Racing to Become Fluent Readers


By: Lauren Mitchum

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design


Rational: When students first begin reading, they read slow and take time to decode words. As students begin to recognize words as they read, their recognition quicker and more automatic. Fluency focuses on comprehension rather than struggling to decode words. As children start reading more fluent, they tend to read faster, show expression as they read, and become involuntary readers. Students become more fluent as they read and reread decodable text. This lesson will allow students to become more fluent readers. Students will gain fluency skills by repeated readings as well as one-minute reads.



Class set of the book: Kite Day at Pine Lake

Stopwatch (1 per pair)


Dry erase board and marker

One Minute Recording Chart for teacher assessment

Progress track and runner for each student (below)

One Minute Reading Chart for each student (below)

Fluency Chart for each student (below)

One Minute Read Chart:

Name:______________________  Date:____________

1st minute: ______

2nd minute: ______

3rd minute: ______




                                            Fluency Rubric

            Name: ______________       Date: _______

                                                            After 2nd                      After 3rd

                        Read Faster:                ________                    ________

                        Read Smoother:          ________                    ________

                        Used Expression:         ________                    ________

                        Remembered words:  ________                    ________






 (1).I will start the lesson by explaining the difference between a beginning reader and a fluent reader. I will first ask the students what they think a fluent reader does. I will then explain that a fluent reader reads smoothly, fast, and with expression. I will then write on the board the following sentence: "I like to run outside." "Now students, how might a beginning reader sound when he or she says this sentence? That's great. "A beginning reader would have problems decoding some of the words in this sentence." "A beginning reader would sound like this, "I lllliikkke like to pppllaayy play ooouuutssiidddee outside." Beginning readers stumble over words as they read a sentence like this." I would then explain to the class how a fluent reader would sound reading a sentence like this. "I like to play outside." "See class, a fluent reader reads the sentence smooth and fast." "Today, we are going to do some activities to practice becoming a more fluent reader." "Let's begin!"

(2).I will take this time to review with the class how to decode words as well as remind them how to use their cover-up. "Raise your hand if you remember how to use a cover-up to decode words you come to and do not know? (I will write the word sport on the board) That's way of explaining it. (Model on board) We first start with the vowel, which is o and cover-up, everything after the letter o. Next, we look at the letters before o, which is sp. Then we put the letters together and you have spo. Then we cover the first two leaving o uncovered and then uncover the last two letters rt and now say ort. Then we put everything together and you have /s/ /p/ /o/ /r/ /t/.

(3).Next I will explain to the students that when they become a fluent reader, it is not just about reading fast. "When reading a sentence, we have to remember to cross check our sentence to make sure that it makes sense. (I will write the sentence: "I like to sleep on the boat.") For example: If I read this sentence like: I like to sleep on the bat, then I would use my crosschecking skills to see if the sentence makes sense. I know that my reading does not make sense because you can't sleep on a bat, but you can sleep on a boat. So then I would reread the sentence again correctly: "I like to sleep on the boat."

(4). "I will now pass out to the class the book, Kite Day at Pine Lake. I will also hand out the One Minute Read Chart to each student. I will give a short book talk to introduce the entire class to the book. It is kite day at Pine Lake. Jeff's kite is wide, Fay's kite dives down, and Jan's kite has five sides. Bob sees the kites and he is sad because he doesn't have one. What will Bob do?"

(5). I will pair students up with another student that is close to his or her same reading level. I will explain to the students that one student will be the 'reader' and the other students will be the 'timer'. (Pass out stopwatches to each pair) The 'timer,' will tell the 'reader' when to start reading and when to stop reading. The 'timer' will also record how many words the 'reader' reads in one minute on the One Minute Chart. The reader will read a total of three times. The 'reader' will have the opportunity to move his or her runner around the track each time depending on how many words they read correctly. The partners will then switch positions and they will do exactly what the other person was doing.

(6).Each student will be given one last chance to read over the book. After each student has read over the book, I will pass out their Fluency Charts. Each student should feel out the chart on their partners. The 'timer' will allow the 'reader' to read the book and after he or she is done, the 'timer' will fill out the Fluency Chart. The partner will switch positions and repeat the same process.

(7).After each student has read the book another 2 times, I will allow them to read the book for one final time. The partners will repeat the same process again for the 3rd and final reading of the book. Partners should finish completing their Fluency Chart and check to make sure they completed their One Minute Chart. I will open up a class discussion by asking the students several questions about how their reading improved from each reading.

(8) Finally, I will collect all the One Minute Charts as well as the Fluency Charts. I will assess the students by having each student come to the reading center and read a passage from the book Kite Day at Pine Lake. I will use a One Minute Recording Sheet to record my data for each student. I will also assess the students' comprehension of the book by asking a few generated questions. The other students in the class will continue reading the book at their desk and practicing their fluency skills until it is time for their individual assessment.



 Haywood, Kendra: Flowing Through Fluency


Kite Day at Pine Lake.  Cushman,Shelia and Kornblum,Rona. Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.


Long, Lauren: Becoming a Reading Wiz


Williams, Brittany: Racing into Reading "How to Teach Reading Fluency"

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