Scoring a Goal with Fluency!


Fluency Lesson Design

 Kristy Persson


Rationale: It is a reading teacher’s goal for each child to reach fluency in reading.  Fluency is the ability to read quickly and accurately.  Fluent readers recognize words automatically, they read aloud effortlessly and they have expression.  Before children are fluent readers, they read slowly, and their focus is on decoding individual words.  It is important to encourage and praise the children during this journey to fluency.  This lesson is for improving the student’s automatic word recognition.  I will be doing so by using a direct approach.  This lesson will help students develop reading fluency through repeated readings and one-minute readings.  This makes the journey to fluency not as stressful. 


Materials: stop watch, erasable marker, pencil, paper, baseline chart, chart paper with sentence I can not wait to read my book today!, James and the Good Day, soccer ball and goal chart.



1.  Begin the lesson by saying what a great job they have been doing on developing their reading skills.  “Fluency is a major part of reading.  Fluency is the ability to read quickly, accurately, and with more expression.”


2.  “Now we are going to start fluency.  (Point to the sentence on the chart paper on the board) Listen to me as I read this sentence two times: Iii.....cccaaann....nnooo...noootttt....wwaa....waaaiiittt.....tttooo....rreee....rreeaaddd...mmyyy...bookk....tooo.....tooodaaayyy.  Now listen to me read it this time.  I can not wait to read my book today!  Which time sounded better?  Yes, the second time sounded a lot better!  Why do you think it sounded better?  (Call on a few students) Yes, I read faster and I had expression.  You could actually understand what I was saying the second time, because I was not jumping words, and I knew what each word said before I read it out loud.  Which time do you think I had fluency?  Yes, the second time.  Very good!  This is what we want to do when we are reading!”


3.  “Now we are going to practice fluency by reading a book.  I am going to pass out a book called James and the Good Day.  James is determined to have a good day when he wakes up.  When he gets distracted, he overflows the bathtub.  The water gets everywhere! Will James get in trouble?  Will he end up having a good day after all?  You will have to read the book to find out!”  (Pass out one copy per student) 


4.  After everyone has a copy of the book, explain to the students, “There will be a reader and a checker.  Do not worry, because you will all get a turn to be the reader.  The reader will read the story to the checker three times.  On the second and third time, the checker will mark the boxes to allow the reader to know where they improved.  The choices where the reader can improve are remembering words faster, reading faster, reading smoother, and reading with expression.  We are going to only say nice things to each other.  Once the reader has read three times, then switch positions.  The person who had just read will now be the checker, and the person who was just the checker will now be the reader.  You will do the same thing with the checklist.  Everyone can begin reading with their partner.”


5.  My assessment of each child will take place during their time of reading.  I will call up one child at a time to read James and the Good Day.  I will only have them read for one minute out of the book.  I will have my stopwatch with me to know when to stop.  I will see how many words they can do in one minute.  I will be using the soccer ball and goal chart.  I will explain to the child that we want the soccer ball to get in the goal.  The ball on the chart will move to the number of words they read in one minute.  Each time, I will show them their improvements, and motivate them to reach the soccer goal.  I will record their progress.  This will allow me to assess each individual child.





Beck, Isabel L.  Making Sense of Phonics: The Hows and Whys.  New York: Guilford.


James and the Good Day.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Click here to return to perspectives.