Even Little Red Hens Read!!

Growing Independence and Fluency:

Kate DeGuenther


Rationale:  In order to for children to be able to read a sufficient amount of text in a certain amount of time they need to be able to read fluently and skillfully. Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. Fluent readers learn to read fast and smoothly but also with expression.  By gaining fluency, students also gain comprehension skills because they do not have to focus on sounding out the words.  The goal of this lesson is to help students develop reading fluency using timed, repeated reading. 



The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone (enough copies for each student)

Dry Erase Board

Dry Erase Marker

Fluency Sheets (enough for each student)

Stopwatch for each pair of students

Pencil for each student

Progress Chart (could be a hen climbing the ladder to coup)



1. Explain the purpose of the lesson to the students. "Today we are going to talk about improving our fluency in reading.  In order to become a successful reader, you must be able to read fluently.  Fluency is when you are able to read fast without stopping to sound out each word.  You recognize the words automatically and you read them with little or no effort.  Once you become fluent readers, the text will begin to make more sense because you do not have to try so hard to read each word.  One way that we can work on fluency is by reading a text or book more than once.  Each time that you read the book, you get faster because you are becoming more familiar with the text.  Today we are gong to practice fluency by reading a text more than once and we are going to see how much we can improve."


2. Model for the students how to read with fluency.  Write on the dry erase board the following sentence:  The little red hen wants to bake bread.  Tell students, "First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency.  The  llliittle rrred hhennn wwwants to bbbake bbbrrreadd.  Now, I am going to read the sentence as a fluent reader would.  The little red hen wants to bake bread.  Did you hear the difference between reading with fluency and reading without fluency?  Listen as I read the sentence once again.  The little red hen wants to bake bread.  This time, I read the sentence faster because it was not the first time I had read these words.  The first two times I read the sentence gave me practice and helped me read the sentence fluently the third time."


3. "We are going to use the book The Little Red Hen to practice improving our fluency. "The little red hen finds a grain of wheat.  She asks her farm animal friends if they would like to help her plant and harvest her grain.  The animals all refuse and the little red hen takes care of her grain of wheat by herself.  You'll have to read to find out what the little red hen does with her wheat once it grows."  Remind students to cross check if they do not automatically recognize a word during their reading.  "Do not forget that cross checking is a tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read and to read more successfully.  Also, if you do not automatically recognize a word, use your cover-up critter to cover part of the word to make it easier to sound out.  Once you have determined the pronunciation of the word, go back and reread the sentence to see if the word makes sense in the sentence.  If the word does not make sense in the sentence, you can change your guess to a word that fits the sentence.  If you and your partner cannot figure out how to pronounce a word correctly, come ask me and I will help you figure it out."  Model reading The Little Red Hen aloud to the class as a fluent reader for the students. 


4. "Now that you have heard me read the book as a fluent reader, you are going to practice reading fluently with a partner."  Divide the students up into groups of two and give each student a copy of the book and each pair a stopwatch.  One student will be the reader and the other student will be the timer.  Then, the two students will switch jobs.  "When it is your turn to read, I want you to see how many words you can read in one minute smoothly and fast.  When your partner tells you your minute is up, put your finger after the word you last read so you know where to stop counting the words you read.  Then, count the number of words that you read in one minute and write that number on your hen on your "little red hen" progress chart.  After each time your partner reads, I want you to fill out the fluency sheet marking what you noticed about their reading.  I want you to keep switching with your partner until you have each read three times for a minute each.  You can go ahead and begin!"


5. As the students practice fluency with their partners, the teacher will walk around the room observing the students and their reading and assist students if needed.


6.  Once the students have each practiced their fluency three times, the students will be asked to read the entire book all the way through. "Now, you are going to read The Little Red Hen by yourselves.  When you are finished, I am going to ask each of you questions to see if you remember what you read."



To assess the students reading fluency, the teacher will call each student to their desk one at a time.  When the students come, they will bring their book, their progress chart, and their fluency checklist that was filled out by their partner.  The teacher will look over the checklist to be sure they did well with fluency and expression.  If there is doubt, the teacher will have the student read for a minute to demonstrate their fluency in reading.  Once the child has done this, the teacher will then ask basic comprehension questions such as, "What did the hen ask of her farm animal friends?"  "What was one of the little red hen's friends names?"  "What did the little red hen make with her wheat?"



Red is Ready to Read by Sarah Frances Liles



Ready, Set, Read!  by Anna Ludlum



Galdone, Paul.  The Little Red Hen.  Harcourt, 1985. 32 pp.

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