Speedy Gonzoloz! Fluent Readers

Growing Independence and Fluency
Lauren Lewis

Rationale: The primary goal of reading instruction is for students to comprehend the text and read words rapidly and automatically.   In order for children to become fluent readers, they must be able to read words in a smooth, fast manner and with expression.  Rereading text is a means by which students will increase the number of words/minute they are reading, their speed, smoothness, and automaticity, and in turn, increase their fluency.  Students will work in groups of three reading, decoding, discussing, and rereading their own books of choice (level appropriate) which will aide in fluency development.  Reading practice among students will result in their increased reading achievement/fluency. *Depending on time and choice of teacher, whole texts can be read, or just a few pages.
Materials: tape players for each group (number depends on the number of groups), 1 tape for each book title (can make own tapes if needed; in this lesson, each group listens to 1 tape), assortment of books ranging in levels, labeled with color coded stickers to determine level (number of copies of each book depends on number of students in group, in this lesson, it would be 3 copies of each book), speed level sheets for each student, chalk, chalkboard, pencils
*An example of a book that could be used by one group in a second or third grade classroom is If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff.  Words should be decodable for the children.  If there isn't time for them to read the whole book, an option could be for the group to read just a few pages÷the teacher might choose to read the whole book to the class first, and then let them read a few pages at a time.
*The lesson can be varied by giving each group a specific book to read that you have chosen for them, and not giving the children the opportunity to choose.
1) Introduce the fluency lesson by explaining what it means to be a fluent reader and the steps they will take while working with their groups this week to help students become more fluent (for this particular lesson, groups are achievement based so that each one in the group is on the same level and all can read the book the group chooses successfully).
"This week boys and girls in our reading groups we will be spending some of the time working on the development of fluency and becoming fluent readers.  I know that fluency sounds like an unusual word to most of you.  The word fluency means that you have the ability to read words fast and automatically.  A fluent reader goes back and rereads text until it doesn't sound choppy.  Instead, it flows nicely.  Cross checking is a tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read and to read more smoothly.  Does everyone remember what we have learned about cross checking?  Yes, it means that you go back and reread a sentence if it doesnât make sense.  Like, she puts the dog on the nose.  That doesn't make sense, so you need to go back, reread the sentence, and then you'll find that, oh, she pats the dog on the nose.  Yes, that makes sense now.  When we read fluently, we understand and enjoy our text much more so than when we are struggling with words or reading by saying one word at a time through the whole text."
2) Explain that each student is to read as fast as they can, not skipping any words or reading them incorrectly÷read as accurately and fast as possible.
"You will each have the opportunity to read a book and practice reading it as fast and smooth as you can.  Let me give you an example of choppy reading that needs some practice (write it on the board): The d-o-dog r-r-un-run-runs in the b-a-a-a-a-ck y-y-a-r-r-r-d.  Now, I will read that same sentence faster, fluently: The dog runs in the backyard.  Can everyone hear the difference?  Wasn't it easier to understand what I was saying when I wasn't sounding out each word so carefully?  Yes, that is what you will all be practicing, helping each other read fluently so that you will enjoy what you are reading and have a better time understanding it, which will also encourage you to read more often."
3) Have students get into groups and practice reading the sentence that you read (on the board) both ways.
Now, I want you to get into your groups and each person in the group needs to read the sentence like I did, so you can practice reading choppy and fluently.
4) After students are in their groups and have read and said the sentences, allow each group to choose a book and tape from the selection that you have displayed in the classroom on their level (books can be coded by colored stickers).  Each person in the group will get a copy of the book and share a tape.  If problems arise, encourage children to work together, if one book is wanted by 2 people, give the 3rd person a chance to choose something else after the fluency lesson etc.  The groups will listen to the recording of the reading and follow along in their books÷recording models again for the children how expression is to be used while reading as well as how the book is supposed to be read.
5) Hand out stopwatches and speed level sheets to each group.  Students take turns reading out loud and timing each person in the group.  Each member is given a sheet with 3 categories: speedy, super speedy, and speedy gonzolaz!  After reading several pages the first time (1 minute time period), each person is checked as speedy, if their reading improves (more pages) during the next timing, check super speedy, and so on.
"Now that every group has a stopwatch, it is time for each person to have the chance to read out loud.  Remember, we are trying to become fluent, which means that you read fast, but accurate at the same time.  One group member does the stopwatch while the other member checks your speed level on the sheet.  Let each person in your group read, time, and check the sheet.  I want you to keep trying 3 times to read fast and accurate, become fluent readers.  Each time your word number improves, you are moved to the next speed level.  Reread your book 3 times in an attempt to reach a new level; everyone will hopefully be able to reach a new speed level by the end of our lesson today!"
6) "When your group is finished, you may talk quietly about your book.  Think of some ideas or notes to share with the class about why you did or did not like your book, what made it interesting, did you learn any new information by reading this book, would you recommend it for everyone else to read, and other information that you might think of."
6) Assessment: Teacher will assess groups and individual students by walking around, observing and listening, as groups are meeting.  Speed level sheets will be collected for teacher to see and use as way of tracking each student and the lesson.  Teacher will also be able to check students' comprehension of book by the way they discuss the book with the class.  If they have read the book thoroughly, they will have good details and information to share and will end up giving a detailed summary of the book.

7) Resources:
    www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/elucid/deangf.html "Hitting a Homerun with Reading Speed" Auburn University
    Adams, M.  (1990).  Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.  Illinois:   Center for the
        Study of Reading.  88-94.

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