Riding the Train of Smooth Reading


Andi Stafford

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale: It is important for readers to learn to read automatically. This lesson will help readers to become more fluent with their reading by teaching how to read a text faster and smoother. As a result of fluency being honed, and increased, students are able to begin reading silently and twice as fast. In this lesson, we will work on gaining fluency through repeated reading, timed reading, and one-minute reads. All of these activities provide practice to help increase fluency.


Sentence strip with "The train trip was fun."

Class set of The Train Trip by Geri Murray


Class set of Speedy Reading Sheets

Laminated copy of train with numbers and Velcro at each number for each pair of students

Laminated train with Velcro on the back, one for each student


1. First, explain what fluency is and what we are going to do today. Say: Today we are going to discuss something call fluency. Can anyone tell me what being a fluent reader means? Awesome! It means reading easily with expression and with good speed! To become a fluent reader, though, you have to practice.

Say: Let's look at the difference between a fluent reader and a non-fluent reader. I am going to read this sentence on the board, first with fluency.

Say: Th-e t-r-ai-n t-r-i-p w-a-s f-u-n. How did that sound? Was that hard to understand? That's because I did not read it fast and smooth. Let me try that again. This time I will read it with fluency! The train trip was fun. Was that better? Reading is easier to understand when it is fast and smooth. Now you see how important being a fluent reader is! Reading fluently can be hard but that is why we have to practice. Whenever you get to a word you do not know, you can cross check to figure out the tricky word. Use your cover up critter to figure out those tough words. Ok, let's try this again but this time I want the whole class to say it with me. First, we are going to read like a non-fluent reader and then as a fluent reader. Th-e t-r-ai-n t-r-i-p w-a-s f-u-n. Was that easy to say? No? Why not? Ok, now let's read it like a fluent reader. The train trip was fun. Was that better? Why? Awesome! Y'all are doing great!

2. Pass out class set of The Train Trip by Geri Murray. Say: Now it's your turn. Book talk: Nate is coming on the train to play with Tim. But he has a surprise for Tim's sister, Jan. TO find out what it is read to the end of the book.

Say: When you get your book read it yourself a couple of times because in a few minutes we are going to pair up with a friend and time your reading. Students will read to themselves.

3. After a few minutes, tell the students to find a partner. I will explain to them that one of them will be the "reader" and the other will be the "recorder." Once the first one has read, they will switch jobs. I will explain that I am going to be the timer and will stop the reader when time is up. When time has run out, the reader will put their finger on the last word they read. The recorder will count how many words the reader read and write it on the "Speedy Reading Sheet." The recorder will also move the train up the tracks as the number the reader reads in one minute increases. Then they will switch roles.

4. Allow students to repeat this three times to get an average of the results.

5. Once the class has finished the one-minute reads, I will read The Train Trip by Geri Murray to the students so they will know how it ends and what fluent reading of a book sounds like. We will discuss it and then talk about how listening to it read fluently makes it more enjoyable to listen to and easier to understand.

Assessment: I will average the students' one-minute reads.


Gluckman, Amanda. Where the Wild Things Are--Reading Fluently!                   


Murray, Geri. The Train Trip.                                                                                                                                                  


Schupp, Elise. Worming Our Way Through Speedy Reading.



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