The Perfect Airplane

Hannah Stewart

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale:  Becoming a fluent reader is important because fluency bridges the gap between word recognition and comprehension.  When children are fluent, they read accurately, effortlessly and with expression.  Reading sounds natural and is not choppy when it is fluent.  Fluent readers can focus their attention on what the text means by making connections between the ideas in the text and background knowledge.  Repeated oral reading improves word recognition, speed and accuracy, as well as, fluency.


Materials:  Paper, pencil, computer paper, paper clips, fluency chart "what does fluency sound like?", one minute silent timers for each reading partner, copy of book "The Perfect Airplane" for each student, sentence strips with meaningful phrases (opened the book, looked hard, through the pages, had helped her find, of the directions, she found it, and wanted to win) for each reading partner and overhead.



  1. For the past several weeks, we have been talking about fluent reading and how fluent reading helps us understand and comprehend what we read.  Can anyone tell me some good words that describe how fluent reading sounds?  Teacher will call on children to share words.


  1. I will display the "How a Fluent Reader Sounds" chart on the overhead and write the words on the chart as the students come up with them.  Some of these words consist of: smooth, flowing, effortless, expressive, pleasing to the ear, easy listening and attention to the text.


  1. Children, if we are going to be smooth, fluent readers, we must learn how to group words together in meaningful phrases.  When we read, we must be careful not to chop each word, but group the words together so our reading will flow naturally.  Listen as I read the first sentence in your story, "Elise opened the book that Mrs. Williams, the librarian, had helped her find".  Letās look at the words in the sentence that need to be grouped together.  "Opened the book" and "of the directions" are two examples of words that should be grouped together to help our reading flow more naturally.  I will model how not to read the word phrases, as well as, model the correct way to read the phrases.  For example, "Opened the book " and "of the directions" is how I would begin my modeling activity.  Next,  I will model how to read these phrases with fluency and expression. Then I will ask the children which way sounds more fluent and pleasing to their ears?


  1. Children, I am going to read some word phrases to you.  I want you to echo them back to me.  Teacher reads each phrase and allows time for the children to echo them back.  I have some more word phrases that you will find in the story we will reading in a moment.  Before we read our story, I want you to find a reading partner and practice reading the phrases on the sentence strips with your partner.  I am going to walk around the room and listen to you read them.  I will be listening for smooth, fluent reading.


  1. Before we read our story, I want you to reread the word phrases with me.  Let's choral read each one.  Try to read along with me at the same pace·opened the book, she looked, looked hard, through the pages, of the directions, and helped her find, wanted to win, and she found it.


  1. Now read the story, "The Perfect Airplane" with your partner.  Remember, we are working on our reading fluency.  As you come to our word phrases in the story, let's see how smoothly we can group them together.  As you read the story, see if you can find out why this airplane was so special to Elise.


  1. We are going to reread our story with our partner.  I want you to use the silent one minute timer to time your partner as he/she reads the story.  After one minute, I want you to stop your partner and write on a piece of paper how many words your partner read during that minute.  Repeat this process three times with your reading partner to see if you can improve your reading fluency rate.  Now that everyone is finished reading the story, I want you to return to your seats.




  1. I will compare "progress monitoring scores" (words per minute) to previous scores to see if fluency has improved.


  1. Children will be assigned to mixed groups consisting of three to four students.  While looking at Elise's picture of a perfect paper airplane in your text, I want you to work together to make your own perfect airplane using the computer paper and paper clips I have placed on your desks.  Each group will have five minutes to make their perfect paper airplane.  Now that all of you have finished your paper airplane, let's go outside to see which airplane can travel the farthest.



Armbruster, Bonnie and Jean Osborn (2001).  Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read.  C. Ralph Adler, RMC Research Corporation.


Foresman, Scott (2000).  My Time to Shine.  Eddison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc.

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