Up, Up and Away With Fluency
Kathryne Clark
Growing  Independence and Fluency


 In order for children to become expert readers and to actually enjoy reading, they first have to develop fluency in their reading. Being fluent in reading involves reading faster, smoother, and with more expression. One of the first steps in developing fluency is learning to recognize words effortlessly and automatically.  This lesson will help students develop reading fluency through repeated readings and one-minute reads.

Class copy and teacher copy of decodable book:  Pat’s Jam by: Shelia Cushman
- Stopwatch:  one for each partner group
- Class bulleting boards with decorative clouds on it to place each students poster on it to display achievement
Individual posters for class with clouds and numbers graphed on it for each child to place hot air balloons on for tracking fluency progress
- 3 small hot air balloons for each student (different designed paper) with each students name on them

1.“To start off our activity today, we are going to review a strategy we can use when we don’t recognize a word.  If we come to the letters s a c k   but cannot read the word, first we look at the vowel sound. In this word, a  says /a/. Next I go to the beginning sound. s says /sssss/ . If we add the vowel sound we have "sssssaaaaa" “Finally, we look at the last sound. It is ck=/k/. Now put all three sounds together to read "ssssaaaack. Sack! Great job! When we come to words we don't know when we are reading, one way to figure out the word is by using this vowel-first method to figure it out."

2. “When we read, we need to make sure that we read smoothly just as if we are talking so that we can understand what we read. I am going to read a sentence for you with out reading smoothly, or what we call fluently: I-l-o-v-e-m-y-d-o-g-n-a-m-e-d-S-a-m. Do you want me to read a whole book to you like that?  That would be boring and the book would not make sense.  If I read the sentence with fluency, ‘I love my dog named Sam,’ the sentence sounds a lot better because I read it fluently. The first time I read the sentence each word was broken up into each sound I heard in the word, but the second time I read the sentence it improved because I put all the sounds together to make words to read the sentence all together.  Since we all need to read with expression and fluency we all have to keep practicing!  So now everyone will receive a copy of Pat’s Jam.” (Pass out books for each reading group, reading groups previously assigned.)

3. “Each person in your group is going to practice reading 3 times. Our goal is to read 60 words in one minute. We are going to use our hot air balloons to show how we get better every time we read. Ask your partner to time you for 1 minute while you are reading with the stopwatches. Write down the number of words you read after a minute.  Repeat this three times, and after each timed reading, place your hot air balloon next to the number of words you read. If you need help raise your hand and I will come around to help you record your results.”

4. “Everybody did such a great job with this activity, but to make those hot air balloons go Up, Up and Away, you have to practice. I want for everyone to practice as much as you can, because the more you practice, the faster you get, and the more you will be able to read and understand.  You can take the books that I passed out today home and practice your reading with your parents or guardians or do it during DEAR time with a friend. I want for everyone to remember when you are reading what we talked about today, what to do when you get stuck on a word and how to read fluently.”

Students can be assessed for fluency by one minute reads.  The students will use fluency charts to keep up with their progress by moving their hot air balloon on the bulletin board for the highest WPM after 3 one minute reads.  After a book is read 3 or 4 times, a new book will be introduced and one minute reads should be repeated 3 or 4 more times.

Cushman, Shelia. Pat’s Jam. Educational Insights:
Carson, CA, 1990.

Williams, Abby.  “Let’s Read for Speed!”.

Graves, Lindsay.  “Fly Away into Reading

Ebaugh, Jayme.  “Flying into Fluency”

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