Finish Line Fluency

By Meredith Willis


Rationale:  Fluency is an important aspect of becoming a skillful reader.  Components that define a fluent reader are reading the words precisely with smoothness, quickness, and emotion.  Without these components, reading is often hard to understand and comprehend.  One minute reads can help to improve fluency because students are receiving an extensive amount of repetitive practice while reading a passage or book over and over until the words are read fluently.  Students will be encouraged by the teacher and peers when they practice how to read words quickly and smoothly, while using expression.  This lesson will give students the opportunity to become more fluent by using examples of correct and incorrect ways to read, as well as practice to become fluent readers. 



            -stopwatch (to keep up with one-minute reads)

            -racetrack for each pair of students

            -racecar for each student

            -fluency checklist for each student (see


            -book, I Like Books by Anthony Browne

            -white board with dry erase markers

            -written sentences:

                        -My mother sings all the time
                        -Can I go to Jane’s party?



            1.  Lesson will begin with demonstrations of someone who is not fluent:


“We will learn how to speak fluently today.”  (say this very slowly, sounding out each letter)

“Were you able to understand what I was saying? (S.R.) How about now…” (repeat opening line very quickly to the point where students cannot understand what is being said)  “These are two examples of how not to read.  (read opening line fluently)  Can you hear the difference?”  Explain contrast of two incorrect examples:  “When you read a sentence or passage very slowly it can become boring and it easier to forget what you are reading.  However, if you read too fast you may mispronounce or leave out a word that is needed to complete a sentence.”


            2.  Write a sample sentence on the board:

                        My mother sings all the time.

“I want you to read this sentence with me, sounding out each letter very slowly.  Did you have a hard time following what that sentence was saying?  Now I am going to read it very quickly..  Listen closely and tell me if I leave out or mispronounce and words in the sentence.”

            My moth(er) sings all (the) time.

“Did I say the sentence correctly?”  (S.R.) 

Next, read the sentence correctly, using expression. 

“That would be the correct way to read that sentence.  Let’s read it together, fluently.”  (All read

                3.  Write another sample sentence on the board:

                        Can I go to Jane’s party?


            Fast read: 

                  Can I go Jane party?

After reading the sentence correctly:

“What is on the end of this sentence?  (S.R.)  When we are reading sentences that have punctuation marks other than a period, we should say them differently.  Could you tell the difference between how I said the first two sentences compared to the last sentence?  (Repeat each sentence, if necessary)  The last sentence showed the correct way to ask a question using expression.  Expression is an important part of becoming a fluent reader.”


4.      Students will pair up and will be given a racetrack, 2 racecars, 2 fluency checklists, 2 copies of the selected book, and 2 pencils.  The racetrack will be numbered to 53 based on how many words are found in the book.  Students will take turns timing their partners on how many words can be read in one minute (Teacher will keep time for the one-minute read)

5.      Introduction of story with book talk:  “Today we are going to read a story about a little monkey that really likes books.  He likes to read all kinds of book; including scary books and funny books.  As we read on, the monkey is going to tell us what other kinds of books he likes to read.  Let’s begin reading to see the books he likes.  We may even find out that he likes to read the same kinds of books we like to read!”


“Now we are going to practice what we have just learned.  During this activity I want you to show me that you are learning to become an awesome fluent reader!”  Ok, each person will take a turn reading while your partner counts the number of words you have read.  When I say ‘STOP’, the person reading will stop and the listening partner will put a light pencil mark where your partner stopped reading.  The partner who is listening will count up the words read by your partner and record them on the fluency checklist on the space provided.  Take turns reading to each other until each partner has read 3 times each. There is also a section on the fluency checklist where I would like for you to record your partner’s reading progress.  Bubble in the following statements if they are true once your partner has completed the reading.  Do not start bubbling in until after the second reading.”

            -Remembered more words

            -Read faster

            -Read smoother

            -Read with expression

“You will also use your racetrack to track your reading progress.  The blocks on the racetrack are numbered to 53.  Each time you complete a one-minute read you can move your racecar to the block that has the amount of words you have read written inside of it.  The more words you read, the closer you get to the fluency finishline.  But remember, while we do not want to read so slow that it is hard to follow us, we also do not want to read so fast that we mess up our words and we cannot be understood by our partners.  Read smoothly, quickly, and use expression!”


            6.    After the one-minute reads are completed, allow students to read any remaining pages silently.  If a                        student was able to complete the book, have him or her read the book over again.  The                                         following questions will be asked once everyone has completed the book:

            -Name a type of that you and the monkey both like to read. (Student response)

            -Did the monkey like to read counting books? (yes)

            -What kind of books did the monkey use when he sang music? (song books)

            -What kind of books did the monkey like best? (all books)

Have students return the fluency check-list to their partners, then ask them to complete the question written at the bottom of the sheet.



Broach, S.  Racing Readers. Reading Genie.  2006.

 Browne, Anthony.  I Like Books. Scholastic, Inc. 1988.

Fluency Check-list:

Name of Reader: _______________________________

Name of Partner:_______________________________

            Words read first time:____________    

            Words read second time:____________

            Words read third time:______________

           I noticed that my partner… (Color in the circle)
          After 2nd          After 3rd
             0                       0      Remembered more words

             0                       0      Read faster

             0                       0      Read smoother

             0                       0      Read with expression

Answer each question using the spaces provided.

 1.  Name a type of book that you and the monkey both like to read. _______________________________

 2.  Did the monkey like to read counting books? ____________________________

 3.  What kind of books did the monkey use when he was singing? ____________________________

 4.  What kind of books did the monkey like best?______________________________________

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