Hurry, Hurry!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Ashley Jacobs



Fluent reading is reading where words are recognized easily and automatically.  Readers must develop fluent reading in order to become faster, smoother, and more expressive readers.  Fluent reading is extremely important in a child's overall reading development and success.  Fluency can be developed by reading and reading decodable words in connected text.  When students first read the book, they should decode unknown words rather than guess from context.  Students should then reread until they do not struggle over any words.  Decodable text should be used so that the students can decode and thus learn sight words.  Connected text should be used so that the students are more interested in the story.  To help with fluency skills, repeated readings of decodable words in a connected text will be used in this lesson.



In the Big Top (Educational Insights 1990)-copy for each student; white board; white board marker; pencils; stop watches for each pair of students; Speed Reading Record for each student; Partner Check Sheet for each student


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:

As I listened to my partner read, he/she:

                                                                              After 2nd          After 3rd

                        1. Remembered more words         _______          _______

                        2. Read faster                                _______          _______

                        3. Read smoother                          _______          _______

                        4. Read with expression                _______          _______



1)     "Today we are going to practice reading as fast as we can.  But while we are trying to read fast, we also have to try and read the words correctly.  If we learn to read words faster, we will be able to understand what is happening in the story easier.  In order to learn how to read faster, we will read the same sentence or book over and over again and try to get faster each time we read it."

2)      "Before we go on, let's remember what we should do when we come to a word that we do not know."  Write the word smash on the white board while saying the following: "If this word was in the book that I was reading, but I didn't know this word, I would find the vowel and then cover up the other letters with my fingers.  I would say /a/, like a baby crying, /a/.  I would then uncover the first letter and say /s/ /s/.  Then I would uncover the second letter and put it with the first letter /s//m/.  Then I would add it with the a /s//m//a/.  Blended together that says /sma/.  Finally I would uncover the last part and say /sma//sh/.  That word is smash."

3)     Write the following sentence on the board: Ben and Ted yell for Dad.  "I'm going to read this sentence that is written on the board and I want you to pay attention to how I read it."  Read the sentence very slowly and without fluency.  "BBBeen and Teeed yyyeeelll for Daaad.  Did you notice how I read it really slow and how it was hard to understand what was happening in the sentence because I read it so slow?  Well now I'm going to try reading it again."  Read the sentence with fluency.  "Ben and Ted yell for Dad.  Wow, was it a lot easier to understand the sentence that time?  It was, that's why we should practice rereading sentences so that we can make it sound better every time we read it.  It sounded better the second time because I had already figured out what all the words were when I read it the first time.  This let me read it faster the second time."

4)     "Now I'm going to give each of you a copy of the book In the Big Top.  In this book there is Roz, Tod, Rob, Tom, Pop, and Mom who are all sitting.  Then Tod gets up and gets in the car, which can also be called a hot rod.  Roz then takes her mop and doll and gets in the car.  Rob then takes his pot and gets in the car.  The car is getting pretty full, but what is Tom, Pop, and Mom going to do?  To find out, you have to read In the Big Top.  I want everyone to read this book to yourselves right now."

5)     Next, the students will break up into partners and I will give each group a stopwatch and each child a Partner Check Sheet and Speed Reading Record.  Each child will read the book three times.  The listener will time each reading and will record the times of each reading on the Speed Reading Record. I will also explain to the students that each time they read the book, they should try and remember more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression.  The listener will fill out the Partner Check Sheet after the second and third readings. 

6)     Assessment: I will do one minute reads with each child individually to check for fluency and accuracy.  I will also evaluate their Speed Reading Record and Partner Check Sheet that were completed by their partner. 


Cushman, S. (1999). In the Big Top. Educational Insights.

Marsden, Brigette. (2007). Hurry, Off We Go!. A growing independence and fluency design. Auburn University Reading Genie Website: retrieved November 4,    

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency. Auburn University Reading Genie   Website: retrieved November 4, 2007.

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