Fast… Fluency!
Meredith Rich

Rationale:  Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly.  The goal of this lesson is to increase fluency with emphasis on reading fast and smooth, not choppy.  We will have the students achieve this goal by reading, re-reading, and assessing them.  We will also review the concept of cross checking. By reviewing this it will enable the students to improve and begin to read accurately.

Material: You need a variety of books for your students to choose from, accelerated reading test (two are provided), a stopwatch, a tape recorder and a tape of the story your students are reading. You will also need the peer checklist and a record minute keeper; both are provided. Your students need a copy of the book and a pencil.


1. First review with your students how important it is to cross check. Cross checking is what you do when you read a sentence and if it doesn't quite make sense you re-read it. You need to re-read the sentence to make sure you have pronounced all the words correctly. It is important that students do this in order to gain full knowledge of the text. For example tell you students, "if you were reading this sentence, The bear was setted on the chair, that would not make much sense. You need to re-read it carefully. The bear was seated on the chair. See I caught the mistake and now it makes sense."

2. Choose a text for your students to read that is on their reading level.  Have the students test the book to see if it is the correct level. They do this by reading one of the pages in the book. If they miss more than two words on the page the book is too hard for them and a new book needs to be chosen. Make sure the book is interesting to the child and a book of their choice. This encourages the students to read if the book appeals to them.

3. When choosing a book for your students I encourage you to supply books with accelerated reading test that accompany the book chosen. I have supplied two great book names, their level, and the accelerated reading test for these books. You may choose to use these or other accelerated reading books.

• The first book I have chosen to use for my lesson is Clifford The Small Red Puppy, it is on a grade level of 2.1. The test is attached to this sheet.
• The next book I have chosen is Miss Nelson is Missing.  It is on a 2.6 grade level and the accelerated reading test is also attached.

I encourage you to supply accelerated reader books for your students to choose from. It helps the student concentrate on comprehending the text and not only on reading the text "fast".

4. After the book is chosen have the students read the book silently. When they feel prepared and have completed the book, have them take the accelerated reading test.

5. Next have your students re-read the text. Only this time have them read the story while listening to someone else read the story on a tape. They should follow along with the person reading the story. Encourage the students to point to each word as it is being read, this will help them follow along and keep up. If the book they have chosen does not come with a tape make one. Record yourself reading the story.  Make sure you tell your students before they begin to notice how the person on the tape is reading the story. Point out that the words flow together as if he or she was talking. You may also want to model how to read and how not to read for your students.  For example, tell them, "Read with energy and make sure your words flow together and are not choppy. For example I would not read the story like this: Brown! bear brown! bear what! do! you see.  Instead the correct way should be: Brown bear! Brown bear! What do you see?  Do you see the difference?

6. Once this is done they should then prepare to read the book for the third time. This time they should read the book to a peer.  The peer should use a checklist like the one attached to this page to help assess their reading. They should take turns reading to one another.  After this is done they should discuss the book. Tell what they liked and what they did not like. They should write a few things they talked about down and turn it in along with the check lists.

7. Finally the child should read the story to you. This will be the forth and last time of the reading. By now the student should know all the words and their speed should have increased. By timing the child it will give you an ideal of their fluency rate. It will also act as your assessment of how fluently they are reading.  The goal should be eighty-five words a minute, plus or minus a few according to the child.  You should keep a record of the students reading level in a minute. Tell the student to read as many words as he or she can. Tell them they only have a minute and should read as fast as they can but they need to be sure to read the words correctly. Then tell them to get ready and GO!!

Note: This should be done over a period of time. You should not have the student do all of this in one day. It will cause the student to get burned out with the book and will discourage reading.  Repeated reading however is very good for your students to do over time. In the "Put Reading First" pamphlet it encourages students reading and re-reading a text a certain number of times to increase fluency.


                                                        National Institute for Literacy at ED Pubs
                                                        PO Box 1398
                                                       Jessup, MD 20794-1398
                                                       Or visit them on-line at
                                                       Printed September 2001.

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Attached Things

Peer Checklist

Name of reader:________________    Your name:____________________

Check the list if the reader did the following:

 __________   Read smoothly.

___________  Read the words fast.

___________  Read most of the words correct.

___________  Read with expression.

___________  Cross checked unknown words.

Miss Nelson is Missing!
By Harry Allard and James Marshall
Accelerated Reading Test

1. The kids in room 207 were always—
a. flunking
b. winning contests
c. misbehaving
d. having pizza parties

2. Miss Nelson told the class to—
a. tell her a joke
b. settle down
c. bring her a surprise
d. make paper airplanes

3. The class refused to—
a. give notes to their parents
b. go out for recess
c. do their lessons
d. learn a song

4. What happened when Miss Nelson did not come back to school?
a. The students left the room.
b. The class sent her a get-well card.
c. The principal scolded the students.
d. The class really acted up.

5. What did the new teacher wear?
a. A red jacket and blue skirt.
b. Bright makeup.
c. An awful pair of silver shoes.
d. An ugly black dress.

6. What did Miss Swamp do after she told the kids her name?
a. She make them stay in for recess.
b. She picked up the spitball and paper airplanes.
c. She read them a story.
d. She rapped the desk with a ruler.

7. What was different about the new teacher?
a. She was young and pretty.
b. She meant business and put them to work.
c. She gave them all bad grades.
d. She helped them learn and joked with them.

8. Detective McSmogg thought Miss Nelson was—
a. rude
b. on vacation
c. missing
d. home sick

9. When Miss Nelson came back—
a. the class had changed
b. she was angry
c. she had red hair
d. the class was sorry to see her

10. At bedtime, what did Miss Nelson say with a smile?
a. “The children will know.”
b. “Where is Viola?”
c. “I’ll never tell.”
d. “Who am I?”

Miss Nelson is Missing
1 c, 2 b, 3 c, 4 d, 5 d, 6 d, 7 b, 8 c, 9 a, 10 c,

Clifford The Small Red Puppy
By Norman Bridwell
Accelerated Reading Test

1. Where did Martha get her dog?
a. from a fancy pet store
b. form her neighbor
c. at an animal hospital
d. at a dog pound

2. The man didn’t want Emily Elizabeth take the runt because he—
a. would get into to much trouble
b. would always be small and sick
c. was cuter than the other puppies
d. was his daughters favorite

3. Daddy didn’t think Clifford would—
a. ever stop growing
b. learn to eat from a dog dish
c. live through the winter
d. be a fun dog

4. Because Clifford had grown so big he had to—
a. play in the city park
b. be taken to a pet store
c. sleep in a garden
d. eat out of the bathtub

5. Where did Emily Elizabeth’s family send Clifford?
a. to the country to live with an uncle
b. back East to stay with Aunt Beth
c. to the zoo he had room to grow
d. to the dog pound until they found a larger house.

Clifford The Small Red Puppy
1 b, 2 b, 3 c, 4 c, 5 a.