Itching to Read

Growing Independence and Fluency

Jennifer Pride



In order to reach the goal of reading comprehension, students must first be able to read fluently. Reading fluently means students can read quickly, accurately, and smoothly while also reading with expression.  When students can read fluently, they do not have to focus on each individual letter or word and can focus on the meaning of the story.  To be fluent readers, students must practice reading and rereading decodable words in connected text.  In this lesson, students will become more fluent readers by reading and re-reading text with partners to further their skills.



Sentence Strip with "I am not feeling well"

Sam's Trip to the Doc by Heather Lewis (1 for each group of 2)**

Cover Critters (popsicle stick w/ googly eyes on them)  (1 for each child)

Slam Dunk Graph for fluency (1 for each child) (See Bruce Murray Link)

Fluency checklist (enough for each child) (See Bruce Murray Link)

Stop watch (1 for each group of 2)


**see link below


1. Say, "Sometimes we have to practice things to become better at them.  Can anyone tell me something they practice to become better? (Possible responses:  sports, music, dance..)  Those are all things we must practice to become better because if we did not, our skill level would stay the same.  We also have to practice things at school, like math, to become better at them.  We even need to practice our reading to become more fluent readers.  A fluent reader is one who can read quickly, accurately, and smoothly while also reading with expression.  Once you can read fluently, you do not have to focus on each individual letter or work and can focus on what the story is about.  Today, we are going to read story several times to see how much better your fluency gets with practice!


2. Write the word chimp on the board.  Sometimes, we come to a tricky word that we can not figure out, even after cross checking.  (Remember cross checking is checking to make sure the word make sense).  When this happens we can use a cover up.  When we don't know a word, we use our cover up critter and our finger to cover up everything but that vowel.  So, with this word we will cover everything up but i. We know that i says /i/. Then, we look at the ch.  We know that ch says /ch/.  Now, we have /ch//i/.  Next, we'll look at the m.  M says /m/.  Now we've got /ch/i/m/.  Finally, we'll add the p.  P makes the sound /p/.  And now we have /ch/i/m/p/ chimp.  Our critters can be very helpful!


3. Display sentence strip with the sentence "I am not feeling well."  Sometimes we have trouble reading sentences.  "I ammm not fa . . . no feeling.. wellllll."  There were a few tricky words in there and I had to cross check to know that feeling was feeling and not failing.  Now let's listen again.  "I am not feeling well."  That one sounded better, right?  I was reading it fluently and it was easier to understand because of that.  I also put some expression into my voice!  I can read like this because I've been practicing.  If you practice, you can read fluently, too!


4. Today, we're going to read Sam's Trip to the Doc by Heather Lewis.  One day, Sam wakes up with spots all over him that itch, a lot.  His mom and dad think he is sick and they decide he needs to go to the doc.  Let's see what the doctor tells him and if he can help him get better!


5. When we read our book today, we are going to read it in partners where we can listen to how fluently each other read.  Each student is going to read the book three times.  I am going to give you a checklist where after your partner has read the book two times, you can mark his improvement down on the sheet.  You will do this again after the third time.  Please remember to give positive feedback to you partner!  After we do this, you are going to time your partner.  One person will start reading the book and the other person is going to time him or her for one minute.  As soon as your partner says "stop!" make sure to stop.  Your partner will then count all the words you read and record them on the slam dunk chart.  Then you will switch roles.  You may do this several times, as time permits.


6. As students start to finish, I will call them up to my desk to do one-minute reads with me.  I will chart the number of words they read as well as errors.  I will also go over their charts with them from partner reading to note their progress.




Phillips, Lindsay.  "The Race is On!"


Murray, Bruce. "Developing Reading Fluency"


Lewis, Heather.  Sam's Trip to the Doc.

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