Sailing Into Fluency

By Ashley Buckelew

Growing Independence & Fluency


Rationale: The goal of this lesson is to help students read with reading fluency and expression.  It is important for students to be fluent readers because it assists in their development of reading comprehension and speed.  This lesson will have students reread a decodable text and will have students partner read.



White board with marker

Copy of A Job for Zack for each student. Phonics Readers (1990).

Timer for each student

Pencil for each student


Reading Time Sheet


Name: __________________          Date: ________________



     After 1st read: _________

     After 2nd read: _________

               After 3rd read: _________


Partner check sheet





After 2nd Reading

After 3rd Reading

Read Faster:



Read Smoother:



Used Expression:



Remembered more words:





1.  Ask the class if anyone knows what fluency means.  Explain that it means to read faster and smoother at the same time.  When we read fluently, we also have expression in our voices.  We want to be good fluent readers because it will help us remember more words and to understand what we are reading.  In order to become fluent readers, we need to practice.


2.  Write the following sentence on the white board: She sailed across the finish line just in time to win the race.   Read the sentence to the class slowly and without expression: "Shhee ssaaiilled aaccrrooss the ffiinniisshh lliinne jjuusstt in ttiimme to wwiinn the rraacce ".  Ask the class if that sounds like an exciting part of a story.  Now read the sentence quickly and with great expression: "She sailed across the finish line just in time to win the race!"  Ask the class what you did differently to make the sentence more exciting. Show the children that you read the words smoother and faster by practicing and rereading the text. Demonstrate how you decoded the words and now you can say them faster because you know what they are. Now, ask the class to practice their speed and expression by reading the sentence just like you did.  Make sure students heard the difference in your change in speed and expression and how the second sentence sounds much better and more exciting. 


3.  Distribute a copy of A Job for Zack to each student.  Give a book talk to get the students interested in the book. Zack is off to run an errand for his mom when he sees a small box fall out of a delivery truck. Zack decides it is his job to make sure the box gets delivered. What is in the box? Did Zack find its owner? You'll have to read fluently to find out!


4.  Pass out a Reading Time Sheet to each student along with a timer.  Explain to each student that they are going to read the book three times.  They need to time themselves with the timer and record the number on the sheet Ready, set read!


5.  Now, pair students up and pass out the Partner Reading Checklist.  Explain to the students that one of them will read the book with fluency, while the other partner listens to them and fills out the checklist.  They need to put a check in the boxes to show that their partner either did or did not remember more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression after the 2nd and 3rd reading.  Ready, set read!


6.  Assessments: While the students are reading during self rereading and during partner reading, the teacher needs to walk around and have each student do a one minute read to test for fluency.  The teacher will also collect and evaluate the Self Reading Checklist and Partner Reading Checklist for progress of the students' reading fluency.




Sims, Matt. A Job for Zack. High Noon Books: CA. 2002

Murray, Dr. Bruce. How to Develop Reading Fluency.

Clark, Amber: Flying with Fluency


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