Catch Me If You Can!!!

Growing Independence and Fluency
By Milissa King

    In order for children to understand what they are reading, they must learn to read with fluency.  Through repeated readings, children will gain practice and their reading will become faster.  The more fluent children become at reading, the less time they will spend decoding words and the more time they will spend comprehending the text.  The purpose of this lesson is for children to become faster, more fluent and comprehending readers through repeated readings.



One stopwatch, set at 1 min. countdown, per group of 2 students plus one for teacher.

Book:  Brown, J.  (2003)  Stanley and the Magic Lamp.  HarperTrophy.  New York.  (one for teacher)

Speedy pilot progress charts (one for each student) to chart progress using 1 minute readings – These will have Velcro airplane cut outs to chart student's progress through repeated readings. (# of stopwatches will depend on # of students in class)

Class set of Decodable Texts – Jane and Babe, Phonics Readers:  Long Vowels (One per student)

3 Sticky notes with "1st," "2nd," and "3rd" written on them for each child

Class set of repeated reading checklists – As I listened, my partner:  1. Remembered more words, 2. Read faster, 3. Read Smoother,   4. Read with expression.  (One per student)

Any text for teacher to model – I chose Stanley and the Magic Lamp by Jeff Brown

Teacher check lists for each student's assessment (Running Record, speed check list, smoothness and accuracy)

Decodable text library

Pencils (one for each student)


1.         Begin the lesson by telling children what fluency is and why it is important.  Tell them that fluency can be gained by rereading.  Explain that when we become more fluent, we are better able to comprehend the text.  "Today I would like to talk with you about how important it is for us to learn to read faster.  Does anyone know why it is important for us to learn to read fast?  It helps us to be able to better understand what the words are telling us.  We can learn to read faster by rereading a book that we have already read."  "Who knows what it means when I say "reread?"  That's right.  It means to read it again.  When we read a book for the first time, we may see words that we have never seen before and sometimes it might take us a minute to figure out how to pronounce those words.  But, when we read that same book again, we will recognize those words that gave us trouble the first time and it will take us less time to read."

 2.           Model first reading versus second reading of a text using any passage from Stanley and the Magic Lamp by Jeff Brown.  "I would like for you to listen to me read a couple of sentences from this book that I have never read before.  The book is called Stanley and the Magic Lamp and it is written by Jeff Brown (read any passage, three or four sentences – noting each phoneme of various words as you read).  Did you notice how I knew some words and got stuck on some words?  This happens a lot when we read, but the more we read the same words, the better we become at recognizing them.  Now listen as I read it again for a second time."  Read the same passage again, this time not getting stuck on as many words, maybe one or two.  "Did you hear a difference in the two readings?  Which reading sounded better, the first or the second?   Which reading was faster, the first or the second?  Which reading was easier to understand?  I could understand the second passage better because I did not have to focus on figuring out how to say the words.  I did that the first time I read and the second time could focus on what the story was trying to tell me.  Does anyone have any questions?  …"

 3.       "Alright, I think we are ready to practice reading and rereading."  Pass out decodable texts – Jane and Babe, Phonics Readers:  Long Vowels to each student.  "I would like for each of you to read this book silently.  Does everyone remember what silently means?  So that no one can hear you. Good.  If you have trouble with two or more words on each page, raise your hand and I will come help you find a book that is not so hard.  Remember, if you come to a word and you can not figure it out, use our cover-up method.  For example, if you were to come to the word "blush," first, pull down the /u/, u = /u/.  Next, pull down the sh = /sh/.  You now have ush = /ush/.  Finally, pull down /bl/ and add it to /ush/.  You will have the word blush = /blush/.

 4.        "Now that you have read the book one time, I am going to have you get into groups of two and check each other's reading progress then show that progress on a chart.  You will check each other's progress with a checklist.  Read along as I go over it.  (Read checklist to children.)  When you get into your groups, you will take your checklists, pencils and your Jane and Babe books.  As your partner reads, you will listen to see if they remember more words, read faster, read smoother and read with expression.  If they do, you will check the box next to the corresponding question.  For example, When you listened to me read the book for the second time, did you hear me remember more words?  Yes?  So you would check that box under the "2nd" column.  Did you hear me read faster?  Yes?  So you would check that box the "2nd" column.  Did you hear me read smoother?  Yes?  Did you hear me read with expression?  Yes.  So how many boxes would you have checked on my sheet?  Four. That's right.  If you did not read with expression the second time will your box be checked?  No.  And that is O.K.  Not everyone gets it on their second time.  Now, when you finish reading, don't forget about your partner.  They need to practice too, so switch and let them have a turn.


5.           Allow children to practice rereading to their partner using checklists to check progress.  "Now I would like for you to get with your partner.  I am going to give each group a stopwatch set on one minute, 2 Speedy Pilot progress charts (one for each student) and sticky notes with 1st, 2nd and 3rd written on them to indicate the reading times.  Both you and your partner will take turns reading for one minute and being the time keeper. You will do this three times.  When one minute is up for your first reading, you will take the sticky note that says "1st" and place it on the word you were at when the alarm sounded.  Then, you will count how many words you read and place the speedy pilot on the chart next to the number that matches how many words you read.  Then, you will read the book a second and third time.  After reading the second time, you will count the number of words you read and move your pilot that many spaces.  You will repeat this a third time.  When the first person is finished, switch and let your partner read.  If you have questions or need help, raise you hand and I will help.


6.           "When both of you have finished reading Jane and Babe three times, raise your hand and I will be by to tell you what to do next."  Allow children to read and reread any text they wish from the class' decodable library to encourage silent, voluntary practiced reading.


7.          Assessment:  Ask each child to read out loud to you.  Record each child's speed, expression and smoothness and accuracy with checklists (speed checklist (words per minute) = # of words x 60 / # seconds; accuracy with running records).


Adams, M. (1990) Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print.  Department of Education, University of Illinois.

Brown, J.  (2003)  Stanley and the Magic Lamp.  HarperTrophy.  New York.

Crenshaw, Cindi – Flying Through the World of Books:

Stewart, Christi – Ready, Set, Read!:

The Reading Genie – Developing Reading Fluency:


Questions or Comments?  E-mail  Milissa King