On your mark, get set, GO!!!!!

Growing Independence and Fluency
Meredith Mosley




Rationale:  Students read slowly when they first begin to read.  They usually experience difficulty, while trying to comprehend the text, if they read slowly. In order to read faster and smoothly, the student must learn to read fluently.  A student will enjoy reading when he/she can decode words automatically and effortlessly.  Fluent readers read faster, smoother, and more expressively.  The procedure that seems to help readers improve their fluency is to read and reread decodable words in connected text.  The more children work with a piece of text, the more fluent the text becomes to them.  This lesson will help children learn how to read faster.  They will work on their reading fluency through repeated readings under time pressure.  By rereading the text, students will learn to master more words per minute.  Students will gain fluency through repeated readings and one-minute reads.


Class set of decodable books, Lee and the Team (one per student or one per pair of   students)



Chalk board/dry erase board and chalk/marker

Progress chart for each child (A race track with a race car that goes around the track.  The track has numbers around it that indicate the number of words read in a minute.  The car will stop at the numbers depending on how many the child read.)

One minute read charts for each child (Speed Record Sheet)

Fluency rubric for each child 

Speed Record Sheet

Name:________________    Date:__________

1st time:____

2nd time:____

3rd time:____


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name:____________         Evaluator:____________         Date:___________

I noticed that my partner… (color in the circle)

After 2nd                         After 3rd

O                                    O                          Remembered more words

O                                    O                          Read faster

O                                    O                          Read smoother

O                                    O                          Read with expression


1) Explain what a beginning reader versus a fluent reader sounds like.  “Ok class today we are going to practice reading fluently.  Who knows what the word fluently means?  Correct, it means fast.  A good reader learns to read fast and automatically.  Listen to the difference between a beginning reader and a fluent reader.  Thhhheee ccaaatt rraaann uupp tthheee ttrreee, or the cat ran up the tree.  Which way sounds like how a fluent reader would read?  Right the second way.  You become a fluent reader by practice.  The familiar you are with a book, the faster you will be able to read it.  This helps you improve your fluency for text you have never seen before as well.  Now that you know all of your sounds and have had a lot of practice reading, we are going to learn how to be a fluent reader.”

 2) Now, I will review cover-ups with them.  "Class, we have talked about what to do when you are reading and come to a word you do not know. Who can tell me the strategy we use?”  “That’s correct, cover- ups.” For example, (write strap on the board) if I saw this word I would cover up everything but the a, like so (cover the str and p). I know that a=/a/. Now look at what comes before the vowel, str=/str/. Blend them together to get /stra/. Now look at the end of the word- p=/p/. Put it all together and you have /strap/.  Whenever you see an unfamiliar word, use the cover up method to try to decode it."

 3) Fluent readers must read fast, but they must also understand what they have read. Crosschecking is a way to make sure what you read makes sense. (Write this sentence on the board: The dog ran across the park.) “If I read this sentence quickly and say 'The dog ran across the park', I would have to use my crosschecking skills to notice that a dog does not run across a pack, so the sentence does not make sense. I would then look back and say 'Oh, the dog ran across the park.”

 4) I will split the students up into groups of two. (If there is an uneven number, I will be a child’s partner). I will pass out the book, Lee and the Team out to each child and then give each child a Speed Record Sheet and a Fluency Literary Rubric.  I will give a book talk about it revealing the climax and problem, but not giving away the resolution. 

 5) I will explain to the students what they will be doing in this lesson.  Each student is going to read to their partner. One is going to be the “reader” and the other will be the “recorder.”  I will explain to the children that after one person reads, they will then switch jobs. They will start at the beginning of the book and read for one minute. I will be in charge of starting the stopwatch and telling the “reader” when to start and stop. When I tell them to stop, the reader will put a post-it-note on the word they were on. The “recorder” will then count the words that the “reader” read and then record them on the speed record sheet. The “reader” will move their race car up to the number on the track that they read. The “recorder” will also fill in the Fluency Literary Rubric by coloring in the circles that describe how the “reader” did.  They will then switch turns and the “reader” becomes the “recorder.”  They will then follow the same steps in their new jobs. 

6) I will have them practice.  After the first round, I will have the students reread for one minute starting at the beginning and using the same steps as they did before. Don’t let them forget to record the number of words they read each time and move their race cars. Remind the “recorder” to be filling in the fluency literary rubric after the second reading.

 7) Allow the student to repeat these steps three times. We will stop when they have filled in all of the charts. When they are finished, each student will talk to their partner to see how they did.

 8) I will take up the Speed Record Sheet and the Fluency Literary Rubric. O will compare the first and last readings. All of the students should have increased each time.  For assessment, I will have each child read a passage to me in the reading center out of Lee and the Team the passage will contain approximately 60 words.  I will assess how fast they read by timing them and recording their time on a checklist.  After they have read the passage once, I will show them their score.  They will then be able to read the passage through two more times and try to improve their reading score.  While assessing each child, the other children can work on their repeated readings toward the goal of 85 words per minute.  The class will also have a discussion about Lee and the Team to make sure they comprehend the text. As a treat, I will read the rest of the book to the class since they more than likely didn’t get to finish it during their minute reads.


Phonics Readers-Short Vowels: Lee and the Team.  Educational Insights.  ©1990.

 Melton, Shealy. Ready to Race.

 Adams, M.J. Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print.  Department of Education, University of Illinois:  1990.

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