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.
- copy of Follow That Bear! by Michael
Catchpool for each student
- stop watch
- time sheet for each
Name:_________________ Your Partner’s
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
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
!" (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.
(2002). Follow That Bear!.
New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Eldredge, J. Lloyd.
Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Prentice-Hall. 1995.
"Express Yourself." Auburn University. 2003. http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/keithgf.html
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