Ready, Set, Read!

Developing Fluency


Mary Kathryn Johnston



Rationale: In order for a child to be a successful reader they must practice reading fluently.  Reading fluently is when children can read words automatically, accurately, and at a steady pace.  Students are spending their time reading for comprehension or understanding of the text instead of decoding individual words.  Before a child can read fluently they must use crosschecking as a way to make sure what they are reading is able to be understood.   Students that use crosschecking to check for understanding are a step closer to reading fluently. 


Materials:  Book: Up the Hill by Matt Sims.  Novato, Ca: High Noon Books, c1999.  (Copies for teacher and students), paper and pencil, and whiteboard. Book: Not too Little too Help.



1.Today we are going to learn a step in reading that can lead us towards expert readers!. We all want to become better readers right? Great! We are going to learn a way so that we can read faster and understand what the story is telling us.  When we read faster we don't spend our time focusing on learning individual words but instead reading what the story is telling us.  This makes reading fun


2.Crosschecking helps students when they are stuck on words or when a sentence did not make sense to them.  Explain to students how they can use crosschecking to make their sentences easier to read and understand.  "I am going to read a sentence and show you how crosschecking can help me while I am reading.  The penny bear loves to wear pajamas. Wait! That doesn't make sense, it might be polar bear.  I am going to reread it with the word I think it might be, The polar bear loves to wear pajamas. That makes a lot more sense because a penny bear is not a type of bear but a polar bear is.


3. "I want you to try and crosscheck the sentence I am about to read.  Raise your hand when you think you know what word should be there instead.  Tim went up the trains to get to his room." Ask them how they can tell it needs a new word and what word it should be. 


4.Now the students are familiar with crosschecking they need to practice examples on their own.  "I am going to write some sentences on the board and I want you to write down what word needs to be taken away and what new word should go in place of it."

·         The boy is made because his pencil broke.                             -made, mad

·         I made my bead this morning after I got out of it.                 -bead, bed

·         The ant on the grade was trying to run.                                  -grade, ground

·         At lunch I split my milk down my shirt.                                 -split, spilt


5.Read a short story to the students and pretend to read slow and miss words.  Write on the board: What a big help, my little friend.  "Wwwwhhhattt a bbbiggg hhhaaalppp, myyy lllliiiitttleee ffffiiinndddd.  Wait that doesn't make sense it can't be find.  I will try again.  Wwhaaat a bbigg hhellpp my lllliiittlle ffffrriennnddd. Oh friend, now I've got it! I'm going to reread the sentence again with the new word.  What a big help, my little friend."   Ask the students which time they thought was read better.  Which sentence was easier to understand?  Explain to them that the more they practice reading fluently and crosschecking the better readers they will be and the easier it will be to understand. 


6.Let the students practice reading alone.  "Let's practice the skills we learn individually.  Remember to crosscheck and try to read fluently so we can all be better readers! We are going to read Up the Hill.  It was six in the morning and Kim was not out of bed yet.  Kim got out of bed and made breakfast.  She got in her car to go meet Jan for a run.  You will have to read to find out if Jan and Kim get to go on a run." Instruct them to read on their own quietly.

7.Assessment: Call the students up individually and have them read a page to you aloud.  Check for fluency, accuracy, and crosschecking.  The teacher should have her book with her to follow along on the page the student is reading from.  It is important for the teacher to keep track of the students progress. 


Up the Hill.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Adams, Marilyn Jager. Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print.


The Reading Genie Website: rdggenie Not too Little Too Help. 


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