Monkey Reading


Reading Fluency Lesson Design

by Jenna Gore



In order for children to become expert readers and to actually enjoy reading, they first have to develop fluency in their reading. Being fluent in reading involves reading faster, smoother, and with more expression. One of the first steps in developing fluency is learning to recognize words effortlessly and automatically.  This lesson will help students develop reading fluency through repeated readings and one-minute reads.



Chart paper with sentence, Dad was late to get me.

Chart paper with sentence, I hope we can play today!

Chart paper with word, rope

Decodable book, Tin Man Fix-It


Monkey tree with monkey

fluency checklists 


Reading Fluency Checklist:

I noticed that my partner ___________________________...


After 2nd                     After 3rd reading                


                                                                             Remembered more words


                                                                              Read faster


                                                                              Read smoother


                                                                              Read with expression



1.) Begin the lesson by saying to students, “We have been working on developing our reading skills. Today, we are going to work on something called fluency.  Fluency is when we can read words faster and smoother and with more expression, so that it makes the stories that we read more interesting.”

2.) Next review cover-up strategy. “Who can tell me something we can do when we are reading when we don’t know a word or we get stuck on a word? That’s right! We use cover-ups!” “If I was reading and I came across this word (rope), and I couldn’t figure it out, I would cover up all the letters except for the vowel. I see that the vowel is o. Now I’m going to look and see if there is an e at the end of the word, so that I know if I need to make the vowel sound long. Remember, the e at the end makes the vowel say its name! So I would see that there is an e, so the o says /O/. Next I would need to cover up everything except the beginning letter, r. R says /r/, so now I have /r/- /O/… rooo. Now I just need to figure out the last sound, the letter that comes after the vowel. I know that the p says /p/ and I know that the e is silent, so I have /r/- /O/- /p/… rope! Do you all remember this cover-up strategy? It really helps us to figure out words that we are stuck on, so this would be the first thing we should try if we can’t figure out a word.”

3.) “Now if we have tried using cover-ups and we still can’t figure it out, what’s the next strategy we would use? That’s right! Cross-checking! (Have this sentence on the board; Dad was late to get me.) Say I was reading this sentence and I didn’t know the word late and I read the sentence, “Dad was lat to get me.” I would think to myself, wait, this doesn’t make sense! Let me go back and read it again. Dad was lat to get me… oh, it says Dad was late to get me! This is how we would use the cross-checking strategy. We go back and read the sentence to see if it makes sense and if it doesn’t we can try to figure it out!” Write the cover-up strategy (first) and the crosschecking strategy (second) on the board for a reminder later as they are reading.

4.) “Next we are going to talk about how to read more fluently. (Have the sentence, I hope we can play today! on the board). Now listen to me as I read this sentence aloud two times for you. Iii…hop—hoopoe…we…ccccannn… p-lll-a… play t-o-ddday… today. Now listen to me as I read it this time. I hope we can play today! Which time sounded better? That’s right! The second time it sounded a lot better because I read it faster and with more expression! So you could probably understand what I read that time a lot better because it was smoother, right? This is what we want to do when we are reading. We want to read with good fluency!”

5.) “Now we are going to practice this reading fluency by reading a real book. I am going to pass out a book to read called, Tin Man Fix-It. This story is about a tin man named Tim and a boy named Jim who likes to fix things. One day Tim and Jim are outside planting some flowers, when a big kid named Sid comes rolling by on his skate board. As Sid tries to show off his moves, he runs right into Tim! Will Tim the tin man be okay? You’ll have to read to find out!” (

6.) Explain to students, “Each of you will get a turn to be the reader and you will read the story to your partner three times. On the second and third time that your partner reads to you, I want you to mark the boxes to let your partner know what they have improved on since the time before. You will mark if they remembered more words, if they read faster, if they read smoother, or if they read with more expression on the slip of paper. Remember, we only are going to say nice things to our partners… let them know what they are doing better each time! After one partner has read the story three times, then switch and let the other person read three times as well. Remember to use those strategies (cover-ups and cross-checking) we talked about as well! Alright, everyone can begin reading with their partner.” 

7.) Assessment: As students are reading books of their choice independently, call up one child at a time to my desk to do a “one minute read”. Have the student read, Tin Man Fix-It to me three times. Use a stop watch to time them for each reading and see how many words they read in one minute. Use a chart with a tree and a monkey. Move the monkey on the tree branches to the number of words they read in one minute. Explain to them, “We want to try to get the monkey to the top of tree!” Show them their progress and motivate them to read faster each time. (Record their progress for assessment). Also look at the fluency checklists to monitor their progress. 


Adams, Whitney. “Speedy Reader”

Eldredge, J Lloyd (2005).  Teaching Decoding: Why and How.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ.  Page 154.

Phonics Readers Short Vowels: Tin Man Fix-It. (1990). Carson, CA (USA), St Albans,
            Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

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