Growing Independence and Fluency

 Christina Smith


Speed Team



For children to excel in reading they must master the ability to read fluently.  Reading fluently requires the reader to read faster, read smoothly, and to read with expression.  Through effortless and automatic word recognition, readers become more fluent.  The goal of this lesson is to have students reading more fluently with the use of repeated readings and one-minute reads.



- White board

- Pencils

- Stopwatch

- Lee and the Team for every two students

- Fluency Field checklists for each student

Fluency Field


2nd base

Read smoothly



3rd base                                                                            1st Base

Read with expression                                                               Remembered more words



Home Base


- One-minute reads class record sheet



1.  “We have been learning many things that make us expert readers.  We have enough knowledge to become move from beginning readers to fluent readers.  Fluent readers read smoothly and with expression making their stories much more interesting than beginning readers.  Fluency also helps us understand our stories better.

2.  Let’s review some skills that we have learned which help us decode words.  To read fluently we need to be able to limit our decoding and recognize words quickly, but if we do need to decode we must be able to know how to do so quickly.  If I come to a word like team (write on board), and am stuck, what’s the first thing I should do?  That’s right, get out my cover up.  With my cover up I will get the vowel by itself covering up all the other letters (model).  My vowel sound in team is ea and I know that ea=/E/.  We are then going to uncover the beginning letter t.  I know t=/t/…so know we have /t/ /E/.  Then uncover the last letter m.  m=/m/…/t/ /E/ /m/…team!  Let’s all join the speed TEAM! (Write on the board)

3.  If we try to decode and the word still does not make sense, let’s say I said tem and not team, what should we do?  That’s right, cross-check.  Cross-checking means reading ahead to try and find clues in the sentence which make the most sense for the word to be.  Let’s practice.  (Read) ‘Let’s all join the speed tem’…speed tem that doesn’t sound right…oh Let’s all join the speed team!  After decoding if your sentence doesn’t make sense cross-check and REread.

4.  I’m going to practice reading our sentence three times.  I want you to listen very carefully and tell me which sentence you think was read the most fluent.”  Read one sentence sounding out each phoneme in every word.  Read the second sentence more smoothly but without expression.  And read the last sentence smoothly and with expression.  “Which sentence sound the most fluent to you?  That’s right, the third one.  When I read the third sentence I knew every word, without having to sound out each phoneme, and I read with lots of expression or excitement.  The third time I read you could probably understand what I said a lot better than the first time.

5.  Reading fluently improves our reading so much and is so important when becoming an expert reader.  In reading buddies we are going to read and REread three times a book.  Each time you REread your book, your reading buddy will complete your Fluency Field checklist.  Your Fluency Field has four bases you must get to safely before being able to make a homerun.  Circle first base when your buddy has remembered more words, circle second base when your buddy has read smoothly, circle third base when your buddy has read with expression, and check home plate when your buddy has read faster.  Take turns as one person reads and the other is a listener, then switch until you have read our book three times each. 

6.  Give book talk.  Lee is on a baseball team.  His team is supposed to be practicing but they are being a little lazy.  A big bee sneaks up on the team.  What do you think Lee’s team mates will do when they see the bee?  You and your reading buddy will have to read “Lee and the Team” to find out! 

7.  When you are done reading your book three times, share with your buddy how their fluency has improved…remember to only say improvements your buddy has made.

8.  For assessment call students up one at a time to the back of the room to complete one-minute reads. Students will use a book of their choice at an appropriate readability level.  Time each student for one-minute three times, starting over at the beginning of the book each time.  Record the time on the class record sheet their first, second, and third time.  Share with students their fluency improvement as their times increased each with each time.  The one-minute reads and the Fluency checklists will all be indicators in the progress each student is making in their fluency.



 Lee and the Team. Educational Insights, Carson CA., 1990.

 McClanahan, Hope.  Read with Speed!

 Bright, Amy.  Home Run Reader.

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