Rapid Readers Rock!

Fluency Lesson Design

By Megan Castleberry



Being a successful reader requires two components: comprehension and fluency. To be a fluent reader, a child must learn to read fast and smooth while also using expression. Decoding is a skill that enables children to be able to read sight words which helps them read faster. Students can work toward becoming fluent by recognizing sight words and reading decodable texts multiple times.



Copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for children (big book version for teacher); copies of The Napping House for children; index cards with sight words; timers; paper; repeated reading checklists



1. Introduce lesson by telling students that "to be good readers, we need to be rapid! This word means fast. We want to be able to read quickly and with expression. To do this, we need to practice just like you would for a race."

2. I will model reading The Napping House both quickly and with expression and in a slow expressionless way. "Which way did you like better?" "I enjoy reading more when there is expression, not when it's slow and boring. What do you think?" Also, I will model cross-checking by reading a word incorrectly in a sentence and saying "hmm now I don't think that makes much sense does it? I think I need to go back and look again. Oh! That makes much more sense!"

3. "Now the whole class is going to practice reading together! Let's use our best expression when we read!"

4. I will pair up students and give them copies of The Napping House and a repeated reading checklist. The partners will take turns reading to each other and grading each other on the checklist. Then they will take turns and time each other and will record the reading times.

5. "Have you ever been sooooo hungry that you felt like you could eat anything? This caterpillar eats and eats and eats! Then he gets a bad tummy ache and lays down to rest and something amazing happens. Let's find out…!"

I will hand out note cards with sight words on them and read a big book (The Very Hungry Caterpillar) using a pointer. The students will raise their sight word when they see/hear the word as I read.


The reading record time sheet will be used to assess the students' reading time. I will also have a student write a few sentences about what they would eat if they could eat anything like the caterpillar did.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, World Publishing Company, 1969.

The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood. Harcourt, 1984.

Dr. Bruce Murray, Auburn University:  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie


Repeated reading checklist

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