“Up, Up, and Away With Fluency!”

Growing Independence and Fluency

Lacey Adams

Rational: Fluent reading is the finishing step to becoming a victorious reader.  Fluency is the ability to identify words accurately, rapidly, and automatically, and is read at the speed of speech.  It takes a great deal of time and practice to become a fluent reader.  When fluency is achieved, the reader has the talent to recognize words routinely and understand written text quicker than non-fluent readers.  There are three very significant skills needed to become a fluent reader: the ability to read faster, the ability to read smoother, and the ability to read more emotionally.  Repeated reading and dyad reading are two great ways for students to work on their reading fluency.  Rereading texts allows students to learn to read more words per minute. Working with partners allows students to learn new decoding skills, as well as giving them more practice reading.  The more students read, the more their reading skills will advance. 

Materials: Enough copies of Kite Day at Pine Lake (Educational Insights) for every pair of children in the class, a stop watch, a Speed Record Sheet for each child, a Fluency Literacy Rubric for each child, a Up, Up, and Away Kite speed chart for each student, a Up, Up, and Away Kite marker for each student, chalk, and copies of What Will the Seal Eat? for each student.

Speed Record Sheet

Name:________________           Date:__________

1st time:______

2nd time:______

3rd time:______


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name:____________         Evaluator:____________         Date:___________

I noticed that my partner… (color in the circle)

After 2nd                         After 3rd

O                                    O                          Remembered more words

O                                    O                          Read faster

O                                    O                          Read smoother

O                                    O                          Read with expression

Procedures: 1. Initiate the lesson to the students by saying, “Fluent reading comes with practice. Remember, a wise person once said, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.”  Explain to the students that reading expressively, smoothly, and rapidly is the key to fluent reading.  (Be sure to model and explain the meaning of expressively, smoothly, and rapidly so that your students understand).  For example, say, “When a person reads with expression they put a great amount of feeling and emotion in their voices when they read to make the story more exhilarating.”  Then explain to your students that today they are going to read the same text a number of times so that they can learn how to become fluent readers and as a result their reading will become much more pleasurable and exhilarating.  Remind the students that fluent readers do not always know every word. They either read to the end of the sentence or use a silent “cover-up” method when they are stuck on a word. (Be sure to model to the students if needed).

2. Write these two sentences on the board: It is kite day at Pine Lake. Can you fly a kite? Read the sentence slowly to the students (modeling a poor non-fluent reader).  I-I-t             i-i-s  k-i-i-t-e  d-a-a-y  a-a-t  P-i-i-n-e  L-a-a-k-e.  C-a-a-n  y-o-o-u  f-f-l-y  a-a  k-i-i-t-e? Sound out a few words at a snail’s pace and model the silent “cover-up” method on various words.  Then read the sentence expressively, smoothly, and, and rapidly, “It is kite day at Pine Lake. Can you fly a kite?”  Ask the children if they liked the first time I read the sentence or the second time. (The children should answer, “The first time!”) Praise them for the correct answer, and then explain to them that the second time I read with fluency!

3. Share a book talk with the children about Kite Day at Pine Lake (Have any of you ever flown a kite before?  Great! Well, this is a story about a group of kids that enjoy flying kites at the lake. They have kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Bob is sad because he doesn’t have a kite. I wonder what will happen? Do you think the kids will make Bob a kite? To find out more, we will have to read the rest of the story.). Read the story Kite Day at Pine Lake to the entire class. Provide all the students copies of this book and tell them to follow along so that they can become familiar with any new words that they may see.

4. Split the students into partners. Make sure each partner pair has a copy of the book Kite Day at Pine Lake and a stopwatch. Give every person a Speed Record Sheet and a Fluency Literacy Rubric.

5. Tell the partners that one person will be the “reader” and the other person will be the “recorder.”  After the first person has read, tell them that they will switch roles. The “reader” should start at the beginning of the book and read for only one minute. Be sure the partner “recorder” knows to start the stopwatch when the “reader” begins and announce “stop” when the stopwatch gets to one minute. Then the “reader” will point to the word he or she stopped on and the “recorder” will count the amount of words that the “reader” read within that one minute. The “recorder” will write down the amount of words on the Speed Record Sheet in the first blank. The student can also move the Up, Up, and Away Kite marker closer to the sky to match the number of words they read in one minute. Then the partners will switch roles and repeat the same steps. The reader should try to be accurate and sound out the words he or she does not know. Speed and accuracy are very important factors on the first round.

6. After the partners have each finished the first round, have them start at the beginning and read for one minute repeating the same steps from the first round. Make sure to remind the students to record the number of words read each time. The number of words read in one minute should have increased.  Speed, accuracy, and comprehension are important on the second round.  Also remind the students to fill out the Fluency Literacy Rubric by coloring in the circles on how they thought their partner read on the second reading.

7. Finally, have the students start at the beginning of the book and read for one minute repeating the same steps from the second round. Make sure to remind the students to record the number of words read. The number of words read in one minute should have again, increased.  Remind the “recorder” to notice if their partner is reading with expressiveness, speed, and accuracy. Also remind the students to finish the Fluency Literacy Rubric by coloring in the circles on how they thought their partner read on the third and final reading.

8. After the partners have finished filling out the Speed Record Sheet and coloring in the circles on the Fluency Literacy Rubric for how they thought their partner read, ask them to talk about the results with each other. Model these questions for the students: Did each partner improve on the words a minute they read?  Did each partner remember more words, read faster, read more smoothly, and read with more expression each new round that they read? Point out what rereading can do.  Explain to them that rereading makes you a faster reader, it helps you read more expressively, and it helps you read more accurately. Also explain to the students that comprehension is the goal to reading.  The more you read the more fluent you will become.

9. Assess the students by having them individually come up to the teacher’s desk and read the book Kite Day at Pine Lake for one minute. Record each student’s time and chart his or her time on a graph.  As you test each student have the other students finish reading Kite Day at Pine Lake, and then start reading What Will the Seal Eat?  The class will partner up tomorrow and reread What Will the Seal Eat?  for fluency improvement.


http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html (web page entitled “Developing Reading Fluency”)

Shaunita Strozier. Faster, Faster, We Need a Master. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/chall/stroziergf.html

Click here to return to Guidelines.