Over the Hill and Through the Woods to Fluency we go!


Fluency Literacy

Kendra White

 Rationale: Fluency is the ability to read and reread decodable books in connected texts. In other words, students should decode unknown words rather than guessing from context, reread material to master texts, use text with words children can decode using known correspondences, and use whole, engaging texts to sustain interest. Being fluent in reading allows the students to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers and enjoy reading because it is automatic and effortless. The goal for this lesson is to provide students with rereading and speed reading practice which is part of fluency. This lesson will help students understand reading with speed and fluency by providing them with the opportunity to assess and record their reading progress and then have a partner record their readings.

Copy of Up the Hill for each student

A stopwatch/ timer

One minute read chart for each student

Fluency progress board with a hill and trees to map children’s progress

Big chart to record each student’s scores


1. “Good Morning Class! Today we are going to practice speed reading. You will practice how to read fast, like you are running down a hill, and smoothly, like a driving on a paved road.” Does anyone know why it is important for us to read fast and smoothly? Allow wait time. “We want to read fast and smoothly so we can focus on understanding what we are reading.  If we read too slowly, it is like a car that cannot get up the hill, sometimes we forget what we read or cannot focus on what it is we are reading. Reading is more fun when it is done fast, like a sports car flying down a hill.”

 2.  ‘‘Let us start by practicing reading a sentence.’’ The sentence, We are going on a trip to hike in the woods up the hill, is written on the board. ‘‘I am going to read the sentence aloud slowly, and I want you to listen carefully how I do this. Then I will read it again a little faster than before so you can hear how to smooth the words together. Again, I will read the sentence one more time to show even more smoothness. Listen to me (read slowly and spread out the pronunciations) “ Wwweee aaarrrreee gooooinnngg onn a tttrrrriipp tto hhhiiikke iin ttthhe wwwooooddds uppp the hhhiill.’’ Now I am going to read the sentence again, this time blending the letters smoothly and reading faster this time. One more time, even faster and smoother. “Which way was easier to comprehend”?  It was easier when I read it faster wasn’t it. When we read the same thing several times, it improves our fluency, and makes us better readers!  You can focus on the meaning of the sentence rather than the individual letters and words.’’

3.  “Now you try! I want all of you to get a copy of the book Up the Hill by Matt Sims. This book is about “a girl named Kim who meets her friend Jan to go for a jog.  It is very hot out their when the sun is out. Although it was hot outside they decided to still go for a jog. Kim decided to run with her backpack on which had a can of soda in it. They spot a log up the hill and Kim suggests that she could beat Jan in a race to the log. Jan responds by stating “I bet I can win if we raced to the log”. They decide to race and Kim says “1, 2, 3, get set, go” Who do you think will win the race? You will have to read more to find out who wins.”  Now I want you to spread out and practice reading this book on your own. When I switch I want you to start over from the beginning of the story. I want you to notice how after practicing you will see how much faster and smoother your reading gets with some practice. You will also see if you can read farther than you did the first time. Ready begin” Set a timer that gives the students five minutes to read and then say switch. Have students record their results on the hill chart. Do this 3 times.

4.  “Now I want you to come back to your seat. ‘‘Now that everyone is back sitting so nicely in the circle, I am going to pair you up with a partner. Each set of partners will get a one minute read chart and a pencil. The pair will go sit together away from other partners. One partner will record while the other reads. When I say go, the reader will begin reading the book you practiced and read as much as you can until I say one minute is up (stop). At that time, the recorder will count up the words the partner read sand write that number down. Then you will switch and the other person will read.’’

5.  ‘‘Now that you both have read, come back to the circle, and we will record everyone’s scores. Let us start with John and Jane. How many words did John read in one minute? What about Jane? (Record scores on big chart). Thank you. Next set of partners?’’


6.  ’’Great Job, Now you can all see your progress as we do repeated readings! We will do this once a week with a new book and record your time as well.  You will be so surprised to see how much better you are getting at reading fast and smoothly. Great job today!’’



Teachers can look at the students individual progress boards and the one minute read sheets to assess the students’ progress using repeated readings.  The teacher can easily track all of the students’ achievement using the big chart.


Penny, Jessica. “Mountain climbers read fast” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/solutions/pennygf.htm

Moulton, Catherine Anne. “ Climbing up fluency Mountain” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/caravans/moultongf.htm

Up the Hill , Matt Sims. High Neon Books,1999.


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One Minute Read Chart

Name: ______________________ Date:__________

1st minute: ______

2nd minute: ______

3rd minute: ______