"Toad Leaps into Reading"

Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Claire Dugas

Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to teach students to read fluently. The ultimate purpose of reading fluently is to comprehend what you are reading. Students who focus on decoding don't understand what they are reading because they are not focusing on what words mean. To read fluently is to read fast and smoothly with expression. In order to teach this, I will use 1 minute reads. Practice with timed readings will help develop fluent readers.

~ Kitchen timer for teacher
~ Toad On The Road books for each pair of students
~ Fluency check sheets for each student with ''remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression'' check boxes for 2nd and 3rd readings
~ Toad cutouts with glue on the back that you can reposition for each student
~  Sheet of paper with lily pads showing the number of pages read on them (a row of 5 lily pads across with numbers on them 1-5 would be at the top of the page then four more rows with consecutive numbers on the pads would be on the page)
~ Extra books for students to read while waiting for the teacher to assess them

1. ''Today we will start off by learning how to become more fluent readers. Fluency means reading accurately, smoothly, and fast. You will read a book for 1 minute at a time to see how accurate and smooth and fast you can read. Listen as I read the first page in this book two different ways. I want you to tell me when I am finished which one is more understandable.''
2. Read the page first by sounding out each phoneme slowly and stringing them together to make the words. "I l-o-ve t-o dr-i-ve!  I a-m a T-oa-d. H-e-re I c-o-me – T-oa-d
o-n  th-e r-oa-d!" Then for the second one, read it fast and smoothly with expression.
" I love to drive! I am a Toad. Here I come—Toad on the road!" "Which one of the sentences did you understand more clearly? Why? Which kind of reader do you want to be?"
3. "Now we are going to learn how to read fluently.  Get with your partner and I will pass out copies of Toad On The Road, fluency check sheets, lily pad sheets, and frogs.  We are going to read the book to our partners while I time each of you for 1 minute."
4. "Let me show you what to do. I am going to read as smoothly and quickly as I can for 1 minute. Listen to how I make the words sound interesting. This is called reading with expression." (Start the timer and read. Show the students how to use the lily pad sheets and explain how to use the fluency sheets.)
5. "Choose which partner will read first. Start when I say go, and have your partner keep track of how many pages you read during the minute. You will stop when the timer dings. Put your frog on the lily pad according to how many pages you read in the minute. (Demonstrate this.) Repeat this exercise with the same person reading. For the second time try to read the story more smoothly and faster and try to use expression. Be sure to move your frog from lily pad to lily pad as the number of pages you read increases. Have your partner check off the boxes that describe how you read on the fluency sheet after you read the second and third times. After your third time, trade places and repeat the exercise with the other partner reading. I will instruct you as we go along and will also be walking around listening to your reading." (Conduct the exercise.)

Assessment: Have each student individually come up to the teacher and bring their fluency check sheets and lily pad sheets. Those who are slower or whom you observed having difficulty during the exercise, retest with the teacher. Have the other children continue practice reading silently that book or other books from the bookshelf while waiting their turns.

"Faster, faster, faster!" Rachael Williams
"Speed Read" Shelley Bennett
Schade, Susan and Buller, Jon. (1992). Toad On The Road. Random House:
New York.