Spooky Fluency


Ivy Hopkins


In order for a child to read fluently he or she should be able to read faster and smoother than when they first started to read.  Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. A student will enjoy reading when he can decode words automatically and effortlessly. The way to accomplish this is for the child to read and reread decodable words in a connected text.  The more children work with a particular piece of text, the more fluent the text becomes to them.  This lesson will help children learn how to read faster and more smoothly. 


Marker board with sentence, “Halloween is here, and we will wear a costume.”

A haunted house for each child with  numbers indicating the number of words read.  The bottom of the house begins with the lowest number and  the top of the house has the  greatest number.

Small cutout of a ghost for each child

One stopwatch for every two children

The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing

Different books of different reading levels



1. Introduce the lesson to students by telling them how important it is for readers to read both quickly and smoothly.  “This is very important, because the faster we can read, the easier a story will be for us to understand. Let me show you.” 


2. “I am going to read a sentence one time through just like a beginning reader would and then I am going to read it again like a really good reader would read it.”  Write the sentence on the board.  “Halloween is her, and we will wear a costume.” Read the sentence slowly to the students.  Sound out some words slowly and model the silent cover-up method that they already practice on some words.  “That didn't sound quite right did it?  Now let me read it again.  Notice my speed this time.” Read the sentence a second time more smoothly.  “Halloween is here, and we will wear a costume.”  That sounds much better doesn't it?  What are some things that I did differently in the second sentence than in the first sentence?”

3. Write another sentence on the board.  “Tonight I am going to be a ghost for Halloween.” Divide students into pairs and have them practice reading the sentence to one another until they can read it smoothly.  “I want you to read the sentence through for the first time out loud to each other.  Listen to the way that it sounds the first time that you read it. Then I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself at least five times through.   Reading the sentence repeatedly will help you with your speed.  Then I want you to read the sentence again out loud to your partner.  Notice how different it sounds this time.  What makes it sound better?” “Did it sound better when you read it fast or slow?” “Great job!!!” Explain, “The reason we practice our reading is to become good at it!”

4. Read The Night Before Halloween by Natasha Wing to the students." This is a story about some scary monsters getting ready for Halloween.  How many of you will get read for Halloween?  Let’s see how they get ready for their big day.  Model timed reading.

5. “Now it is your time to try reading your own book!  I am going to give each group a book to read.  While one of you reads the book the other one is going to be the timer.  You will be timed for one minute.  Read as many words as you can.  If you come to a word that you don’t know, use the cover up method to try to figure it out.  If you still can’t figure it out look at the rest of the sentence.  If that doesn't work, ask your partner for help.  I will also be walking around to help you.  We are going to do this several times so that you can become a faster and faster reader!”

6. “After one minute is up you will count how many words you read and place your ghost on the correct window of the haunted house.  Then you will switch and your partner will do the same thing.  Before you start all over, make a star with your pencil on your house on the first number of words that you read so that we can see how much faster you are getting.  I bet after a couple of times reading the book, your ghost will get higher and higher in the haunted house.  Let's see. Read!”

 I will assess the students by looking at their progress chart.  They will mark on the house where they began and where they ended and turn it in for me to evaluate. This allows me to assess the students individually. I will also assess informally by listening to the students as I walk around the class.

Lewis, Naomi. Growing Fluency and Independence. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/lewisgf.html


Wing, Natasha (1999) The Night Before Halloween. Grosset and Dunlap. New York, NY

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