Smooth Cat!

Ashley Biggee

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale: To become a successful reader, children must learn to read fluently. To do this, children must read a lot! Children need to perform repeated readings of the same text in order to gain the characteristics of a successful reader. If the children read the same story over and over, they become more confident in the story, they know the text better and they can read with more fluency. They should gain the ability to read fast, smooth, and with expression. When children become fluent readers, they increase their comprehension which is the ultimate goal of reading.

- Chalk
- Chalk board
-stopwatches – one for every two students
-Cat’s Trip by: Sharon Fear – one for every two students
-Time Sheets

Time Sheet


Your Name:

Your Partner’s Name:

First Time:

Second Time:

Third Time:

1. Explain Why: “Today we are going to talk about being a fluent reader. Does anyone know what that means? Well, there are all sorts of things that make a good reader, a fluent reader.”

2. Review: “To review, we will talk a little bit about what makes a good reader. Some of the things that make a good reader are reading fast, smoothly and with expression. I believe you all know what reading fast means. What about reading smoothly? It means that you can read through without getting stumped on a word or things like that. All of the words flow. What about reading with expression? That means you read with the kind of emotions that the characters are having. If the characters are mad, you read like you were mad, things like that. We will also discuss some strategies that can make us a good reader. Can anyone think of a way that they figure out what a word is if they don't know it?" I may have to lead the students, but what I am looking for are things like sounding out a word or reading the rest of a sentence to figure out what the word may be. It would also be wonderful if the students thought about covering up parts of the words and starting with the vowel in the middle, or something like that.

3. Explain How: “Today we are going to practice rereading the same story and some sentences so that we can learn to develop fluency.”

4. Model: Write a practice sentence on the board: (My cat has never been on a trip.) Read the sentence very slow to the children. For example, “Mmyy caat haaas neeever beeenn oonnn aaa tttriiip. Sound them out slowly again and practice the silent cover-up method. Read the sentence again smoothly and using expression. To read this sentence better you could enunciate never. “Which way did you like it better, slow or fast? Why did you like it better?” (Hopefully the children will say it sounds better fast because you can understand it better).

5. Simple Practice: Write another sentence on the board. (My cat wants to go to the beach.) This time, divide the class into partners. Have them practice reading it to each other several times. “Make sure that each time you read it you are reading it more smoothly and with more expression than the time before. Read it three times and then have your partner read it three times. Did you see a difference in the way you read the sentence the first time and the way you read it the third time?”

6. “Does anyone have a pet cat? ... Did your pet cat ever go on a trip with you? The book, Cat’s Trip is about a cat that goes on a trip. Do you think the cat had fun on the trip? To find out we have to read the book.” Whole Texts: First read Cat’s Trip to the students so that they know what the story is about and they are prepared to read the story on their own. Then keep the students in their pairs and give each pair a copy of Cat’s Trip. Then give each student a copy of the timesheet and each pair of students a stopwatch. Have the students read the story three times to each other. This may take a while, but allow the students the time they need. At the end ask them “Did your times improve as you read? Did you begin to read more smoothly as well?”

7. Assessment: I will use the timesheets that the children completed as assessment. In this way I will be able to see that the children completed the activity and hopefully see that they improved along the way. For those who did not improve very much I will work with more often to improve on their fluency.


Fear, Shannon. Cat’s Trip. Modern Curriculum Press, 1996.

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