Shannon Ashworth
Growing Independence and Fluency

(Fluency Yields Independence)

Rationale: In order for children to read effectively, reading comprehension and reading fluency must be fully developed.  Reading fluency is the ability to read faster, smoother, and with more expression.  In order for children to read fluently, they must have effective decoding strategies that in turn lead to automatic word recognition.  This skill enables children to focus on the meaning of the text and will thus gain better comprehension.  Repeated readings allow children to practice with a familiar text until they read with great fluency and understanding.

Materials: Copies of Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss; fluency check sheets (example under fluency link in references); pencils; classroom clock with second hand

1.) Introduce the lesson by giving a book talk for the Cat in the Hat.  How many of you have been stuck inside on a rainy day.  How did it make you feel?  Well, these children felt the same way UNTIL they met this magical cat.  How do you think their day will change?

2.) Choose an exciting passage from the story.  Instead of reading it with expression, read it in a monotone voice.  Ask the children why they think the book would be boring if you read the entire story that way.  Explain to the students that to be a good reader, you must read quickly but slow enough to be understood and you must read with emotion.  Different passages require us to read them different ways.

3.) (Place students in pairs and give each pair a copy of the book) Model to the children what expressive reading is.  Each student should receive a fluency checklist and a pencil.  (To children) One of you will be the reader and the other will be the timer.  First, the reader will read a passage of his choice out loud for one minute.  Then the reader will read the same passage two more times.  The timer will watch the secondhand on the clock and time each reading.  On the second and third reading, the timer will time the reading and listen to see if the reader remembers more words, reads faster, reads smoother, or reads with more expression.  Letís remember to tell each other what we are doing best.  After the 3rd time reading, youíll switch with your partner and he will choose a favorite passage and do the same thing.

4.) A review of cross-checking and cover-ups may be necessary before the children start reading.  Cross-checking is when we read the sentence again to make sure we are using the correct word (if a word doesnít make sense previously) Cover-ups are what we use when we donít know how to say a word.  Model cover-ups by breaking a word up into its phonemes.

5.) For assessment, I would listen to each child to read a passage from the Cat in the Hat to see if they are reading it with expression.  I would also ask questions to make sure that the child comprehends what he is reading.

6.) For follow-up, I would read the Green Eggs and Ham to the class again modeling the skills we have previously practiced.  I would ask questions that relate to their comprehension of the story.


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