Kites are Slow, Reading is Fast

By: Natalie Tate

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

Rationale:    Fluent readers read faster, smoother, and more expressively. A way to improve readers’ fluency is to read and reread decodable words in connected text. The more often a student works with a piece of text, the more fluent the student can read that text. This lesson is designed to help students increase their fluency by reading and rereading text to become familiar with it. During the lesson, students will learn that fluency helps them gain more meaning and understanding from the text. After the lesson, students will be able to use a strategy to increase fluency in their independent reading.

Materials:     1. Speed Reading Record Sheet for each student

2. Fluency Literacy Rubric for each student

3. Stopwatches for groups of students

4. Whiteboard

5. Markers

6. Pencils

7. Kite Day at Pine Lake by Sheila Cushman & Rona Kornblum. c1990.


Speed Reading Record Sheet:

Name: ________________________________       Date: ___________________

First time: __________________

Second time: ________________

Third time: _________________

 Fluency Literacy Rubric:

Name: ______________________ Evaluator: ___________________ Date: ______________

I noticed that my partner…

After 2nd         After 3rd         

Remembered more words                 _______          _______

Read Faster                                       _______          _______

Read Smoother                                  _______          _______

Read with expression                        _______          _______


Procedures:    1. I will introduce the lesson by explaining that in order to become better readers, we must begin to read quickly     and automatically or fluently. “Boys and girls, when we become more fluent readers, we will be able to   understand the text better. A great way to become a fluent readers is to read a book or story a bunch of times. When you do that, your reading gets faster and more automatic.”

2. “First, let’s discuss how we could figure out a word we do not know while we are reading. A strategy that we use is called cover-ups. Let’s see how we could do that… (write strike on the board). If I saw this word and did not know it, the first thing I would do is cover everything up except the I. Watch… (cover the str and k). I should know that i_e=/I/. Next, I would look at what comes before the vowel, str=/str/. I would say each sound and then blend them together to get /stri/. Finally I would look at the end of the word k=/k/. Starting with the vowel helps us solve these tricky words more easily. From now on, whenever we see an unfamiliar word, let’s use the cover-up strategy to see if we can read it.

3. Next I will demonstrate to the students the difference between reading with and with out fluency. “Boys and girls, I am now going to show you how fluency might help us in reading by reading this sentence with and without fluency (Write a sentence on the board… “The big tiger scared all of the other animals away.”) First, I will read it with out being very fluent: “The-big-tiger-scared-all-of-the-other-animals-away.” Notice how I read the sentence very slowly. Now I am going to read this same sentence again, but this time I will read it more fluently: "The big tiger scared all of the other animals away." Did you see how I did not draw out the sentence much, but very smoothly? Which time was easier for you to understand? (Student response) Great job, it’s easier to understand books and text when you read it with fluency.

4. Now I will pass out the book Kite Day at Pine Lake to each student. “Have any of you ever flown a kite before?  Great! Well, this is a story about a group of kids that enjoy flying kites at the lake. They have kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Bob is sad because he doesn’t have a kite. I wonder what will happen. Do you think the kids will make Bob a kite? To find out more, we will have to read the rest of the story!” Students will read the book on their own. Afterwards, we will discuss the story as a class and ask higher order questions to see their understanding of the text.

5. Next I will split the students up into groups of 2. I will explain to the students about the Speed Reading Record Sheet and Fluency Literacy Rubric. “When you all get into your pairs, one of you is going to be the “reader” and the other will be the “recorder.” The reader will read the book for one minute three different times. The recorder will have a stop watch and will announce when to start and stop after one minute. The recorder will also write down the number of words read in one minute on the record sheet. After you have finished this, you will swap roles and repeat it.”

6. Once students have finished recording the one minute read aloud, I will have the students fill out a Fluency Literacy Sheet about their partner. They will check the boxes on how the student performed on the 2nd and 3rd times reading the book for one minute.

Assessment:      I will have each student read a passage to me in the reading center out of the same book. The text should be about 60 words. I will use this during a one minute read to check the students’ fluency. While one student is doing a one-minute read aloud with me, the rest of the students will practice reading a book with fluency quietly at their desk. 


Laura Slocum, Speedy Readers.

Shelly Horton, Zooming Into Fluency.

Jenna Goodwin, Racing Through Reading.

Click here to return to Perspectives.