Let's Sail Far, Far Away


Cortney Winton
Growing Independence and Fluency



 Fluency is defined as being "capable of moving with ease and grace, effortlessly smooth and rapid." When a student can read with fluency, everything else falls into place and they are able to read much more quickly and easily.  When fluency is achieved, the reader has the talent to recognize words routinely and understand written text quicker than non-fluent readers.  This will help them throughout their life in all aspects. There are three very significant skills needed to become a fluent reader: the ability to read faster, the ability to read smoother, and the ability to read more emotionally, or with expression.  Repeated reading and dyad reading are two great ways for students to work on their reading fluency.  Rereading texts allows students to learn to read more words per minute. Working with partners allows students to learn new decoding skills, as well as giving them more practice reading.  The more students read, the more their reading skills will advance. The more their skills advance, the better they can read all the books that they need to read and that they desire to read.




1. To begin the lesson, review a few correspondences.  For this book, review each of the correspondences for /A/ and /U/.  Ask the students to display their knowledge of these sounds by suggesting some words with these correspondences.

2. Next, do a book talk for the book Toad Eats Out.  This book is about a toad, and it is his birthday!   He gets in the car and picks up his friend Bug. They go to their favorite restaurant, but when they get there, something really exciting happens!  We'll have to read the book to find out what it is that happens to them!  

3. Divide the students into pairs and have them buddy read Toad Eats Out together. Use bookmarks for cover-ups as needed.

4. When all of the students are done reading the book, they will reread the first two pages aloud modeling how not to read, (without fluency and with no expression, big pauses between words, etc.)  "It's my bir th d ay!  I can do what I want.  I want to eat in a rest au rant!"

5. Next, the students will reread the same two pages aloud modeling how to read fluently and with expression. "It's my birthday!  I can do what I want.  I want to eat in a restaurant!"

6. Ask the students to tell you what the difference was in the two ways of reading. Give them a chance to communicate all of their comments. Ask them which was more fun to hear? Why? Which helped the story seem exciting? Then, explain to the students the importance of reading with fluency and expression. "It is very important for us to read smoothly and use expression so that we will understand what we are reading and we will enjoy it."

7. Give each pair of students a stopwatch and two "sail into reading fluency" graphs.  Teach the students how to use the stopwatch.  Also, explain to the students how to do one minute reads.  The students should time each other reading the book for one minute.  At the end of the minute, the student should count up the words they read and move the sail boat to indicate how fast the reading was in words per minute.  Also, each student needs to record the time on his/her paper.   Have the students switch and time each other.  Make sure the students do at least three timings.

8. For assessment, collect each of the student's papers and compare their first and last timings to see if their fluency has improved.



Taylor Osborne, Get on the Fluency Boat to SAIL AWAY to Any Book you want. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/innov/osbornegf.html

Laura Estill, Sail into Reading Fluency. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/guides/estillgf.html

Schade, Susan and Buller, Jon.  Toad Eats Out. Random House, 1995.

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