Growing Independence and Fluency

race cars

The Fast and the Fluent

BeLinda Thornton

A successful reader is a fluent reader and fluency comes with practice.  Repeated readings are good practice, where the reader can set personal goals for improvement, as well as, explore voice inflection.  Fluency is reading with speed, emotion and comprehension.  A good reader reads fast enough to make sense of the text and comprehends the text well enough to add emphasis as needed to enhance the over all experience.  Successful fluent reading really is about the practice.

Post it notes
One stopwatch for every two students
Class set of decodable books, Liz is Six
Fluency time sheets with spaces ranging from 0-95 (make the numbers erasable incase the student needs higher numbers) and a matching marker for each student. (Example: a race track with a race car). ( attached)

1. Begin the lesson by explaining what it means to be a fluent reader and why it is important to be a fluent reader.  “Boys and girls today we are going to work on a special skill for reading.  We are going to work on being fluent readers.  Fluent readers read smoothly with speed and voice emphasis.  This means that we have to make our voices tell the listeners when the words are spoken loud or soft or exciting or sad.  When you are a fluent reader you understand what you are reading without having to think hard about it.  It will be just like me talking to you now.  You understand what I am saying as I say it.  Becoming a fluent reader means reading is as good as someone telling it to you.”

2.  Tell the students that they are going to work on becoming a fluent reader by doing repeated readings today.  “Boys and girls today we are going to do something called repeated reading.  This is when we read a portion of a book for a minute.  After the minute is up you can count how many words you read in that minute.  We will do this a few times, but each time we do it we will read for a minute.  It is important that you remember what you read too, speed is important but I want you to also understand what you are reading.”


3.  Model how to reread a passage from the text.  “I am going to read this passages several times until I read it fluently.  You listen to me and see if you notice my reading improving.  After I am finished I want you to tell me which way sounded the best to you.  Liz is Six is an appropriate length book.  During the first reading, read the sentence like a beginning reader, choppy and slow emphasizing each phoneme.  Then read the sentence smoothly and with expression.  Could you tell how my reading improved the second time I read the passage?”  Then the children will practice becoming more fluent readers.

4.  Provide each group with the decodable book, Liz is Six, a stopwatch, progress board, and fluency time sheet.  “Now let’s try this with a book!  Just to remind you, as you read the book your partner is going to time you for one minute.  Read as many words as you can during that minute.  If you come to a word that you do not know, try sounding it out and then read the rest of the sentence.  If you still cannot figure the word out, ask your partner for help.  After the minute, you will place a post it notes where you stopped.  Then you will count all the words that you read.  Write that number in the first space of your fluency time sheet and move your race car up to the number on the track that they read.  Then swap places with your partner and the reader becomes the recorder.  They will then follow the same steps in their new jobs. 

5.  After the first round, have the students reread for one minute starting at the beginning and using the same steps as they did before.  Do not let them forget to record the number of words they read each time and move their race cars.

6.  Allow the student to repeat these steps three times.  We will stop when they have filled in all of the charts.  When they are finished, each student will talk to their partner to see how they did.

7. Assessment: I will call each student up to do a one minute read with me to individually assess reading fluency.  I will also collect the progress charts for each student to assess the words per minute.


Phonics Readers Short Vowels: Liz Is Six. (1990). Carson, CA (USA), St Albans,
            Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency

Myer, Leslie.  Fall into Fluency.

Return to the Odysseys Index









Fluency Time Sheet:

Reader: _______________________        Timer: _____________________

Date: _________________________        Book Title: _________________

1st timed reading:  _______________

2nd timed reading: _______________

3rd timed reading: _______________