    1. Tell students: Good readers read very smoothly. We can also say that they read fluently. In order to become a good reader, not only do we have to practice a lot, but we also have to read with expression (Ask for a volunteer to tell what reading with expression means). We want our words to flow together so that they sound like a sentence as if we are talking to our friend or the person sitting next to us.  We have been using good methods to help us with our reading, such as cover-ups (Model cover-ups by showing how to isolate parts of a word to break it into chunks) and cross checks (rereading the sentence to make sure it makes sense…Model crosschecking with a sentence from Jane and Babe), but the kind of readers we are learning to be do not need use these methods.  Instead, they can read very smoothly, making the words flow together.     

      2. I want to give you an example of what I am talking about.  (use my copy of Jane and Babe).  I am going to read this sentence in two different ways. I want you to tell me which sentence sounds better to you and why.  Wait until I have read both sentences, then raise your hand if you want to share your opinion.  Okay, let me open up my book… (read the first sentence slowly and blend aloud)-B-a-b-e  s-t-a-y-s  i-n  h-i-s  c-a-g-e. (Say the next one fluently)- “The cage has Babe’s name.”  Now call on a student who is raising their hand to answer which was better. Good.  The second sentence did sound better.  That sentence was much more improved because I blended the sounds together smoothly and automatically. It sounded like I was talking and not reading, didn’t it!?  That is what I want for each of you to accomplish, and we are going to start today!  Are we on our way to becoming fluent readers?  Yes we are!

      3. First practice reading a sentence on the board: “The cage has a gate.” (Read together aloud 3 times. ) Now say, Did everyone notice how much more smoothly we all sounded by the third time? Tell students that today we will be reading a book called Jane and Babe.  Give book talk: I bet each one of you has been to the zoo at least one time in your life…Well, if you have, I am sure you have seen the lions in their cage. Well, this book is about a lion named Babe and a zookeeper named Jane who spend the whole day together. What kind of fun things can you do with a lion? Let’s read and find out!

      4.  Distribute a copy of the text to each student.  Say: Everyone will read silently on their own until I say stop.  If you happen to finish the book, please start back at the beginning again. 1-2-3-Begin! After students have had sufficient time, have them stop reading and conduct a discussion on what they have just read.  Who were the main characters in this story? What kinds of things did the characters participate in?Next, have students work in pairs to complete a fluency chart for their partner while listening to each other read.  Have them raise their hands when they are finished to let you know they have completed their reading.

      5. I will assess my students by doing a one-minute read with each of them. They will each read a passage for one minute, while I record each student’s time and chart it on a graph for the student to see (a dog moving closer to his bone). We will reread two more times, and each time I will encourage them to get the dog closer to his bone.  While I am individually assessing the students, the other student will be reading a familiar book (the one they read in class the day before).

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

Illinois: Center for the study of reading.  1990.

 Jane and Babe.  Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.

Back to Constructions.