Growing Independence and Fluency
Joy Gettys
I can read fast, smooth, and expressively!


To become fluent readers, children need to learn how to read faster, smoother, and more expressively.  Students will be able to work on their reading fluency through repeated and dyad reading.  By rereading text, students will learn to read more words per minute.  By working with partners, students may learn new decoding skills and will get more practice reading.  The more students read, the more their reading skills will improve.


Enough copies of The Rainbow Fish (Scholastic) for every pair of children in the class, stopwatch, fluency rubric for each child, monkey charts and monkeys for each child

Literacy Rubric

Name__________________________  Evaluator  _______________________________

                                       Circle one:

Expressive Reading-                       Good                Great
Smooth Reading-                            Good                 Great
Faster Reading-                               Good            Great


1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that reading expressively, smoothly, and quickly is the key to fluent reading.  (Explain the meaning of these words to the children so they understand.)  For example, say that to read with expression, once puts a lot of feeling in their voice as they read.  Tell them that reading fluently results in reading that is more enjoyable and that today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers.

2. First, we are going to review some of the vowel sounds we have learned.  Ask them the following questions:  Do you hear the /a/ sound in bat or bus?  Do you hear the /e/ sound in met or cat?  Do you hear the /i/ sound in fish or push?  Do you hear the /o/ sound in fog or food?  Do you hear the /u/ sound in fun or peg?  (Continue with similar questions if a vowel sound needs more review).  Then write words on the board with phonemes that need review.  Have the children read the words to see if they can recognize the sounds made in the word.  Tell the children that knowing vowel sounds will help them read better.

3. Now that we have reviewed our vowel sounds, we are going to practice reading.  First, I will read some passages from a story, The Rainbow Fish, that you all have heard me read before.  Tell me what you think about my reading.  Read first passage and while reading, model how to read fast, yet smooth.  Then model the way that is not fun to read, slow and choppy.  (After each passage, allow the children to discuss the different ways that were read).  Explain to them how the first way is the way that good, fluent readers read and that how this reading can be more fun.

4. Have each child partner with another child (one at a higher reading level than the other).  In their group, they should take turns reading the story (The Rainbow Fish) to each other, practicing the fluent way the teacher modeled.  Give the children time to discuss the story with each other as well.

5. Explain to the children that they are going to read the story again, but this time, they are going to be timed on their reading.  Explain to them how fast fluent readers read and how they should all practice reading at a quicker pace.  Show them the monkey tree chart and tell them the goal they should all try to reach (in this example, the goal is to read 85 words per minute).  Also, show them how the monkey moves up the tree.  Tell them the following:  Now boys and girls, you will each take turns reading to your partner. While one person reads, the other will count how many words are read.  I am going to time you for one minute.  After we read, we will record the results on each monkey chart.

6. For assessment, give each child the reading fluency rubric.  Give each child another assigned partner to read the same story with.  Tell each child that they will listen to their peer read and rate them according to the rubric.  Make sure you explain the rubric to them.  In this case the rubric is the following:  chart that has great and good which can be circled for expressive reading, smooth reading, and for faster reading.  These results can be used to assess the children, and the children can see their own progress.

7. Follow-Up Activity:  Allow students more time to practice reading silently.  Also, have more time for repeated readings (use the monkey chart), so that the children can work towards the desired goal for number of words to be read a minute.

Reference:  Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ:  Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995.  pp. 122-145.

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