Fantastic Fluency!


Growing Independence and Fluency

Brantley Cole



The utmost important goal of reading is comprehension. If children are reading without comprehending what they read, the purpose in reading is lost. In order to read and comprehend effectively, students must learn to read fluently, meaning that he or she must be able to read words and sentences smoothly, quickly, and with expression. Students are able to progress toward being more fluent readers by reading and rereading text. It is also important to time students as they read familiar texts to measure their growth as fluent readers.



Sentence strips that say:

Today we are going to the lake.

We like to swim and play in the water.

A Day at the Lake by Matt Sims (one for each student)

Timer/stopwatch (one for teacher,one for each student)

Speed Reading Fluency Checklists:


RRdg checksheet.jpg


1. Teacher says: "Today we are going to talk about why it is important to be a fluent reader. A fluent reader is someone who can read smoothly without stopping between words. If we are able to recognize words more quickly without stopping to sound each one out, we can concentrate more on what the words are telling us. The best way for us to become more fluent readers is to read books more than once. After a little practice you are going to be timed reading the book. This is to show me how much more fluent you are becoming as you keep practicing! The more you read, the better you will get at reading!"

2. Teacher says: "I am going to show you how a reader who is not fluent would read. (Draw attention to sentence strip on the board). A student who is not a fluent reader would probably read this sentence like this: '/T//OO/day—Today we are go-ing—going—to the /l/ /a/ /k/, oh that says lake. Today we are doing to the lake.' Even though I wasn't fluent at the beginning, I became more fluent by the end because the second time I read the sentence I was able to remember how to read the words that slowed me down the first time. A fluent reader would read the same sentence like this 'today we are going to the lake.' Could you tell the difference between the fluent reader and the non-fluent reader? The fluent reader read much faster and smoother than the non-fluent reader. Which time was it easier to understand what the sentence was telling? Right! The second time it was easier because we didn't have to stop and decode each word. We were able to concentrate on the message instead of each word. Now listen as I read another sentence: 'We like to swim and play in the water.' Did I sound like a fluent reader or a non-fluent reader? Right! I was reading like a fluent reader because I read it quickly and smoothly! See how easy it was to understand what the sentence was telling us?"

3. Teacher says: "Now we are going to read a book called A Day at the Lake by Matt Sims. In this story, Ben, Pat, Jim, and Jean are excited about spending a day at the lake. They get hungry swimming and playing in the water, but when they stop playing to eat lunch, they can't find their lunch sacks! They see a dog run by with their lunches! They realize that the dog is lost! We will have to practice our fluency and read to see if the dog ever makes it home and to see what special event happens at the end of the story!

Remember that when you are reading you may come across some words you don't know. If you get to a word that confuses you, don't worry! Do your best to figure out what the word is and then keep moving. Cross-check by reading to the end of the sentence to see if your word makes sense or to see if reading the rest of the sentence helps you figure out what the word should be. Then you should re-read the sentence altogether to make sure you understand what the sentence is telling us. Now I will pair each of you with a partner so you can practice reading fluently with your friends!"

4. I will do my best to pair students who are as closely-matched in their reading abilities as possible so that students will feel comfortable reading in front of the partners. Once the students are in pairs, I will pass out the Repeated Reading Checklist. I will explain to the students how to use this checklist.

 Teachers says: "I told you that the best way to become a fluent reader is to re-read books several times so that they become so familiar that we are able to recognize the words easily. You are going to practice this by reading a couple of pages from A Day at the Lake to your partner. First I want each of you to read the first chapter of the book once to your partner. Your partner is going to time how long it takes you to read the chapter using a stopwatch. I will teach you how to use the stopwatches before we begin. If your partner is reading you should simply be timing your partner, following along in your book, and paying attention to how your partner is reading.Then switch jobs. After both of you have read, read the chapter again. If you are not reading this time, you should be following along with your partner to see if he or she is reading smoothly, with expression, and more quickly than the first time. If your partner did these things, you should check them off on your checklist. Take turns reading the chapter until both of you have read the chapter a total of 3 times.


In order to measure each child's progress, I will have each child read the first chapter of A Day at the Lake to me after the have finished reading with their partner. I will take notes on how smoothly the child read the words, and will note how many words he/she read correctly and incorrectly.  I will time how long it takes them to read the chapter. I will also ask them questions at the end to see how well they comprehended what they read. I will look at each child's results along with the results from their peer reading fluency checklist to see what students still need practice with.


Adams, M.J. (1990) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print. Center for the study off Reading and the Reading Research and Education Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Developing Reading Fluency:

Fluency Lesson Design:

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