Quick- Follow That Bear!
Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Leslie McGill

Rationale: Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically.  Reading fluency is directly related to reading comprehension.  Compared to non-fluent readers, fluent readers find it easier to comprehend written text simply because they have less difficulty in translating print into language.  Time and practice are essential for becoming a fluent reader.  An excellent way to practice fluency is through rereading text.  In addition, rereading text allows students to read more words per minute.


Time Sheet


Your Name:_________________    Your Partner’s Name:_________________    

First time:__________

Second time:__________

Third time:__________

1.  "Becoming a fluent reader takes lots of practice.  Reading expressively, smoothly, and quickly is the key to fluent reading.  (Explain these terms if necessary.)  You are going to read the same text several times to improve your fluency.  We will time each of your readings to see how well reading speed improves.  In addition, you will find out that other reading skills improve as you reread!  For example, you will read with more feeling and emotion each time.  Remember, you might not always know every word in the text, fluent readers do not always know every word either, but you should always read to the end of the sentence or use a silent cover-up method when you are stuck on a word.  I hope you remember those methods!"  (Review if necessary.)
2.  Write this sentence on the board: Where there’s a bear there are berries…ripe berries, juicy berries, plump berries, squishy berries.  Read the sentence slowly to the students to model a non-fluent reader.  (Model a cover-up method on a few words.) Wheeereee theeree’s a beeear theeere are berriiies...riiipe berriiies, juuuicccy berriiies, pluuump berriiies, squuuiiishy berriiies.  Reread the sentence expressively, smoothly, and quickly to model a fluent reader.  Where there’s a bear there are berries…ripe berries, juicy berries, plump berries, squishy berries.  Ask the students "Did you like the first or second reading better?  Good!  The second time I read with fluency by reading expressively, smoothly, and quickly."
3.  Give the students a book talk about Follow That Bear! : A brown bear and a yellow bee see each other for the first time!  The brown bear thinks that there must be honey when he sees the yellow bee.  The yellow bee thinks that there must be trouble when he sees the brown bear.  The chase begins!  What will happen to the brown bear and the yellow bee?  Will the brown bear and the yellow bee be alone on their chase?!  Pass out the individual copies of Follow That Bear!.  Read Follow That Bear!  to the entire class and tell them to follow along so they can become familiar with all of the words.  
4.  Split the students into pairs.  Each pair should have one copy of Follow That Bear!  and each student should have a copy of the time sheet.  "Write your name on your time sheet as well as the name of your partner.  After you are finished, switch time sheets with your partner so that you have each others time sheets."
5.  "You and your partner will take turns being the reader and the recorder.  Begin by deciding who will be the reader first.  Good!  The reader is to start reading at the beginning of Follow That Bear!  and read for 1 minute.  I will stand at the front of the room with the stopwatch.  When 1 minute is up, I will say STOP !  The reader should point to the word he/she stopped on.  Then, the recorder will count the amount of words the reader read during that 1 minute.  The recorder will then record that amount of words on the time sheet next to first time space.  Are there any questions?  Good.  Are you ready?  GO !"
6.  "The readers will read from the same spot again, start at the beginning.  This time, the recorder will fill in the second time space.  Are you ready?  GO !"
7.  "STOP !  Did the number in the second time space get bigger than the number in the first time space?  Good!  The readers will read from the same spot again, start at the beginning.  This time, the recorder will fill in the third time space.  Are you ready?  GO !"
8.  "STOP !  Did the number in the third time space get bigger than the number in the second time space?  Terrific!  Now it is time for you and your partner to switch roles.  We will do the exact thing over again with the new readers and recorders.  Are you ready?      GO !" (Follow the same steps to enable the new reader to read the same passage three times while being timed and recorded.)
9.  "Talk to your partner about how well you did on your time sheet.  Ask your partner if you read expressively, smoothly, and quickly.  Would anyone like to share his or her good work?  Great!  I am glad to hear that you read faster, more expressively, and more accurately each time!  You sound like a fluent reader!  Remember that comprehension is our main goal and the more you read, the more fluent you will become!"
10.  The students will be assessed by individually coming to the teacher’s desk for a one-minute read of Follow That Bear!.  Each student's time will be recorded and compared to the student's time sheet.  The new time and time sheet will be kept for future comparisons.  The students can finish reading Follow That Bear! silently while waiting to be assessed.


Catchpool, Michael.  (2002).  Follow That Bear!.   New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  (1995).  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Prentice-Hall.  1995.

Keith, Chirsti.  "Express Yourself."  Auburn University.  2003.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/keithgf.html

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