Hungry for Reading

by: Joanna Holcomb

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

Rationale: Fluency is the ability to read quickly and with expression. It is important for students to develop this skill so that they can read with meaning and understanding. Students can gain this ability by reading and re-reading decodable text and then, through partner reading and individual reading, students will read more quickly and fluently.

Materials: Copies of Clifford the Big Red Dog (one for each student), paired reading checksheets, Clifford targets (directions at bottom), Cover-Up Critter (tongue compressors to cover up words), strip of paper with sentence "The puppy rushed to the bowl" for students to understand fluent reading


1. Today we are going to work on becoming more fluent readers! When we are fluent readers, we can read words quickly without having to stop as often. This will help us understand what we are reading better.

2. It is important to not skip any words when we're reading. All the words in a story are important, so if we skip one, we might not understand what is happening later in the story! If we don't understand a word, we can use our Cover-Up Critter to uncover the letters in the word one by one until we understand. If we came to a word like stuck, we could use our Cover-Up Critter to cover up everything except the u, which we know makes the "uhhh" sound like a caveman. Then, we can uncover s and t to blend the sounds together to get stuhhh and then add our ck and add it to our first sound to get stuck! You can use this any time you need help understanding a word!

3. When I read this sentence ("The puppy rushed to the bowl."), tell me which way you think is the way a fluent reader would read. (First, I will read the sentence like a student would decode.) "Thhhheeeee pppp-uhhhh-pppp-eeee rrrr-uhhh-sh-ddd ttttooooo theeeee b-uh-oooo-llll." (Next, I would read the sentence a little more quickly, and then finally read the sentence correctly and fluently.) Which sentence sounds the best? Thumbs up for which one sounded better. First one? Second one? Third one? The last one, right? That's because when we read fluently, people can understand us better and it sounds right.

4. Now we'll work on reading fluently together! Everyone should have a copy of Clifford the Big Red Dog so we are going to practice reading this book so we can become great readers! This book is about a little girl who gets a brand new puppy, but as the puppy gets older it keeps growing, and growing, and GROWING! What do you think will happen to the puppy? We are going to have to read the book to figure out what happens to the little girl and her dog, Clifford.

5. (Have the students read quietly to themselves for a little while to give them practice time.) Now that we have had a little practice time, we are going to pair up and practice reading the book aloud to each other. Each of you will read the book to each other three times and keep up with the checklist I will hand you. After one partner reads the book three times, switch and let the other partner have a turn.

6. (Walk around the class during the reading time to make sure students are reading and assessing one another correctly.) When everyone is done, I will call you up one at a time to my desk to have you read the book one more time and we can add to our graph to get the bone up to Clifford's bowl!

7. (Have students come up to the desk to see how many words per minute they can attain. Based off of this assessment and the checklist each partner completed, graph their progress on their Clifford graph. Set goals with each student to help them reach their fluency goals.)

-Clifford charts will have Clifford at the top with an empty bowl. Each time a student reaches their next fluency goal, they will get to move the bone one step closer to the bowl. The bones should have Velcro on the back to allow easy movement.

Assessment: Their oral reading to their partners and to the teacher will allow movement on their graphs which allows for quick assessment.

References: Zoom, Zoom, Zooming into Fluency by Maggie McKinney (

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell

On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!! by Stephanie Pollack (for Reading Checklist)

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Reading Checklist: (one per student)

                   -Partners' Names: __________________

                   As I listened to my partner read, he/she:

                                           After 2nd Read             After 3rd Read

1.     Remembered more words      ____________           _____________

2.     Read faster                                ____________            _____________

3.     Read smoother                         ____________            _____________

4.     Read with expression              ____________            _____________