Read like you mean it!!


Growing Independence and Fluency

Julie Kinsey


Rationale: For students to learn how to read quickly, effortlessly, and using expression they must become fluent readers.  Fluent reading is a student’s ability to read words correctly and automatically.  Word recognition also must be automatic in order for students to comprehend text and become fluent readers.  In order for students to achieve word recognition automatically, reading and re-reading decodable text must happen.  Fluent reading is accomplished through repeated readings, timed reading, and one-minute reads.  This lesson takes step by step instructions on how to help students develop and learn how to read quickly, automatically, and expressively.  Students will practice and be aided in strengthening their ability to read fluently. 


*A stopwatch for each two students (partners);

*A copy of “Clifford the Big Red Dog” for each student;

*Fluency chart for each student: the chart will have on one side of the paper a column going up to the top where a big dog bone will be, along the column will be numbers counting up, and at the bottom of the chart there will be 'Clifford' the dog from the story.;

*Red, blue, and yellow crayons for every two students;

*White board;

*Dry erase markers            


1.  Start the lesson off by explaining to the students that in order to become a successful reader you have to be able to read fluently.  "Fluent reading is when you are able to read so fast that you do not have to stop to sound out each word.  It is when you recognize words automatically without even trying."  When students become fluent readers they begin to really enjoy text because it makes sense to them.  "One way that all of us can improve our fluency is by reading a text more than one time, or called rereading.  Each time you reread one certain text you read it faster and faster because you start to become more and more familiar with that text.  We are all going to try this strategy and see how we can improve our reading fluency."

2.  Write a sentence on the board about a cat.  "I have a big fat cat that is very fluffy and has a long tail."  Next review and explain the steps in decoding.  "What if I do not know a word, what will I do first? Right I will use the cover-up method.  Remember a while back when we learned this method?  We are all going to try using it together.  We are going to practice with the word cat.  Notice the word cat in the sentence on the board."  Using the white board write the following steps down on the board as showing an example; "First we would find the vowel which is the letter a, and we would have everything covered up except the vowel.  The letter a makes the /a/ sound.  Then we would uncover the letter c which makes the /c/ sound and say out loud by blending the /ca/ together.  Then we would uncover the letter t which makes the /t/ sound and blend all the sounds together to read the word, cat."  Then we would read the sentence on the board that contains the word cat in it to see if it makes sense and if our cover-up and blending strategy worked. 

3.  "Next I am going to read a sentence that I will write on the board to you.  The first time I am going to read the sentence without fluency and then I will read the sentence fluently."  (Write on the board I had fun at the park.)  Then the teacher will demonstrate by reading slowly “I h-a-d f-u-n a-t th-e p-a-r-k.  Did you notice how I got stuck on some words?  Didn’t everyone have a difficult time understanding me?  Yes, you are right.  This happens a lot when we read, but the more we read the same words, the better we become at recognizing them.  Now I am going to read the sentence again in another way, not getting stuck on any of the words.  (This time I will read it fast and with fluency.)  I had fun at the park.  Which time sounded better?  Which reading was faster and more fluent the first or second time? You are correct, the second one.  The second time I could understand the sentence better because I did not have to focus on figuring out how to say the words.  The second time I could focus on what the text was saying.  Reading fluently is what we are practicing and learning about today."    

4.  Partner students into small groups of two.  Hand out all of the books "Clifford the Big Red Dog" to every student.  "First tell the students that you will read the first two pages three times to demonstrate what they will do.  Explain to the class that each time you read a passage you become familiar with it and can read it better and better."  Then read the first two pages.  The first time reading read the text slowly and make it difficult for the students to understand.  Then the second time read it better and on the third time read it fluently and with expression.  "Tell them that after they read the whole story through independently then they will reread the story. 

5.  Then they will each take turns reading to each other so both partners become familiar with the book.  The teacher should walk around observing the students while they are reading and taking notes.  If some students are done before the teacher is able to listen and observe students reading then the teacher should ask the students to reread some of the story again.    

6.  Next, pass out the charts with the dog and dog bone on them, and the crayons.  We are going to play a fun game that I bet you have never played before so I need everyone to listen very closely.  I want one person in the group at a time read the story.  The other partner will be listening.  Then I want the partner that was the time tracker to count how many words their partner read and graph them on the chart with the dog and dog bone I handed out.  Then the other partner should do this.  The teacher should demonstrate in the front of the classroom how to graph the reads using the chart given with the dog and dog bone.  Every student should do the whole book reads.  Explain to the students that each time they do a new one read that the 1st time the track it in red crayon, 2nd time in blue, and 3rd time in yellow crayon.  If any students are done early the teacher should have them continuing reading the book for more practice. 

7.  For assessment, the teacher will collect all of the graph sheets and calculate each of the student’s words they read per minute.  The teacher will make a chart for each student with the information collected on it from the lesson just completed and with the new calculated score for them to have and work on to improve their score even more.  The teacher will have each student come up and ask questions about the book to see if they understood and comprehended the text while improving their reading fluency.     Calculate this by doing the formula number of words times 60 divided by seconds.


Gainor, Brandi.  "Go Speed Racer!"

Bridwell, Norman.  “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”   Scholastic: 1988. pp.32. 

Durham, Mallory.  “1, 2, 3, Read!”
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