Climb to Faster Reading


Growing Independence and Fluency

Abby Smith

Rational:  Reading fluency is being able to read with automatic word recognition, which results in the ability to read text at a quick, smooth rate, and with expression. To become fluent readers children must be able to decode words in a connected text.   Students can work on becoming fluent readers by performing repeated readings of text.  The goal of this lesson is to improve students’ fluency through one-minute timed repeated readings.


-Stopwatch for each group of students
-Tree reading chart for each student.  Each student will have a tree with numbers counting by 5’s going up the tree.  A monkey figure that can move up the tree (Velcro).  Each time the student reads, calculate the number of words read correctly in one minute.  Then move the monkey up the tree to the number of words read correctly.
-Chalk and chalkboard
-Book:  Lee and the Team (Educational Insights book)
-Pencil and paper


1. Begin by explaining to students how important it is for readers to be fluent and give examples of a fluent and non-fluent reader. "Today we are going to practice reading passages fluently.  When we read fluently we read quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  When we read fluently our reading sounds good and reading becomes much more fun!  Now, I'm going to read a sentence to you like a beginning reader would. I-I-I-I w-w-w-went t-t-t-o t-t-the s-s-s-store f-f-f-for m-m-m-my m-m-m-mom.  That really did not sound smooth, did it?  Now, I'm going to try and say it smoothly. I went to the store for my mom . Okay, that sounds much better.  How did I make the sentence sound better?"  (The kids should read it quickly and smoothly. This time I read the sentence faster because it was not the first time I had read these words.   Rereading the sentence gave me practice and helped me read the sentence fluently this time."


2.  I will do a book talk: "The seal is very hungry and has a hard time picking out what to eat.  He doesn't really like human food.  What will he eat?  Okay, you have to read the book to find out."

3. Pair students up.  "Read the first sentence out of our book to your partner. Then each of you read the sentence 5 times to yourself.  By reading it over and over you will be able to understand it better and read it quickly and smoothly.  Now, read the sentence to each other out loud again.  Notice how each other reads the sentence." (Read sentence out loud to students.)


4. I will give stopwatches to each pair of students. I will tell them they are going to read the books to one another.  "One person is to read the book while the other times for one minute.  Then count the number of words read in one minute.  Write down the number of words to keep track. The student then should move their monkey up the tree to the number of words in the book. Keep reading the same passage and book 3 times.  Practice makes perfect."  There are 102 words in the book.  Before turning the students loose to do the activity, model timing and reading for one minute. “Tommy is going to read the passage for me while I time him. When I say go, he is going to start reading and I am going to push the start button on the watch. After one minute, I am going to tell Tommy to stop while I push the stop button. Ready, go! Ok, stop! I stopped it at one minute and Tommy stopped reading. Now I am going to record the number of words that he read to keep track. Tommy will now move his monkey to the number of words that he read on the tree. He will reread the passage 3 more times to practice. Now it is your turn.”

5. "Now that everyone has gotten all a turn to read the story three times to practice write your name on the paper where you wrote down the number of words you read per minute."


6. Assessment: Have students turn in paper with number of words read correctly in one minute.  There should be a steady increase in the number of words they were able to read in one minute.



Cushman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona. Lee and the Team  Phonics Readers.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Homan, Amy. Crazy Racers!  <>

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