Learning Fluency with Gloria the Dog

Growing Independence and Fluency

Mary Katherine Cooke


Rationale: Students must become fluent readers in order to read faster, smoother, and with more expression. This lesson helps students learn to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively through teacher modeling and guided repeated readings. By gaining these tasks, students will be fluent readers. Fluency refers to a student's ability to read words accurately and automatically.



Chart paper with "The cat ran up a tree" written on it.


Enough sentence sheets for each pair of students.

The dog went down the hill.

We went to the store to buy some candy.

 I like to play on the slides at the park.


Enough copies of Officer Buckle and Gloria for each pair of students.


A copy of the literacy formula for each pair of students.

number of words x 60/seconds


A stopwatch for each pair of students.  


Dog reading tool: each student will receive a dog cut-out and some graph paper. Students will move their dog down a sidewalk drawn on the graph paper according to how many words they get correct.




1.     Explain what fluency is and why it is so important for readers: "Boys and girls, today we are going to be working on fluency. Fluency is when you can read quickly, without stopping to sound out each word. You can make more sense of a text when you read it fluently because you don't have to try so hard to sound out the words. Today we are going to work on our fluency by practicing with sentences and reading a text multiple times."

2.     Model fluent reading. On a large chart paper, write out the phrase: The cat ran up a tree. "Okay students, first I am going to read this sentence without fluency. Ttthe cccaaaattt rrran uuup a tttrrreeee. Now I will read the sentence as a fluent reader. The cat ran up a tree. Did you all hear the difference between reading without and with fluency? Listen to me read it one more time. The cat ran up a tree. This time, I read it faster and with more expression because the words are familiar to me. Because I practiced the sentence twice, I was able to read it fluently the third time."

3.     Practice sentences with a partner. "Now I am going to pass out some sentences to you and your partner." Partners are pre-assigned according to seating arrangement. "The first two times whisper read the sentences to yourself, covering up or cross-checking if you need to. The third time, read your sentence out loud to your partner." I will walk around and monitor students' reading as the practice. "See how your reading improved when you practiced the sentence first?"

4.     Explain how to work on fluent reading with a book. "In just a few minutes we are going to work on improving our fluency with the book Officer Buckle and Gloria. It's okay if you don't recognize a word in the book, you can use one of our tools to help you out. Remember to cross-check by re-reading a sentence if a word in it doesn't make sense, and cover up the word to make it easier to sound out. I will give you all instructions on how to read with your partner." Before I give step 5 instructions, I will give the book talk. "In the book, Officer Buckle's police station gets a new police dog. What will happen when the dog, Gloria, goes around to the school safety talks and suddenly makes the usually boring performances exciting?"

5.     Repeated reading with chapter book. "Okay boys and girls, we are now going to read the book Officer Buckle and Gloria. Get with your partner please. One of you will be in charge of the stopwatch and one of you will read, and then you will switch. For the student who is reading, whisper read the book to yourself. When you're finished, your partner will tell you what your time was. At this point, plug your time into your formula (number of words x 60/seconds). You will do this three times. For the student who is timing, time how long it takes your partner to read the book. After each read, count the time your partner read and mark the numbers on your dog counter. Then switch roles and repeat three times again."

6.     Assessment: After the students finish their timed readings with a partner, I will have them come to me individually and have them do one more timed read for me. While they are reading, I will assess if the students are reading fluidly and with expression- changing their voice for different types of sentences, using different tones. As I am assessing, the other students will read quietly at their desks.




Lindsay Jones. Practicing Fluency with Miss French.



Rathmann, Peggy. Officer Buckle and Gloria. Putnam; New York, New York. 1995.

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