Make Way for Readers!
Growing Independence and Fluency

Brice Jackson


This lesson's goal is to teach and practice fluency in reading.  A child who reads fluently, reads faster, smoother, and with expression.  Fluency helps students accomplish comprehension.  Use repeated reading to focus of fluency.  Review cover-ups and cross-checking for sounding out unfamiliar words.


- Copies of Make Way for Ducklings (one per student)
- Laminated sheets with a sidewalk, a street, an pond, and island on it (an illustrated city scene); one per student
- Laminated ducks (one per student)
- Pencils


1. Today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers.  This means that I can not only read the book, I can make it come alive!  I can read faster.  I can read smoother.  And I can read with expression too.  When you read a story for the first time, you might focus on sounding out unfamiliar words.  So you use cover-ups.  Today we are going to be reading on of my favorite books Make Way for Ducklings.  I read the sentence "That looks like just the right place to·something·ducklings."  I get stuck on this word.  Write, "hatch" on the board.  First Iâm going to find the vowel sound in the middle.  So I cover up both sides to see "a".  This makes the /a/ sound.  Now letâs add the sounds before /a/.  Itâs "h" which makes the /h/ sound.  So now I have "ha."  Letâs add the ending.  "Tch."  That makes the /ch/ sound.  So I put the end on to the rest to make "hatch."  Let's see if that makes sense in the sentence.  Read the sentence again.  Does that make sense to me?  It does.  Good.
2. If I had been reading that whole story, and I got stuck on that word, it would be hard for me to remember what was going on.  That's why today we are going to read the story though once.  But when we are done, we are going to read it again.  And as we read it again, we should read to faster and smoother because we will be more familiar with the story.  Then, we are going to read it a third time, but this time we should be reading not only faster and smoother again, but with expression.

3. So the first time I read the sentence it sound like this.  Read, "That looks like just the right place to hatch ducklings" very slowly singling out different sounds.  That was really choppy.  Iâm going to read it again.  Read it again with more speed and smoothness.  Which one sounded better?  Letâs read it again.  Read it a third time with more speed, smoothness, and expression.  Which one sounds better now?  The more I read it, the better it sounded.

4. Pass out a copy of Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey to each child.  Then pass out laminated sheets of paper with a sidewalk, a street, a pond, and an island on it.  Each child gets one. Then pass out a laminated ducks per child.  Everyone put there duck on the sidewalk.  Now your duck wants to make it to the island to rest.  So as you read, your partner will move your duck closer to the island.  If you read the book all the way through, your partner will move your duck to the side walk.  The next time, if you read faster and smoother, your partner will move the duck to the pond.  The next time through, if you read faster, smother, and with expression, your partner will put your duck on the island to rest.

5. Give a book talk on Make Way for Ducklings.  This is a story about a Mother and Father duck that travel all over to find a good place to raise a family.  They find the perfect spot for her to lay her eggs.  But now she has to lead her ducklings through the city to get back to their home.  Whatâs going to happen to them?  Will they make it?  You are going to have to read it in pairs to find out.

6. Now the children will read the story with partners.  Stress that the only feedback they can give is positive.  (ex. I liked how you sounded out that hard word.)  They can't blast someone who's struggling.  Go around seeing if they are using cover-ups and cross-checking techniques.  Remind the partners individually encourage the reader as they read and re-read.  Walk around as they read. See if their ducks reach the island.

7. Assess their reading by ending the class in a discussion about the book.  Ask comprehension questions that they will know and understand if they have read the book through fluently.

    a. How did the Mother duck and her ducklings make it back to the park?
    b. Who helped Mother duck and the ducklings cross the street?
    c. What did Mother duck do when the car close to her and her ducklings?
    d. Who was waiting for them once they got to the park?
    e. Did all of the ducks make it?


Michelle Strowd:Reading Like Rabbits
Lauren Lewis: Speedy Gonzoloz!

Anna Ludlum: Ready to Read!

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