As Smooth as Silk
Tara Greene
Growing Idependency and Fluency

Rationale:  The purpose of this lesson is to teach the students about reading fluency, and why it is important to read smoothly.  The purpose of reading is comprehension, and a child cannot fully comprehend a story if it is read in a choppy manner.  This lesson will make students aware of how they are reading at this point, and will also show them exactly how they can become better oral, as well as silent readers.
Materials:  Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andrae (two copies if possible), a small drum, chalk/chalkboard, markers/dry erase board, piece of silk, and a piece of sand paper.
1. First, the teacher should start this fluency lesson by reviewing cross checking.  This review should consist of the teacher reminding the students to make sure what they are reading makes sense, and if not, to correct themselves.  The teacher would say, "Okay, today we are going to learn how to be smooth readers, but one thing a smooth reader always does is cross check to make the reading make sense.  I am going to model how to cross check just in case you have forgotten".  If the students do have questions, make sure to answer them before moving on.
2. "Today we are going to learn the difference between smooth reading, and reading that is choppy, and not so smooth.  You may not think that smooth reading is very important, but I will show you how it makes a good reader even better."  First, the teacher will pass around a piece of silk, or any other smooth fabric.  Allow all students to feel the smoothness of the fabric, and then pass around the sand paper.  This is one way to physically show the difference between smooth and rough.  Allow the students to comment on other things that may be smooth or rough.  Next, to show the different sounds that may be smooth and rough, the teacher should use instruments.  This will get the children excited about the lesson, and engaged in the activity.  While inconsistently beating on the drum, the teacher will say, "This is an example of a sound that is not very smooth or enjoyable."  Softly strum the guitar, making a smooth connected sound and say, "This is an example of smooth sound, which is very nice to listen to."
3. "To show all of you how to read smoothly, I am going to read some of this book, and then you tell me whether or not I am reading smoothly."  The teacher will then introduce the book Giraffes Can't Dance to the class.  This book is good for this lesson because it is about animals dancing, which ties in with the music presented in the beginning of the lesson.  It is also a very cute book that is easy for children to enjoy. The teacher will start out reading the book in a disconnected, unsmooth manner.  This will show the children how enjoyable it is to listen to this kind of reading.  Then model how to read smoothly and with expression.  Get the children engaged in the story so that they see the difference between reading smoothly, and not so smoothly.  After you read the book, say, "Do you see what a difference reading smoothly makes.  To better a good reader, you must practice reading smoothly, so that you, as well as others, can enjoy your reading."
4. As an activity to exercise smooth reading, break the group into two smaller groups (assuming that the large group consists of about eight children).  Give each group a copy of Giraffes Can't Dance.  Instruct each student to read a portion of the book, while the other students give positive feedback.  Give enough time for each student to have practice time.  By the students working in small groups, this gives them an opportunity to read smoothly in front of a small audience.  As a homework activity, the teacher could say, "I want to challenge all of you to sit down with a family member tonight, and show them how you have learned to read smoothly.  Don't forget to let your words flow smoothly and read with expression, so that they enjoy your story".
5. Assessment is also a very important part of this lesson because it shows the teacher how well the students understand the lesson.  To assess each student, the teacher could listen to each child read from a book, while the other students are practicing their smooth reading.  The teacher can compose a checklist to use during assessment.  While assessing, give each child encouragement and, if needed, a few pointers.  So that the children keep getting better at smooth reading, allow a student to bring a book of their choice each week and read it to the class.  This will get the students excited about reading.

 Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae, Orchard Books, 1999.

 "I Can Read Fast, Smooth, and Expressively" by Joy Gettys,
 Reading Genie Website

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