Sailing on to Fluently Reading

Ann Mathews

Growing Independency and Fluency


Rationale:      In order for children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read faster and smoother than when they first started to read.  Reading becomes much more enjoyable for a child when he or she is able to decode words automatically and effortlessly.  This can be accomplished by having the child read and reread decodable words in connected text.  The more the child reads the same text, the more fluent the text becomes to him or her.  The goal of this lesson is to help the children learn how to read faster and more smoothly by providing practice reading and rereading books. 






  1. I will begin by asking, “what does it take to make a sailboat sail?”  Hopefully the students will respond by saying, wind.  I will then say, “today we are going to sail our way to reading fluently. This means that we are going to read fast and smooth, like the wind pushing our sailboat.  If you are wondering how we are going to do this I will tell you.  The first stage in becoming a smooth sailing, fluent readers is by learning how to decode and blend words.  It is important to remember that fluent readers do not always know every word that they are going to read.
  2. “Before we begin our journey to reading fluently, let’s review what happens if we come to a word that we are not familiar with.  Do we just skip it and keep reading like it wasn’t written in the book?  Who can tell what we should do first?  That is right; we should start with the vowel sound.  What is it that we should do next?  Good, we should add the beginning sound to the vowel.  What is the final thing that we should do?  That is right; we should add the end sound to the beginning and vowel sound.  What is another technique that we could use?  We could cross check. You are right!  Another method would be to read the rest of the sentence to see if the word that you think it is makes sense in the sentence.”
  3. “I am now going to read a sentence to you two ways.  Ready? Jim wishes he had a sister.  Now I am going to read the sentence very slowly.  Jiiim wiiishes heee haaad aaa siiister.  Now I am going to read the sentence fast and fluently.  Jim wishes he had a sister.  Which way did you like me reading the sentence?  Slow?  Fast?  I agree I think that it sounds much better when I read the sentence fast and fluently.  Which one would be more likely to sail our boat, reading slow or fast?  You’re right, fast. As we read a sentence several times, we are able to read the sentence faster and therefore more fluently.
  4. “Now, I want you to turn to the person sitting to the left of you that is going to be your partner for the day.  I want you and your partner to read the sentence that I have written on the chalk board as many times as you can until I say STOP.  The sentence is: Matt jumped up and down when Kim came to play.  After you read this a couple of times you should all be fluent readers with
  5. I am now going to do a book talk with the children about Kite Day at Pine Lake.  I will first begin by asking the children “Have any of you ever seen a kite flying in the air?  What does it take for a kite to fly?  Wind, just as it takes wind to make our sailboat sail.  Have any of you ever flown a kite before?  Well, I am going to read you this book, Kite Day at Pine Lake, and I want you to pay attention, because when I am finished you are going to read it too!  In this book, it is kite day at Pine Lake, and everyone has their own kite.  Except for Bob.  That is sad.  What do you think Bob’s friends will do?  Will they share their kite with Bob?  Will they help Bob make his own kite?  Will they just make Bob watch them have fun flying their kites?  What would you do
  6. “Now I want you to get back with the partner that you were with for the previous activity.  Find a place on the floor to read with your partner.  I want everyone to remember to read like the wind, so that our boat can sail.  I want you to read the book two times to your partner and then have your partner read the book two times to you.  When you have finished, you may pick another book from the reading center and read it with your partner, again practicing reading like the wind.  Remember do not get frustrated reading the books.  If there are more than two words on a page that you can not decode then you might need to choose another book.”  I will then allow about 5 to 10 minutes for the children to read to each other. 


Assessment:   I will call the students one by one to come back to my table (the teacher’s desk) and have him or her read for one minute from the book out loud.  I will have a checklist to record their speed, smoothness, and fluency.  The checklist will contain the following information:  How many words the child read in one minute, How many words the child read accurately, What words the child struggled with.  By doing this, I will know the areas that the child is having difficulties with.




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