ZOOM Into a Good Book!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rachel Sparkman

Rationale: The primary goal of reading instruction is for students to comprehend the text and read words rapidly and automatically. In order for children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read words in a quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  Rereading text is a means by which students will increase the number of words/minute they are reading, their speed, smoothness, and automaticity. Reading practice among students will result in their increased reading achievement/fluency.



1. Explain to the class what fluency is and how we become fluent, then model becoming fluent. "Today, we're going to practice reading more fluently. To be a fluent reader, you have to be able to read fast and with expression. In order to become a faster and more fluent reader, we have to practice reading something repeatedly. Listen while I read this sentence and show you how to practice so you can become more fluent. 'T-woo, two...b-a-bad... g-guy-s... were ...c-car-carry-ing, carrying... her... m-om, mom...a-way, away.' Now I'll read it again, but this time I'll try to smooth the words together. 'two...bad guys were... c-carrying her mom‰¥Ï away.' Once I can read it pretty smoothly, I have to add expression (read the sentence with expression). Since I practiced this sentence a few times, I have gotten better at reading it fluently." If needed, model with the second example sentence as well.

2. Have the children practice reading, "Help! Hilary! Help" a few times individually, with a goal of becoming faster. Walk around the room and do a formative assessment, giving instruction and feedback as you go.

3. Divide the class into groups of seven or eight. Say, "Now that we can read 'Help! Hilary! Help!' quickly, we are going to practice reading with expression. Each person will have a part in the Reader's Theater. As you read your part when it is your turn, make sure you think about what is happening in the story, and make sure you read it with expression."

4. After the groups have had time to practice the skit, have each group perform it in front of the class. Use this opportunity to assess if each student can read their part quickly, and if they understand the concept of expression and attempt to read using expression (the student may not be able to read it perfectly, since they have only had a little while in which to practice). Repeat fluency practice activities throughout the year.



"Help! Hilary! Help!" by Aaron Shepard, http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE21.html

Tamra Swindall, "Speedy Readers" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/inroads/swindallgf.html

Back to Encounters Index