Oh I know I can read faster!

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design

By Katie Freeman

Rationale:  Fluent reading is reading where words are recognized easily and automatically.  Readers must develop fluent reading in order to become faster, smoother, and more expressive readers.  Fluent reading is extremely important in a child's overall reading development and success.  Fluency can be developed by reading and reading decodable words in connected text.  When students first read the book, they should decode unknown words rather than guess from context.  Students should then reread until they do not struggle over any words.  Decodable text should be used so that the students can decode and thus learn sight words.  Connected text should be used so that the students are more interested in the story.  To help with fluency skills, repeated readings of decodable words in a connected text will be used in this lesson.


Materials: Is Jo Home? decodable book by Educational Insights (one copy per student), dry erase board and marker; pencils; stop watches for each pair of students (assessment); Speed Reading Record for each student*; Partner Check Sheet for each student**

**Partner Check Sheet for students to assess their partner's fluency:

As I listened to my partner read, he/she:

                                                                              After 2nd          After 3rd

                        1. Remembered more words         _______          _______

                        2. Read faster                                _______          _______

                        3. Read smoother                          _______          _______

                        4. Read with expression                _______          _______


*Speed Reading Record:

       Name:_________________________            Date:___________


                        - After 1st read            _______

                        - After 2nd read           _______

                        - After 3rd read            __  ____


1)  ''Today we are going to practice reading as fast as we can.  But while we are trying to read fast, we also have to try and read the words correctly.  If we learn to read words faster, we will be able to understand what is happening in the story easier.  In order to learn how to read faster, we will read the same sentence or book over and over again and try to get faster each time we read it.''

2)   ''Before we go on, let's remember what we should do when we come to a word that we do not know.''  Write the word splash on the white board while saying the following: ''If this word was in the book that I was reading, but I didn't know this word, I would find the vowel and then cover up the other letters with my fingers.  I would say a/, like a baby crying, /a/.  I would then uncover the first letter and say /s/.  Then I would uncover the second letter and put it with the first letter /s//p/.  The next letter to uncover is l, /l/ then blend to say /s//p//l/.  Then I would add it with the a /s//p//l//a/.  Blended together that says /spla/.  Finally I would uncover the last part and say /spla//sh/.  That word is splash.''

3)  Write the following sentence on the board: Jo and Ted yell for Rose.  ''I'm going to read this sentence that is written on the board and I want you to pay attention to how I read it.''  Read the sentence very slowly and without fluency.  ''Jjjooo and Teeed yyyeeelll for RRooossse..  Did you notice how I read it really slow and how it was hard to understand what was happening in the sentence because I read it so slow?  Well now I'm going to try reading it again like a fluent reader.''  Read the sentence with fluency.  ''Jo and Ted yell for Rose.''  Wow, was it a lot easier to understand the sentence that time?  Absolutely it was, that's why we should practice rereading sentences so that we can make it sound better every time we read it.  It sounded better the second time because I had already figured out what all the words were when I read it the first time.  This let me read it faster the second time.''

4)  ''Now I'm going to give each of you a copy of the book: Is Jo Home?. In this book, a friendly dog roams a neighborhood looking for his pal Jo.  Jo plays with and takes care of the dog.  But the dog cannot find Jo at her house!  Will Jo ever come home so that she and the dog can have fun?

5)  Next, I will assign partners, give each group a stopwatch, and give each child a Partner Check Sheet and Speed Reading Record.  Have each student read the book once to themselves. Once they have read it through once, explain to the students how to use these sheets and what they are looking for. Assign one student to be the reader and one to be the recorder.  Provide a model about how to use the timer.  The reader will read the story for one minute and the recorder will keep track of how many times or how far their partner gets into the story. The recorder tells the reader when to begin and when to end. Each time the recorder will record how many words were read per minute. Once the reader has had three read alouds, the recorder will fill out the partner check sheet.  Then students will switch roles.

6)  Assessment: I will do one minute reads with each child individually to check for fluency and accuracy.  I will also evaluate their Speed Reading Record and Partner Check Sheet that were completed by their partner.


1. Whitcomb, Amy.  At Lightning Speed


2. Jacobs, Ashley.  Hurry Hurry!


3. Is Jo Home?  Educational Insights, 1990.

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