Climbing the Mountain of Fluency!


Gaining Fluency

Erin Dyle 


In order for a student to read fluently he or she should be able to read more quickly and smoothly than when they first started to read.  When a child is able to decode words on instinct and without effort, reading becomes a lot more fun for them and to whom they’re reading. The way to accomplish this is for the child to read and reread decodable words in a connected text.  The more children work with a specific and familiar text, the more fluent the text becomes to them.  This lesson will help children learn how to become more skillful fluent readers.


Board with the sentence “Today the kids in my class will jump and play outside.”

Strips of paper with the sentence “The baseball game was fun to attend Saturday.” (enough for everyone in the class).

A cardboard cut out of a mountain and a cut out of a hiker

A stopwatch for every two students

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


  1. Today we will begin by discussing how important it is to be able to read smoothly and quickly. This makes reading exciting and it also helps us to gather the whole meaning of the information that we are reading. I am going to read this sentence through one time, pretending like I am a reader who is just learning to read. Listen and notice how it is hard to listen to me when I read it this way. “To-day-the k-id-s i-n my c-l-a-ss j-u-mmm-p a-n-d pl-ay out-side.” That sounds really slow, doesn’t it? Now listen again and this time, notice how I read it differently. “Today the kids in my class jump and play outside.” What do you notice that is different?  Very good! That I read it quicker and easier! 
  2. Now I am going to let you work with a friend. I am going to give each pair a strip of paper with a sentence on it (The baseball game was fun to attend Saturday.). Read the sentence out loud but quietly to each other. Then read the sentence silently to yourself five times. Once you have read it to yourself five times, you can read it to your partner again. Listen carefully to how your reading improved the second time you read it aloud. What was different? That you read faster…that’s right!  Awesome!
  3. Now we are going to try working with a story. I am going to give each couple a copy of the book that we are reading (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). While one of you reads, the other is going to take the stopwatch I gave you and time you for one minute. You will read as many words as you can in that one minute. If you come to a word that you don’t know, you can either use the cover up method that we have practiced or read the rest of the sentence to help you figure out the word. We are going to take turns and see just how many words you get in the first minute. Then we will do it again to see if you get any more words the second time through. I bet you will get more words. 
  4. After one minute you will count how many words you have read and then move your hiker up the mountain to the number that you have reached. Mark your progress with a marker, so that you can see how your hiker climbs higher each time you read.

Assessment:  I will assess the students by looking at their progress chart.  They will mark on the track where they began and where they ended and turn it in for me to assess.  We might even have a show down between the two fastest readers if we have time.  This will be good motivation for them.

Viorst, Judith.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Alladin Book, 1987.

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

Cox, Allison.  Reading Genie Website.  Murray, Bruce. 

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