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The Fog is Magic!
Growing Independence and Fluency Design
Marthe Schreitmueller

Rationale:  Before children can become successful readers, they must first learn to read fluently.  To do this, they should regularly read a variety of texts and repeat readings.  As a result, children become more confident in their reading abilities, which may also increase their tendencies to read voluntarily.  To become more fluent, they must gain the abilities and become more fluent readers, they are able to increase their comprehension (the ultimate goal of reading).  For this lesson, students will perform repeated readings, timed readings, and one-minute reads.  These activities may guide them to become more fluent readers.

Materials:

Student and teacher copies of Doc in the Fog - Carson, California.  Educational Insights. 1990, stop watches (one per pair of students), time sheets, pencils, chalk or dry erase marker, and fluency checklists (with pictures of elephant, cheetah, swan, and monkey to remember to read more words and read faster, smoother, and with more expression)

Procedures:

  1. Explain: “Today, we’re going to talk about what it means to be a fluent reader.  Has anyone ever heard that word before?  What do you think it means?”  Allow discussion.  “Sometimes, it takes a lot of hard work to become a fluent reader!  Three important things to remember are to read: quick, smooth, and with expression.  Let’s talk about what these things mean and the ways that people can do them when the read.”  Model to class different ways that fluent and non-fluent readers read (alter speed, smoothness, and expression) and have them differentiate between the two.
  2. “So, how can people become more fluent readers?  There are different ways to help people with their reading fluency.  Surprisingly, re-reading stories is one of them, which is what we are going to practice today in class.
  3. Write a sentence on the board: “The fog around Doc is magic.”  Read the sentence very slowly and stretched out for the students.  “Thhhh-e fff-o-ggg a-rrr-ou-nn-d Ddd-o-ccc iii-sss mm-aaa-gg-ic.”  Next, read the sentence again.  This time, read it quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  Ask students, “Which sounded better, the first or the second time I read the sentence?  Why?”  Tell them that “when you read like I did the second time (more quickly, smoothly, and with expression), it is a lot easier to remember what you just read and it is more interesting too.”
  4. Write this sentence on the board, “He can make things disappear!”  Have students pair up to practice reading this sentence to each other quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  Remind them, “Each time you read this sentence, remember to read it more quickly, smoothly, and with expression than you did the last time.  You and your partner need to listen very carefully while reading in order to help each other. Tell your partner what us getting better and what may need some more practice.  Read the sentence three times each.”  Afterwards, discuss with students what they noticed during the practice.  “Was there any difference between the first time you read and the third time you read the sentence?”
  5. Ask students: “Has anyone ever seen a magic show before?  What does it mean to make something disappear?  The book we are going to read today is called Doc in the Fog.  Doc is a wizard!  What does that word tell you about Doc?  Doc knows how to do all kinds of tricks.  We’ll have to read the story though to find out more about his magic.”
  6. Return students to their original pairs and give each pair two copies of Doc in the Fog.  Give each student a time sheet and each pair a stopwatch.  Have the students read the story to each other three times each.  Instruct them to fill out the provided checklists while their partner reads (starting on the second reading).  Additionally, have them record their partner’s reading times on the sheet at the end of each reading.  As a class, discuss the results.  Ask students “Did your times improve after the repeated readings? Did you and your partner being to read more quickly, smoothly, and with expression?”
  7. To assess, I will look at the time sheets and checklists that the students used.  With this, I will be able to see if each child completed the activity and if they improved throughout the lesson or not.  For those who did not improve as much as expected, I will then know to work with them more often to help improve their fluency. 

References

Doc in the Fog. Carson, California.  Educational Insights. 1990.

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