Let’s Race to the Top!

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

Lindsay Williams



       In order for children to become expert readers, they have to develop fluency in their reading. Fluency involves reading faster, smoother, and with more expression.  One of the first steps in developing fluency is learning to recognize words effortlessly and automatically.  This lesson will help students to begin to read faster through repeated readings and one-minute reads.




Speed Record Sheet

Name:________________           Date:__________

1st time:______

2nd time:______

3rd time:______


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name:____________         Evaluator:____________         Date:___________

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

After 2nd                         After 3rd

O                                    O                          Remembered more words

O                                    O                          Read faster

O                                    O                          Read smoother

O                                    O                          Read with expression




1. Begin by saying, “We have been working on skills that help us to become better readers.  Today, we are going to talk about something called fluency.  Fluency is when we are able to read words faster and smoother, so that we can understand the stories we read better and makes the stories more interesting.” Were going to practice reading faster and smoother. Explain to students that when they read with expression, quickly and smoothly that they are reading fluently. Tell them that they are going to read a text three times to become fluent readers too.

2. Review with the students the different methods of figuring out a word if you get stuck. “Boys and girls, let’s talk about some of the ways we can figure out a word if we get stuck.” Can anyone tell me the first thing we should do if we get stuck on a word? Yes, that is correct! We use the cover-up strategy. If I have the word pot in my text and I get stuck what do you think is the first thing I should do? That’s right! I would first cover up everything but the vowel /o/. Next, I would uncover the sound right in front of the /o/ which is /p/. Now you need to combine the two sounds together to get /p/ /o/. The last thing we should do is uncover the last sound which is /t/. We need to think about what sound this makes and then add all three sounds together to get /p/ /o/ /t/.

3. “Is there someone who can tell me what other strategy we use when figuring out words?” Very good! We use cross-checking when we read. Write the sentence I feel sick today on the board. You might have read this sentence as I fell sick today if you did not know the word feel. But wait! That does not make sense so as good readers we go back and re-read our sentence to make sure it makes sense. When you re-read a sentence to make sure it makes sense, it is called cross-checking.

4. Now we are ready to learn how to read fluently. I’m going to read a sentence and I want you to listen carefully to how it sounds. I will write “James makes a lake in the tub” on the board. I will then read it as J-a-a-a-m-m-e-s   m-a-a-k-k-e-s    a-a    l-a-a-k-e       i-i-n    t-h-e-e     t-u-u-b. Next, I will read James makes a lake in the tub. Which one of those sounds better? That’s right, the second time sounded much better because I read it faster and it made it easier to understand what the sentence meant.

5. Since you know why it is important to read faster and fluently, we are going to practice this skill. I am going to pass out a copy of James and the Good Day to each student. Now I want you to look at the sheets of paper on your desk. These are fluency checklists that check for remembering words, reading faster, reading smoother, and reading with more expression.

6. “I am going to assign each of you with a partner and I want you to read your story to each other three times each. On the second and third that your partner reads the story, the student not reading is going to mark on the boxes to show which areas their partner has improved in their reading.” Then they will switch and do the same thing for the other student.

7. “What do you think happens the more we read a story? That’s correct! Usually you are able to read faster the more times you read a story. Let’s find out if this is true.” You are going to read the story again three times to your partner and record how many words you are able to read in one minute. The partner who is not reading will record the one who is reading on the speed record sheet.

8. To assess the children, I will do a one minute read with each child individually. I will have the student read James and the Good Day three times and record their results to see if they increase the number of words they read per minute. This, along with the fluency check lists, will show me whether the children are making progress towards faster and more fluent reading each time they read.




James and the Good Day. Educational Insights, Carson CA., 1990.


Melton, Shelly. Ready to Race.           


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