Aiming to be a Fluent Reader

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Kaylyn Kirsch

Henry and Mudge


Rationale: The key goal in reading is comprehension. In order for a child to be able to comprehend the message behind their reading, they must shift from a beginning reader to a fluent reader. Fluent readers are able to comprehend text because they are not completely focused on decoding and sounding out words. Their word recognition is quick, accurate, and automatic. This lesson design helps students become more fluent in their reading through repeated reading and timed reading of text. Each pair of students will work on reading and rereading stories, taking turns and timing each other's reading.



Copies of "Henry and Mudge: The First Book" (one for each student)

Cover up critter, popsicle stick used for decoding (one for each student)

Dry erase marker

White board

Stop watch (one for each pair of students)

Speed Reading Record sheet (one for each student)

Reading fluency partner check sheet (one for each student)

Pencils (one for each student)



1. Explain the importance of reading fluently to the class.

 "Today class, we are going to talk about the importance of reading fluently. Fluency is very important when it comes to being excellent readers because when we read fluently, we read quickly and accurately and can focus our attention on understanding the message that we are reading is telling us. I know that each of you can be excellent readers! Now, one way we can practice our reading fluency is by reading a story over and over again. We call this repeated reading."

2. Demonstrate what students should do if they come across a word that they do not recognize while they are reading. Pass out a cover up critter to each student.

"Remember, when you are reading, if you come to a word that you do not know, you can use your cover up critter to help you figure out the word. Let me show you an example." Write the word bridge on the board. "Let's pretend I do not know this word. First, I am going to find my vowel and cover up all the other letters. My vowel is short i and I know that this makes the /i/ sound. Now let's uncover the letters one at a time leading up to the vowel." Uncover b. "This letter is a b and it makes the /b/ sound. Now I am going to uncover the r which makes the /r/ sound. Now I have bbbrrrriii bri. Now let's uncover the last part of the word, the dge. I know that these letters blended together make the /j/ sound. Now let's start back at the beginning and blend all of the sounds together. Bbbrrriii, now put the /j/ sound on the end. B-r-i-dge, oh! That word is bridge!"


3. Demonstrate what a fluent reader sounds like.

"Now I am going to demonstrate the difference between what a non-fluent reader sounds like and what a fluent reader sounds like." Write the sentence "The dog ran away with his bone." on the board. "Now listen as I read this sentence aloud." Read it slowly, "'Thhheee…dog…raannn…awwway…with his…booonne.' Do you think that sentence was easy to understand? That is how non-fluent readers read a sentence. Now I am going to read the same sentence two more times to work on my fluency. 'The dog…raaann…awway…with his…boonnne.' 'The dog ran…awwway…with his bone.' Notice how every time I read the sentence I was able to read a little bit quicker and with more accuracy and expression. Fluent readers read a sentence like this with lots of expression, 'The dog ran away with his bone.' Now I can understand exactly what the sentence is telling me."


4. Pass out a copy of the book "Henry and Mudge: The First Book" to each student. Give a book talk.

"Have you ever felt so lonely that you just wish you had someone to play with? Today, we are going to read a story about a lonely boy named Henry. Henry does not have any brothers or sisters and he really wants someone to play with. One day he gets a dog named Mudge and they quickly become best friends. Henry finally has someone to play with. But, Mudge goes for a walk--and gets lost! Henry is having a hard time finding him and he misses his best friend. Will Henry and Mudge find each other soon? You will have to read and find out! I want you all to read the story one time and then we will talk about it together. Then I want you to read it again by yourself. Remember to use the repeated reading strategy and the cover up strategy that we talked about to work on your fluency and expression."


5. Have students use partner reading to work on fluency and explain the Speed Reading Record sheet.


"Now I am going to partner you up with a buddy. One of you will be the reader and read the story to your partner and the other one will be the recorder. The reader is going to read the book for one minute three different times. The recorder will start and stop the stop watch at the beginning and end of each minute. The recorder will write down the number of words that the reader reads during each minute. After three tries, the recorder and the reader will swap roles. When you have both finished with your one-minute reads, you will fill out the fluency sheet to assess each other's fluency. You are only evaluating how your partner performed on the second and third timed reading.".

Assessment: After each partner has read I will have individuals come up and do a timed reading with me. I will also use their Speed Reading Record sheets and the Fluency evaluation sheets as an assessment piece.



Long, Ali. "Reading Fast is a Blast!".


Rylant, Cynthia. "Henry and Mudge: The First Book"


-Speed Reading Record:

  Name:_________________________            Date:___________


     - After 1st read            _______

     - After 2nd read           _______

     - After 3rd read            _______

-Partner Check Sheet for students to assess their partner's fluency:

Name: _________________                      Partner's Name: _________________

 When I listened to my partner read:

                                                         After 2nd           After 3rd

       1. Remembered more words         _______          _______

       2. Read faster                                _______          _______

       3. Read smoother                          _______          _______

       4. Read with expression                _______          _______



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