Zot, Zap, Read!

 Growing Independence and Fluency

Emily Shumock

wizard hat 




For a student to become a fluent reader, one must read and reread decodable words in connected text. Rereading helps student’s who struggle with word recognition, improves comprehension by overcoming the decoding barrier, and improves fluency.  Fluency refers to a reader’s ability to read words automatically and accurately.  In this lesson, students will learn how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively in order to gain fluency.  Students will gain fluency through repeated readings, timed readings, and one-minute reads.  It has been proven that the more students read the more their reading skills will improve. 



          Copies of Doc in the Fog for every student

          Teacher copy of Doc in the Fog

“Wizard hat” progress chart (piece of paper for each student with a wizard hat on the table, three wizard hats floating in the air, and the final wizard hat on the wizard.  Leave the wizard hats blank, so the students can write the number of words read in the hat and see their progress.)

          Stopwatch for each pair of students

          Dry Erase board and marker

          Sticky notes for each student


1.  Explain the purpose of the fluency lesson to the students.  “Today we are going to talk about reading fluency.  In order to be a successful reader, you must be able to read fluently.  Fluency means to read a sentence correctly without stopping to sound out each word.  A fluent reader also reads with expression and recognizes words almost automatically.  One way we can work on our reading fluency is reading a book more than one time.  Each time you read a book, you read it faster because you are able to recognize the words.  Today we are going to reread a text several times, so we can improve our fluency.”


2.  Model how to read with fluency for the students.  Write on the dry erase board the following sentence: The ball fell in the cup.  “First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency.  The bbbaaaalllll fffeeellll in the ccccuuuuppp.  Now I am going to read the sentence as a fluent reader would read.  The ball fell in the cup.  Can you hear the difference between reading with fluency and reading without fluency?  Listen as I read the sentence once again.  The ball fell in the cup.  This time I read the sentence faster because it was not the first time I had read these words.  The first two times I read the sentence gave me practice and helped me read the sentence fluently the third time.”


3.  Remind the students to cross check if they do not automatically recognize a word during their reading.  “Do not forget that cross checking is an important tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read.  Use a cover-up if you do not automatically recognize a word to cover-up part of the word to make it easier to sound out.  Once you have determined the pronunciation of the word, go back and reread the sentence to see if the word makes sense in the sentence.  If the word does not make sense in the sentence, you can change your guess to a word that fits the sentence.  If you and your partner cannot figure out how to pronounce a word correctly, come ask me and I will help you figure it out.” Now, we are going to use the book Doc in the Fog to practice improving our fluency.  “Doc in the fog is about a wizard who uses his powers to change things.  One thing Doc changes is a dog in to a pot, what do you think will happen to the pot?  We will have to read and find out what happens!”   Model reading Doc in the Fog aloud as a fluent reader for the students. 


4.  “Now that you have heard me read the book as a fluent reader, you are going to practice reading fluently with a partner.”  Divide the students up into groups of two and give each student a copy of the book and each pair a stopwatch.  One student will be the reader and the other student will be the timer.  Then, the two students will switch jobs.  “When it is your turn to read, I want you to see how many words you can read fast and smoothly in one minute.  Remember: you can not skip any words. Put a sticky note on the pager of where you left off so you know where to stop counting. When you are finished reading, count the number of words that you read in one minute and write that number on your wizard hat progress chart.  I want you to switch with your partner until you have each read the book three times.  You may start reading now.  Don’t forget to start the stopwatch.”


5.  The teacher will walk around the classroom to listen to the students reading and to assist with the progress charts if needed.

6.  To assess the students I will call each student to my desk one by one and have them bring their progress chart they completed with their partner. I will review it with the student, highlighting their areas of improvement.  Then, I will have the child read Doc in the Fog once more and monitor fluency by jotting down whether they read smoothly, quickly, stopped rarely, or less smooth, less quick, or stopped frequently.  Also, while the student is reading I will note the miscues.  Then, at the end I will do a quick check for comprehension of text (See Questions Below.) 

                         1. Who is Doc?

                        2. What does Doc do with his wand?

                        3. What happens to Doc and the green fog?


Lincoln, Katie. Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/lincolngf.html

(1990) Phonics Readers Short Vowels, Doc in the Fog.
Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.

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