Let's Read With Some Speed!


Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Kathleen Pease


            This lesson is very important for improving reading, specifically in improving fluency.  Fluent readers are at a much better advantage because they read with more expression, at a faster pace, and a lot more smoothly.  One proven way to improve reading is to reread decodable words in connected texts several times.  In many instances, the more a student works with a particular text, the more familiar they become with it, and therefore the more fluent they will become, which is the purpose of this lesson.  During this lesson, the students will come to understand that fluency helps them gain more meaning and understanding from the text.  Hopefully, by the end of the lesson, the students will be able to refer back to this strategy in order to increase fluency in their independent reading. 


Speed Reading Record Sheet for each student

Fluency Literacy Rubric for each student

Stopwatches for groups of students




"Cover –up Critters" popsicle sticks for each child

2 Googly Eyes per child

Kite Day at Pine Lake by Shelia Cushman & Rona Kornblum c1990


Speed Reading Record Sheet:

Name: ________________________________       Date: ___________________

First time: __________________

Second time: ________________

Third time: _________________


 Fluency Literacy Rubric:

Name: ____________________ Evaluator: _________________Date: ___________

I noticed that my partner

After 2nd         After 3rd         

Remembered more words                 _______          _______

Read Faster                                       _______          _______

Read Smoother                                  _______          _______

Read with expression                        _______          _______




1. I will begin the lesson by explaining that it is important to learn to read quickly and automatically in order to become better readers.  Did you know that when we learn to read fluently, we will be able to understand what we are reading better?  One way we can achieve fluency is to read a book over and over again.  When we do this, our reading will get to know the words better, and our reading will get faster and more fluent.

2. Sometimes, we come across words that we do not recognize right away.  Something we can use to help us figure these words out is a Cover-up Critter.  I will then show the class a cover-up Critter and distribute the materials to make their own.  Let's see if we can use our critter to figure out this word.  I will write prize on the whiteboard.  If I came across this word and did not know it, I would first use my Cover-up Critter to cover everything except for the i.  Now watch what I do. I will cover up the pr and the z.  I know that i­_e says /I/, so next I will look at what comes right before the vowel, pr.  I will say each sound that these letters make, and then blend them to get /pri/.  Last, I will look at the end of the word z=/z/, and I will blend that with /pri/ and will end up with prize.  This strategy of starting with the vowel will help us to figure out tricky words more easily.  So next time you come across a word that does not look familiar to you, try using your Cover-Up Critter and get him to help you solve it.

3. I will then show the students the difference between reading with and without fluency.  Class, I am going to show you how very important it is to read with fluency.  You will see how much it will help us in reading when you see me reading a sentence with and without fluency.  Write sentence on the board: The big kid took a dive in the pool.  First, I will demonstrate how a non-fluent reader would read the sentence.  T-th-the  b-b-bi-bi-g-g-big k-ki-i-d-d-kid t-to-too-k-took a d-d-i-di-v-div-dive i-i-n-in th-the p-p-oo-poo-pool.  Did you notice how slowly I read the sentence and how there was hardly any expression in my reading?  I am now going to read it again, but this time with fluency.  I will read the sentence fluently, a lot more smoothly, and with a lot more expression.  The big kid took a dive in the pool.  Did you notice that my words were closer together and they were a lot more smooth?  Which time was easier for you to understand?  Students will respond (will hopefully say the second time).  Right!  It is much easier to understand texts when you read it with fluency!

4. I will then distribute the book, Kite Day at Pine Lake, to each student.  Who has ever flown a kite before?  Really?  Flying a kite is so much fun!  This is a great book about a group of children who love to fly kites together.  They have all sorts of kites which they love to fly, but their friend, Bob, is upset because he does not have one.  Do you think Bob will get a kite?  Do you think his friends will make him one so he can play with them?  I hope so!  We'll have to read and find out!  The students will read the book individually, and we will then discuss the story as a class to assess their comprehension and understanding.

5. Next, I will split the students up into groups of 2.  I will explain about the Speed Reading Record Sheet and Fluency Literacy Rubric.  Now we will break into pairs.  One partner will be the reader and the other one will be the recorder. The reader will read the book for one minute three times.  The recorder will be in charge of timing the reader.  The recorder will start and stop a stop watch and will announce when it is time to begin and end after the end of one minute.  The recorder's other job will be to write down the number of words your partner reads in one minute on the record sheet.  Once the reader has read the book three times, the partners will switch roles and do the same thing again.

6. After the students have recorded the one minute read alouds, they will fill out a Fluency Literacy Sheet about their partner's performance.


In order to assess each student, I will call them up to me one by one and have them read a passage of approximately 60 words out of the same book to check their fluency.  While each student is doing their assessment with me, the rest of the students will be at their desks practicing their fluency while reading a decodable book.


Cusman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona.  Kite Day at Pine Lake.  1990.

Simpson, Angela.  "Ready, Set, Off We Go!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/simpsongf.html

Return to the Passages Index.