Forever Fluent


Growing Independence and Fluency

Amanda Talley


Rationale:  The goal of this lesson is to help students learn to automatically recognize words they can read faster, more smoothly, and with more expression; in essence, to become fluent. After becoming more fluent readers, students will then be able to focus on reading with expression, making reading more enjoyable for them.



Copies of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch (one for each student)

Sentence on the board: I'll love you forever, I'll like you always.

Stopwatch- At least one for half the class

Cover-up Critters- One per student

Directions for cover up critter: You will need a thin, colored popsicle stick and two googley eyes for each cover-up critter. Turn the Popsicle stick horizontally and glue the eyes on one end.

Basketball Targets- One per student

Directions for graphs: These targets need to have a basketball goal with increments of 5 or 10, depending on how much progress the goal is set to achieve, going from the floor to the rim. They can be made using graph paper so that students can easily identify targets. Each increment will need a small square of Velcro. The player will also need to have Velcro on the back and be easily moved from target to target.

Time Chart for each student



1. Say: "Hello everyone! Today we are going to learn about how to become more fluent readers! To be fluent means to be able to recognize words automatically without having to stop and decode them. When you are able to do this, reading becomes more fun because you are able to understand what you are reading much better!"


2. Say: "To day we are going to use cover up critters to help us read a word we don't know." Write the word check on the board. "If I came to this word in a story and did not know it, I could use my cover up critter to help me figure it out. I would first use the cover up critter and my finger to cover every letter but the vowel, because I want to first figure out what the vowel says. Here, the vowel is e, and I know the e says /e/. Next, I uncover the first two letters ch. Together with the e, I know have /che/. Last, I uncover the final two letters, ck, and add them all together. I know that the word is check. Use the cover up critters at any point during your reading to help you learn new words!


3. Write the following sentence on the board: I'll love you forever, I'll like you always. Say: "Im going to read this sentence out loud as if I were decoding it. Iii-ll lll-ooo-vvv-e yyy-ooo-uuu fff-ooo-rrr-eee-vvv-eee-rrr, Iii-lll lll-iii-kkk-e yyy-ooo-uuu aaa-lll-www-aaa-yyy-sss. Now, I'm going to read the sentence again, but a little faster this time." Last, read the sentence at a normal rate. "Which time sounded the best when I read the sentence? The last, correct!" Explain to the students that the last time sounded much better and was easier to understand because it was being read more fluently. The first reading was slow, choppy, and hard to understand, but the last was fluid and smooth.


4."Now you are all going to have a turn to practice reading fluently! I will pass out to each of you a copy of Love You Forever. I want you to practice whisper reading the book to yourself for a few minutes. This book is about a mother who spends her years taking care of her son. Later, though, the mother is too old to care for him any longer. Will her son return the favor and take care of her? You will have to read to find out!" Pass out a book to each student.


5. Once the students have had enough time to read the story several times say, "Now that you have had time to read the story, I want each of you together with a partner. One of you will be the timer while the other will be the reader. The timer will time the reader for one minute with the stopwatch. At the end of the minute you will count how many words they read until the timer went off. You will then write down how many words the reader read on a time chart. You will do this three times, then switch roles." Pass out a time chart to each student and a stopwatch to each group.


6. While the students are timing each other, walk around and make sure they are assessing each other correctly, following all directions, and staying on task.


7. Once all of the groups are finished, I will take turns calling the students up to my desk to review their reading results help them set reasonable and attainable goals. We will graph their results on using basketball players and goals. After we graph where they are today we will set a goal for where they need to get to by the next time we do the activity.



Assessment: Students will be assessed using their basketball target graphs over an extended period of time. Students should be encouraged to set and achieve fluency goals.



Express to Connect- Krista Doyle 


Munsch, Robert. Love You Forever. Firefly Books. 1986.


Time Chart:

Reading Number

Words per Minute








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