Book Worms!



Growing independence and fluency

Haley Dykes



The primary goal of reading is being able to read words automatically for comprehension. In order for students to learn to comprehend text, they must first gain fluency.  Fluency takes place when a text is read smoothly, automatically, and with expression. The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn to read more fluently by practicing reading and rereading. Rereading text increases fluency, so students will gain an understanding of what it means to be a fluent reader. 


-         Fluency checklists for each student (checklist will have the categories: read faster, remembered more words, read smoother, and read with expression)

-          Class copies of Arthur's Tooth by Marc Brown

-          Progress chart: everyone has a Velcro worm and they are 'inching' closer and closer to becoming independent readers (displayed at front of classroom to record words read per minute)  

-         Dry erase board and markers

-         Stopwatches

-         Pencils



1.   Explain to the class that fluency is a skill and it means we are able to read faster, smoother, and with expression. 'We are on our way to becoming independent readers. Today, we are going to work on fluency in order to become better readers. By learning this skill, we will be able to become fast readers and read words more easily and accurately. We will do this by reading and rereading books because the more practice you have with reading, the more fluent you become.'

2.  Model reading with fluency. Explain: 'I am going to write a sentence for you on the board but I will read it in different ways and I want you to tell me which sentence sounds better.'

Write on board: The cat ran up a tree. Now read it out to the class "The cat ran up a tree." (Modeling- Read the sentence first slowly, with no expression, and sounding out each word.  Then read the sentence smoothly and fluently with expression). Ask the class, 'Which was easier for you to understand?  Which way is how you want to read?  The second time- that's right, because I read smoothly and with expression!  We will be practicing that today.  Let's practice some sentences together.' Write a sentence on the board.  'Read the first sentence 'I like to play on the beach.'  Ready, ok, now read it again.  Again.  Which time was the smoothest?  The last time right? Do you see why? Right, because you have practiced, and practicing reading helps us become more fluent readers. Now let's try another sentence.' Write on the board 'I like to eat ice cream.' Have students read it twice and ask again why the second time sounds better and explain that it sounds better because fluency involves accuracy and expression.

3.  'Today we will practice fluency by reading Arthur's Tooth.  This is a story about Arthur and his new loose tooth.  Arthur is the only one left in his class that still has all of his baby teeth, which makes him very upset. Will Arthur loose his tooth?  You will have to read the story to find out what happens to Arthur.' 

Explain: 'Now I would like for everyone to practice reading the book on your own.  Remember to use the helpful reading strategies we have learned, like cover-ups and cross-checking.' Next, after a couple of minutes, the children will pair up in reading buddies with one copy of the book.

4.  Pass out fluency checklists and stopwatch to each group.  Explain: 'I am handing out fluency checklists and stopwatches.  Now, I want for one person to be the reader and the other person will be the recorder.  Readers will read as the recorders use stopwatches to set 1 minute time limits.' (Describe the different areas for them to check) 'If your partner reads fast, you will mark this box; if the read with expression, you will mark this one.'  Students will read the story two times and then switch roles. Together they will count the number of words read and record their findings on the progress chart located in the front of the room, which will give them an opportunity to move their worm closer towards the picture of the 'big powerful book of knowledge' in order to become 'book worms', aka expert readers. When they reach the book on the chart and independent reading level, they will get a lovely and special bookmark!

5.  Assessment:  Call students up individually to read the book aloud.  Teacher will complete the fluency checklist for each student.  Weekly, students should be checked for progress.

6.  References:

Reading Genie Website:

'Ready, Set, READ!' by Ann Ludlum

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