Fancy and Fluent

A Growing Independence and Fluency Design

By Beth Binkowski

Rationale: It is extremely important for students to be able to read with fluency. In order for students to become expert readers, students must be able to recognize words effortlessly and with speed.  In this lesson, students will practice reading fluently with one minute reads and by reading a text through multiple times.

Materials: Copies of Diary of a Spider for each student, cover up critters, one-minute reads recording sheets, fluency checklists, stopwatches (one for each pair of students), whiteboard, dry erase marker


1. I will introduce the lesson by talking to the students about what reading fluently means and explaining that the more fluent you read, the more of an expert reader you will be. Say: "Reading fluently means that you are able to recognize words effortlessly and quickly. When you are able to read fluently, you will be able to remember and understand more of the story you are reading.  When reading fluently, you can read a passage in a short amount of time without stopping to sound out individual words. One way we can work on reading fluently is to read a text more than once. With each reading of the text, you get a little faster. Today, we will practice fluency by reading a text more than once."

2. Say: "Let's review some skills that we have been working on that help us decode words. If I was reading a story and saw the word take [write word on board] and didn't know what that word was, what is the first thing I should do? [allow students to answer] Yes! I should get out my cover up and try to sound it out. First, we have to look at the special spelling of this word. We know that the spelling take follows the special rule of a silent e that makes the a say it's name /A/. Now we uncover the rest of the word to figure out what that word is." I will uncover the rest of the word and show the students how to fully decode the word talk.

3. Say: "Now we are ready to learn how to practice fluent reading. I am going to read a sentence twice and I want you to tell me which one sounds better. I will write it on the board so you can follow along with me. "Babe sits in her cage." "Bbbbaabbbbeee sssiiitttss iiinnnn hhhheeeerrr ccccaagggee." Which one says better to you? I agree! The first one sounds much better."

4. Say: "Now, I am going to pass out copies of Diary of a Spider to everyone. Have you ever heard of a spider writing in its diary? Today, we are going to read book and see into the life of a spider. Let's read to see what happens during a spider's day!" Then, I will instruct the students that they will be reading the story multiple times and completing a fluency checklist for their partner. A fluency checklist checks for remembering words, reading faster, reading smoother, and reading with expression. "Each one of you will work with the person next to you and read the story to them. As your partner is reading, you should look for the following things: Does your partner remember the words? Do they read faster than last time? Do they read smother than last time? Are they reading with expression? The first time your partner reads the story to you, you will not mark anything down. The second and third time they read it you, you will complete the chart to show where they have improved."

5. The last activity to be done will be a one-minute read. One partner will have a stopwatch and the other will read.  They will time each other to see how many words they can read in one minute.

6. I will assess the students by having each student do a one-minute read with me of Diary of a Spider.  I will check to see if the child's number of words read per minute is going up with the previous records of each student. I will also check to see if the partner recorded the one-minute read correctly. Each child should show a higher level of fluency through the one-minute read and the fluency checklist.

Fluency Literacy Rubric:

Name: _______________________     Partner's Name: ___________________

Date: _________

I noticed that my partner...(check the lines that apply)

After 2nd               After 3rd

 ______                ______            remembered more words

______                 ______            read smoother

______                 ______            read faster

______                 ______            read with expression

Speed Record Sheet:

Name: ________________________   Date: __________

1st reading: _________            2nd reading: _________         3rd reading: _________


Blackmon, Mary Jo. Speedy Reading.

Cronin, Doreen. Diary of a Spider. HarperCollins. 2003.  

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