Growing Independence and Fluency: Get the Chicks in the Coop
Ellie Austin

Rationale: Fluency is to be able to read faster, smoother, and more expressively. Today we are going to focus on how to read faster. Through repeated reading, students will be able to read more words per minute. Working in partners, students will read and reread to improve their reading and decoding skills.

Materials: Practice sheet (with sentences like The dog has gotten out of the cage.), pencil, game board, stop watch (one for each group), copies of "Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type" (see references), record sheet.

1. First, explain and enforce the concept of cross-checking. "Crosschecking is when you begin reading a sentence and realize it does not make sense. When this happens you want to go back and reread the sentence to find the word you misspelled." Model for the class what cross-checking is. Read a sentence the wrong way, for example, "I rode the bat to school". Now, class did that make sense? No, it should have read, "I rode the bus to school." When you are reading, always make sure it makes sense. If it does not, go back and reread the sentence to find out which word is not making sense. Then focus on decoding (discussed earlier) it. Tell the students how reading fluently makes reading more fun! Today we are going to work on this.
2. To be a fluent reader we need to work on reading faster and smoother. When we read we do not want to skip any words or read them incorrectly. Our goal is to read as quickly AND correctly as we can. Model for the class reading while decoding slowly versus reading fluently to state the goal of the lesson.
3. Now, everyone get with your partner and I am going to pass out the practice worksheets. Read through the practice sentences, slowly at first then increase your speed. Make sure you read as smoothly as possible. Take turns reading to each other for practice.
4. Read the "Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type" book aloud while the students are following along in their own copy of the book.
5. Review how fluent readers read with speed and that practice makes perfect. Also, go over cover-ups and crosschecking. Now, go back and pick a few of your favorite pages to read from. "I am going to pass out the lesson boards and stop watches. You will take turns reading your favorite passage and your partner timing you. The first time will be for practice then your second and third reading will be timed." Explain the games board of the wolf chasing the chickens and the student has 3 chances to increase their speed to reach the chicken coop (see attached sheet). Let the students keep playing until they reach the coop. The goal of the game is to get the students to be reading 85 (as close as possible) per minute or 42 words per 30 seconds. Make sure they record their times and words on the record sheet.
6. When the students finish the game (reaching the coop) let them just read the book silently till everyone in the class is finished with the game.
7. Assessment: Walk around the classroom observing the groups reading and timing each other, noticing their developing fluency. Use a record sheets (any sheet that you can record their words per time on) to evaluate their fluency improvement and set goals with the students.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
     Prentice Hill., 1995. pp. 122-145.
Dean, Lindsay. Hit a Homerun with Reading Speed. Growing Independence and Fluency
Cronin, Doreen. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type. New York, NY: Scholastic, 2000.
Murray, Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.

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