Flying High in the Reading Sky

Ashley Higginbotham

Goal: Growing Independence and Fluency

Rational:  It is not enough to be able to read; you must be able to comprehend what you are reading in order to enjoy it.  Because comprehension requires so much of a reader's attention, you must decrease the time you spend on decoding.  Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. Fluent readers use less of their time decoding, leaving more time to comprehension.   This lesson will show you how to become a fluent reader so you too can enjoy reading.

Materials:  Book talks on the following books: Come and Have Fun, Rube and the Tube, What Will the Seal Eat? (For modeling), Sammy the Seal. (See references for authors of books)  Also, a variety of other decodable books for them to choose from, a stopwatch, and the sentence, I want to go to Disneyland for my next birthday! written on the board, check-sheets for partner readings: (, and pencils.

Procedures:  1. Today we are going to talk about the correct and incorrect ways to read a book.  First I will read a book called What Will the Seal Eat?  It's about a seal that is hungry but can't seem to find anything that seals eat.  Do you suppose he will eventually find something?  Let's see if he does.”  (Begin reading the first half of the book smoothly and with expression.  Then read the second half slow, choppy and without expression) Ask the children a few questions about what they have learned thus far when you finish reading the first half of the book. (They may say seals don't eat beans, beets, beef, or peas)  Then read the second half of the book and ask the children what they learned during the second reading. (They will have a hard time answering because the reading was so slow, choppy, and without expression that it made it hard to comprehend)  Explain to the students that “in order to comprehend what we read, we must become fluent readers and read with expression.  We can do this by reading and rereading.  For example: I want you to read the sentence on the board slow and without expression.” (Write the sentence I want to go to Disneyland for my next birthday! on the board)  Now read the sentence fast and with expression.  “Which one sounded better?” ( The second one.) “ Good job.  And do you know why the second one sounded better?  Because it was more like speaking to me instead of reading to me.”

2.  “Before starting our reading, I would like for us to review what we do when we get stuck on a word.  First, we take a shot by covering up part of the word to make it easier to sound out.  If this doesn’t work we read to the end of the sentence to see what would make sense.  If you are still having trouble you would change your guess to fit the sentence.  Can someone tell me what we do after we know the correct word?  Read the sentence again.  Right!  Always reread the sentence from the beginning so you can get back into the meaning of the story.  Very good class!  Now let's read.

3.  “Class, before I let you pick out a book to read, I am going to give book talks.  Now I want you to listen carefully to the book talks because you may want to choose one of these books to read.  If you do not find these books to be interesting, you can choose a book from this stack here on the table. (Have the extra decodable books on a table)  Give book talks on Rube the Tube, Come and Have Fun and Sammy the Seal.  A book talk on Rube the Tube would go something like this:  Rube and the Tube is about a man by the name of Duke who sells tubes for the kids to use at the sea.  Rube, Dukes mule, takes a huge tube and runs and hides.  Will Duke find Rube and his tube?  Now, can someone tell me how we go about selecting a book when we have not heard a book talk on it?  Is it by the book's cover?  No! You choose a book by reading a few passages from it or by reading the back of the book where it tells you what it is about.  Also, remember the two finger test when choosing your book.  If, while reading, there are more than two words on a page that you don’t understand, the book will more than likely be too hard for you.  Now I want each of you to choose a book to read.”

4.  “Now that everyone has a book, I want you to find a spot in the room where you will be comfortable.  I want you to read your book three times silently over the next fifteen minutes.  If you finish reading three times before the fifteen minutes are up you may read the book again.  As you read, try to put more and more expression into your readings.  This will enhance your reading fluency.”

Assessment: (1 minute reads) “Now we are going to play a game.  Now that each of you has read your book at least three times, I am going to use a stopwatch to see how fast you can read during one minute.  I want each of you to pick a partner.  Your partner will be responsible for counting the words you read during the one minute and for completing a check sheet after each reading. Remember you can't skip a word.  Practice cover-ups and rereading to understand a word.  Now let's read.”  Start the stopwatch. (Remind them to read fast and with expression)  “Very good boys and girls.  Now let's switch places.  Your partner will read his/her book while you count words and fill out the check sheet.” (Repeat the procedure three times“Now let's see who read the fastest, who read with the most expression, who read the most words, and who remembered more words.” 

References:  TheReadingGenie:                 “Rube and the Tube” by:  Cushman and Kornblum; Educational Insights, 1990.

 “What Will the Seal Eat?”. Carson, CA: Educational Insights, 1990.

“Come and Have Fun.” Hurd, H: Educational Insights, 1990.

“Sammy the Seal” By:  Hoff, S: Educational Insights, 1990.

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