Growing Independence and Fluency

Megan Zickos

Fluency is important for all readers because it leads to comprehension of texts. 
Fluent reading is a student's ability to read words correctly and automatically.  With the help of phonics children can learn to recognize words more rapidly and automatically.  Children can gain fluency by reading and rereading text, one-minute reads, and times reading.  Once students have become fluent readers, they will find that they can read more smoothly and do not have to stop and sound out a lot of words.  This lesson will include repeated reading that will also include times reading to help student become more fluent readers. 


1 race car cut-out for each student
One stopwatch for every two students
Class set of decodable books, Red Gets Fed by
Cushman, Sheila. (Educational Insights)
Picture of a track to keep up with their reading progress.                                                                                  
Race car markers for the students to put on board
Fluency time sheet to mark their scores.                                                                                         
Stickers to mark where they have stopped reading


To begin this lesson, the teacher will explain to the students why it is important to be a fluent reader.  "Class today we are going to work on being fluent readers.  Being a fluent reader, means that you are able to read smoothly and do not have to stop and sound out
            the words.  Being able to read fluently will help us as we understand what the book is about."

Tell the students that they are going to work on becoming a fluent reader by doing repeated readings today.  "Class today we are going to work on reading with fluency while we do repeated reading.  When we do repeated reading, we are going to read for one
            minute.  After the minute is up you will then count how many words you were able to get in one minute.  We will be reading over this same text a few times, and each time we will chart how many words we read in a minute.  We want to make sure that we read
            smoothly and not try to read too fast because if we read too fast we might not remember what we have read."

Give a book talk "The book we will be reading is Red Gets Fed.  Red is a dog.  He looks like he is trying to wake up his owner.  She gives him some food and then he goes to dad.  I wonder what the dad will do.  We will have to read the rest of the text to find out
            what happens to Red, and today you will have a chance to find out."  Model how to reread a passage from the text.  "I am going to read a sentence to you in different ways.  After I am finished I want you to tell me which way sounded the best.  Red is the pet of
            Meg."  Read this sentence through the first time very slowly and with a lot of stops.  Then read the sentence through smoothly and with a lot of expression.  "Reeedd is ttthhee peeeet of Meegg.  Now listen again. Red is the pet of Meg.  Which one sounded more
            clearly to you?"  As the students which way they thought was read more smoothly and which one they could better understand. "When we read today with our partners one will be the timer and the other will read the book.  When the time is up, the timer will place a
            racecar sticker on the word you stopped at and then you will count how many words you read.  The number of words you read will then go on the time sheets that I will pass out."  The children will now be able to start practicing fluent reading.  "After you read for
            your first time, you will move your race car to the first point on the track so that you can remember that you have read one time through.  You will read four times and each time you will write the number of words on your sheet and move your race car around the
            track.  When you are done doing four one minute reads, you will switch and your partners will become the reader and you will become the timer."

Provide each group with the decodable book, Red Gets Fed, a stopwatch, track progress board, and fluency time sheet.  "Now I want all of you to try this with the book you have been given.  Remember that you will be timed for one minute, and you must try to
            read as many words as you can.  Make sure you write in how many words that you read in a minute each time you finish.  Then make sure you move your race car so that it can make it all the way around the track." 

After the first round, have the students reread for one minute starting at the beginning and using the same steps as they did before.  Do not let them forget to record the number of words they read each time and move their race cars.

Allow the student to repeat these steps three times.  The students will stop when they have filled in all of the charts.  When they are finished, each student will talk to their partner to see how they did.

I will call each student up to do a one minute read with me to individually assess reading fluency.  One minute reads are done by having the students read as much as they can in a minute.  The teacher will assess the students on how many words that they read in a minute.  I will also collect the progress charts for each student to assess the words per minute. If we have time after this I will call different students to read to the class so that their peers can hear their reading fluency.


Cushman, Sheila. Red Gets Fed. Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.                            

Adams, Marilyn-Jager. Beginning to Read. IL: Center for the Study of Reading: The Reading Research and Education Center, 1990.

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