Dive into Successful Reading!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Caroline Burr


            In order for children to be successful readers, they must be able to read texts independently and fluently. In order for children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read different words in texts accurately and automatically. When children become fluent readers, their comprehension level increases which is the ultimate goal for reading. During this lesson, children will perform repeated readings and learn different methods that will help them improve their fluency and comprehension level.


Sentence strips with short sentence for students to practice and to use as example

Copy of Bud the Sub for each student and teacher

Stop watch

Assessment sheet


1.     Have you ever heard from teachers that it is important to become a fluent reader in order to be successful in reading? Many teachers say this to their students but do not fully explain the ways in which you can become a fluent reader. Today we are going to learn different methods that can help improve our independent readings and push us towards becoming fluent readers. It is important for fluent readers to be able to read texts smoothly and with expression. (write smoothly and expression on board) Being able to read a text smoothly, means being able to read a sentence or paragraph without getting stumped on the words and having the ability to understand the content of what you have read. The second method for being a better fluent reader is, by reading with expression. Reading with expression is when you notice the different tones and emotions of the characters and carry out their feelings when you read aloud. For example: if you notice that a character is excited, you read the words of that text in an excited tone. When these two methods are combined in reading a paragraph or book, it increases our ability to understand what it is we are reading.

2.     I am now going to model how to read sentences smoothly. Put practice sentence strip up on the board: The sub lives in the ocean with the fish and whales. First, I am going to read the sentence slowly: Ttttthe ssssub lllllives iiiiin tttthe ooocean wwwwith ttthe ffffish aaand ttthe wwwhales. While I am reading this sentence I am going to remind them to use their cover up sticks or cross checking method if they get stumped on a word. After I have read the sentence slowly to the class, I will tell them to look for the difference when I read the same sentence a second time. The second time I read the sentence, I am going to read it faster and smooth without having choppy words. I will then ask the children to either put up one or two fingers, telling me way they thought my reading the sentence was easier to understand. (Hopefully the students will all put up two fingers and understand that it is easier to comprehend when we read sentences faster and smooth) If a lot of children put up one finger, I will know that I need to model more extensively with more sentences.

3.     Next, I am going to divide the children into pairs and give the pairs a sentence strip. I am going to ask them to each read the sentence to their partner three times. I will remind them to use their cover up and cross check method if they get stumped on a word. I am going to ask the partner that is listening to the person read to put a thumbs up with their hand, if their partner reads the sentence more smoothly the third time than the first. I will tell the students that through repeated readings, we are able to read things easier the second or third time than the first. While the partners are doing this, I will be walking around the class observing and assisting those that seem to be struggling with reading sentences smoothly.

4.     After the children have practiced reading sentences smoothly, I will move on to talking about reading with expression. I will talk about how reading with expression allows us to be better at comprehending what we read. Put a sentence strip on the board: My dad is going to take me down on Bud the Sub to see the ocean! First I am going to read the sentence in a dull flat voice. After, I am going to ask my students to notice the difference in my tone and expression when I read the sentence again. After I read the same sentence with expression, I am going to have the class put up either one finger or two to tell me which sentence they thought was read with expression. (Hopefully the class will all put up two fingers, if they don’t then I will know to put up other sentence strips to model reading with expression more)

5.     After I have modeled reading with expression I am going to tell my pairs of students to look at the sentence strip I have already given them and to practice reading with expression. Since you have already practiced reading this sentence, you should be able to read it smoothly and incorporate expression into it. I will ask the partner that is listening to once again put a thumbs up signal to show me if their partner is reading with expression. As the children are doing this, I will walk around and observe and assist the partners that seem to need extra attention.

6.     Finally, I will talk about the importance of combining these two methods in reading in order to become more fluent readers. I will talk to the children how it is important to reading sentences smoothly and with expression at the same time.

7.     I am going to give each of you a copy of the book Bud the Sub. Bud is a sub that lives in the ocean. While in the ocean, he comes across a tug that needs his help. Will Bud be able to help the tug? Lets read in order to find out! When I give each of you this book, I want you to alternate reading pages aloud with your partner. When you are reading the book, I want you to practice reading the sentences smoothly and with expression. If you get stumped on a word, use your decoding methods that we have learned. If you have used your decoding method, but are still stumped on the word, you can turn to your partner for help. After you have figured out the word, re read the sentence so you can read it again smoothly. If you get done reading the book, before I have rung the bell, read it again and continue practicing the methods that you have learned today.


      In order to assess whether my students have grasped the methods that I have taught them, I am going to pull them back to my table individually and have them read Bud the Sub to me again for one minute. Afterwards I will mark on a sheet whether they have read the book smoothly and with expression or choppy with little or no expression. My final part of the assessment, will be to ask them questions that determine their comprehension of what they have read. This is because the ultimate goal of becoming a fluent reader is to be able to comprehend what it is we have read. Example questions being:

      What is Bud?

      What happened to the tug?

      How did Bud help the tug?

I will note the children that struggled with reading smoothly and with expression and know that they are going to need further one on one or group practice to further their ability to become a fluent reader.


DeBlanc, Amber, Up, Up, Up, Goes the Sub!

Zorn, Elizabeth, Hurry, Follow that Cat!

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