Practicing Fluency With Miss French

Growing Independency and Fluency

 Lindsay Jones


Rationale: Fluency is an important skill to master in reading.  Fluency is when you can read more automatically because you have developed more sight words.  Fluency is also reading quickly, accurately and with expression.  This lesson will teach children that you can become more fluent by reading then re-reading.  Students will complete three one minute reads of the same passage to see how re-reading helps you become familiar with more words. 


Beginning chapter book- Miss French (Enough for at least half the class)

Stopwatch (Enough for half the class)

Class set copies of the following sentences:

            1.  I ride my bike to my friend's house.

            2.  After you finish lunch you can play outside.

            3.  Today I get to go to the mall and a movie.

Chart for each student that can show how they moved up.  I will use ducks (from Miss French story) and a piece of graph paper so students can show progress and also reuse the chart with different books.

A piece of paper for the reader to record how many words were read each time to turn in so you can see progress.

Cover-up critter (Popsicle sticks with googly eyes)

Highlighters (At least three different colors for each set of partners)


1.  Explain what fluency is, children need to know what it is and why it is important.  Say: "Fluency in reading is when you are able to read more accurate and without trying very hard.  It is important because you begin to understand the story when you are able to read it more smoothly."

2.  I will then go over the cover-up technique with the students.  I will remind them how we use our cover-up critter and how it helps us decode words we do not know.  Say: "When we read sometimes we come across words that we do not know right away.  Something we can use to help us figure these words out is to use our cover-up critter." I will show the class the cover-up critter and model how to use it to help decode a word. "Let's see if we can use our cover-up critter to figure out this word." I will write the word shame on the whiteboard.  "Now watch what I do.  I will cover up the sh and the m.  I know that a_e says /A/, so next I will sound out what comes before the vowel, which is sh.  I will say that each sound that these letters make, and then blend them together to get /sha/.  Last, I will look at the end of the word m= /m/ and I will blend /sha/ together with /m/.  So, the word is shame.  This strategy of covering up the letters and starting with the vowel sound will help us figure out tricky words more easily.  Therefore, next time you come across a word that does not look familiar to you, you can use your cover-up critter.  Students will already have cover-up critters made.

3.  Say: "Some ways we can become more fluent is by re-reading to become more familiar with words.  I am going to read this sentence two times and I want you to judge which one sounds the best." Write, I had pizza and pasta for dinner last night, on the whiteboard.  1st time, say: "I hhhh-aaa-ddd, had, ppp-iii-zzzzz-aaa, pizza, and pppp-aaa-sss-tttt-aaa, pasta, for dddd-iiii-nnnnn-eee-rrrr, dinner, llll-aaa-ssss-tttt, last, nnnn-iii-ght, night.  Then ask: Was that easy for me to read?  No it wasn't I need to reread to get better with those words.  2nd time: I h-ad pi-zza and pa-sta for din-ner l-ast n-ight.  Ask: How did that sound?  Right it did sound better, I still had to blend some words but I was able to read smoother because I was familiar with all the words.  Which time was easier to understand?  Right the 2nd time was easier to understand because I read it more fluently.  The first time I read I was not fluent and it was hard to understand because all the words were chopped up but by rereading I was able to read the sentence smoother and it made more sense. 

4.  Say: "Now I am going to give you some sentences.  Get with your partner (pre-assigned) and practice reading them and see how you get better when you reread.  The first two times I want you to whisper read and then the third time you and your partner can read aloud together."  Give students copies of sentences.  Walk around and listen as students read to see if they are reading and to see if they are improving. 

5.  Say: "Did you see how you got better as you read the same thing?  We are going to do a couple of one minute reads using the chapter book Miss French and you will chart your progress so you can see how it helps to reread."

6.  Say: "Now you are going to get with your partner.  One person will be in charge of the stopwatch and the other will be the reader.  The student with the stopwatch will time the reader for one minute.  The reader will whisper read or read silently as many words as they can.  You will mark with a highlighter the last word you read.  You will do this three times.  Use a different color highlighter each time you read.  The students with the stopwatch will count the words from each read and the reader will write them on his sheet and place his duck in the appropriate range.  The students will then switch spots.  After you both go you can finish the book together."  Give a booktalk: Miss French is about Glen Jones and his mean neighbor Miss French.  One day he is feeding the ducks in the stream near scary Miss French's house when he accidentally runs into her.  Glen gets really scared because Miss French then asks Glen to help her up her steps.  Miss French also invites Glen in for some cake and tea.  Do you think Miss French is really mean like Glen thinks or do you think she is different? You will just have to read to find out!

7.  Assessment: After the students have read to each other, have them individually come up to your desk and read two one minute reads.  Ask them questions about what they have just read to see if they are gaining comprehension skills as well.  Ask: 1.) What was Glen doing when he ran into Miss French? 2.) Does Glen want to visit Miss French again in the future? 3.) Instead of leaving Miss French's house right away, what does Glen do?  Make notes for each student on what you noticed they did as they read and if they understood or were just reading.  Also collect their graphs they made to see if improvements were made. 


Alli Smalley. Smooth Sailing.

Sims, Matt. Miss French. High Noon Books; Novato, California. 2001.

Developing Reading Fluency: Reading Genie Website

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