Wolfing Down Words

By: Nikki Tucker

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

Rationale: Comprehension is the main goal of reading for children to be able to understand what they are reading. For comprehension to happen easily, children must be fluent readers as well.  Fluency helps children to read smoothly and quickly with expression. This lesson is designed to help children reading for understanding and with efficiency.


- The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig books

- Laminated and cut out paper wolves, a brick house scene with Velcro tabs

- One-minute timer for each student

- Tape recorders

- Chalk and chalk boards



1. Begin by explaining to the children that they have started to decode very well and it is time to use those decoding skills to read smoothly and become fluent readers. Explain that reading fluent is a way of making reading sound like everyday speech and a good way to make reading sound clearer. Write a sentence on the board and then read it in two ways out loud to demonstrate the difference in non-fluent and fluent reading to the children "I am going to read a sentence twice and I want all of you to tell me which one sounds more like regular talking and one does not.  Y-o-u  c-a-ca-n ha-ve  d-e-sss-e-rr-t  a-f-tt-er-er  y-o-u  e-a-t  d-i-nn-er-er OR You can have dessert after you eat dinner. Which one was better? That’s right! The second one because it was easier to read with a fast and smooth voice."



2. We are going to read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and time ourselves to see how many words we can read smoothly and quickly in one minute."  Pass out book, stopwatches, and tape recorders, have students read once with you while you time in front of the class.  Show them how to mark a stopping point after the minute is up and then how to count all the words up to that point.  "Ok, now that we have practiced it once, get with your partner, and read to each other for one minute.  Whoever is reading needs to be recording their voice while your partner times you, then switch up.  Once you have both finished reading into the recorder for one minute, total up your words and put that number on the bottom of the brick house. Add ten to that number and place it on the line above, then keep adding ten until you get to the second floor of the house.  Keep reading and timing with your partner.  Move the Velcro wolf up as the number of words you read increases!  The challenge is to read fluently enough to get your wolf to the top floor of the house.  This means that you are reading more fluently and reading more words in a minute’s time!  You will only have to record yourselves on the first read."  


3. Have students read quietly to each other a few times until they get their wolf as high as they can.  Once they have done this, they can get a book of their choice to read while you assess each child.  Remind students to reread the sentences that they have trouble with in order to be more fluent readers and to better understand the story.



Call students to your desk and have him or her bring their first recording with them.  Have the students read for one minute again while you record.  Then you and the student can both listen to their progress from the first time to the last and discuss their improvements and the benefits of fluency. 


Reading Genie Website- Willett, Elana, Let’s Book It Into Reading.    http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/explor/reesgf.html.


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