Gaining Fluency

Speedy Reading

Becky Short




When children first learn to read, they read slow and choppy.  Much effort and emphasis is placed on decoding.  The reading does not sound like a story or a connected text.  Instead it sounds simply like a string of words.  In conjunction with the child‚s reading is also his/her understanding of the text.  Their reading success is based on decoding new words, but rarely can they explain to you what they just read.  It is important for children to gain fluency in their reading.  This is the first step in future reading comprehension.  When their reading sounds like speech, it will begin to make sense.  A good lesson for fluency involves rereading texts.  In this lesson, the students will practice reading and rereading with a partner.  They will assess each other on fluency and expression.



You will need several copies of the book (each child having their own copy), Kite Day at Pine Lake (Educational Insights).  Each child should have a check-sheet for fluency and expression to evaluate one another.  The teacher will need a one-minute read chart to graph the student‚s progress.  The teacher could use a picture of a monkey climbing a banana tree.  The teacher can encourage the student to read more efficiently by moving the monkey closer to the bananas when the child reads more words each time.



1.      Explain to the students that good readers read fast, and their words are strung into sentences.  Say:  You have all done a great job with your new reading today.  You used the cover-up and crosscheck method to read words you have never seen before. You cover-up parts of the word to make it easier to sound out. Then you blend the parts together to form a whole word.  You also cross-check by reading on and finishing the sentence to see if the word you said makes sense in the sentence. But, good readers read fast and they don‚t spend time using cover-ups.  A good way to become a fluent or fast reader is to reread books you have already read.

2.      Say: I will demonstrate for you how a good reader reads fluently or smoothly.  (Take out the book Kite Day at Pine Lake).  I will read the sentence twice and you tell me which one you like better.  Say this one slowly and deliberately, segmenting each phoneme. „K-i-t-e  D-a-y  A-t  P-i-n-e  L-a-k-eš.  Say this one smoothly. „Kite Day at Pine Lakeš.  Let children raise hand and tell you which one and why.  Say: Yes, the second one sounds much better.  It sounds like I am talking and not reading.  That is how we want our reading to sound∑like talking.  This is what I want you to practice today when you are reading.

3.      Say:  The book we will be reading today is Kite Day at Pine Lake.  Book talk:  It is a beautiful day at Pine Lake.  The wind is blowing and lots of children are at the park flying their kites.  Jeff is flying his big kite.  Fay is flying her colorful kite.  Ike is flying his polka-dot kite.  They are having so much fun!  Even Jan is at the park flying her kite.  Bob decides to go to the park.  When he gets to the park, he sees all the other children flying their kites.  Bob is sad.  He has no kite.  What will he do?

4.      Hand out a copy of the book.  Say: I want you to read this book silently to yourself.  You can read it as many times as you like until I say stop.

5.      After reading discuss the story.  Listen to student‚s comments to assess reading comprehension.

6.      Divide the class into partners.  Let partners take turns reading to one another.  The students listening will fill out a check sheet with these items on it read fast, read slow, read smooth, read choppy, read with expression, read with no expression∑etc.

7.      I will assess students by having them read the passage aloud to me during a one minute read.  I will record each student‚s time and chart it on a graph for him or her to see (monkey and bananas).  I will encourage them to get the monkey to the bananas∑read faster next time.  The other students will be reading the book we will reread tomorrow.



 Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print. Illinois:         

         Center for the Study of Reading. 1990.

 Kite Day at Pine Lake.  Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.

 How To Develop Reading Fluency

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