Up Up and Away With Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Laura Lee Nevins


Reading Fluency is the ability to read at a fast, smooth pace. One proven way to improve reading fluency is to reread decodable words in connected texts several times.  In many instances, the more a student works with a particular text, the more familiar they become with it, and therefore the more fluent they will become which is the purpose of this lesson.  This lesson focuses on students' development of the ability to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.


<!1. Fluency Literacy checklist for each student (see below)

2. Whiteboard with the sentence, The girl hits the ball fast, written on it

3.  Pencils for each student

4. Cover-up critters for each student (Popsicle stick per student with two googly-eyes)

5. One copy per child of Kite Day at Pine Lake by Shelia Cushman & Rona Kornblum c1990

6. Assessment checklist given by the teacher to check speed, smoothness, and fluency.  The checklist will contain the following information:  how many words the child read in one minute, how many words the child read accurately, what words the child struggled with

Fluency Literacy Checklist:

Name: ____________________ Evaluator: _________________Date: ___________

I noticed that my partner

                                                                                              After 2nd         After 3rd         

Remembered more words like the elephant             _______          _______

Read Faster like the cheetah                                            _______          _______

Read Smoother like the swan                                           _______          _______

Read with expression like the monkey                          _______          ______


"Today we are going to work on a reading skill called fluency. Fluency is when you can read fast, smoothly, and also with expression. If we want to become fluent readers we must practice. I am going to read this sentence on the board for the first time, so I will not be reading it fluently. "Th-e  g-ir-l  h-i-t-s  th-e b-a-ll  f-a-s-t." I read that slowly and it was hard to understand, now listen to me read it fluently. "The girl hits the ball fast." That was faster and easier to understand. The difference between reading the two sentences shows the importance of fluency. I got better because I learned all the words. After I read it over and over, I got better. Have the children practice reading the sentence, until they hear how they went from non fluent reading to fluent reading. Sometimes when we are reading, we will come to words that we do not know. When that happens remember to use your cover up critter, or cross check by reading the rest of the sentence. To use your cover up critter, cover up all the letters except the vowel, for example when decoding the word "duck" cover the d and ck, and start with the u sound then add the other letters.

Now I will pass out the book Kite Day at Pine Lake to each student. Has anyone ever flown a kite before? I love to fly kites. This book is a story about children who love to fly kites. They have kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors. One child is upset though because he does not have a kite. I wonder what will happen. Let's read and find out! Students will read the book on their own. Afterwards, we will discuss the story as a class and ask questions to see their comprehension and understanding of the text. They will each have a chance to read it by themselves before reading it aloud with a partner. 

After they have read and comprehended the story once individually, I will divide the class into pairs. Each pair will be given two check lists. One partner will be the reader and the other one will be the recorder. The reader will read the book three different times. The recorder will write down a report after the reader has read the book for the second and third time. The report will be marking on the checklist. The recorder can either mark that the reader remembered more words like the elephant read faster like the cheetah, read smoother like the swan, or read with expression like the monkey. The partners will then switch roles and do the same thing again. 


In order to assess each student, I will call them up to me one by one and have them read from the same book for one minute to check their fluency.  I will have a checklist to record their speed, smoothness, and fluency.  The checklist will contain the following information:  how many words the child read in one minute, how many words the child read accurately, what words the child struggled with.  By doing this, I will know the areas that the child is having difficulties with. While each student is doing their assessment with me, the rest of the students will be completing their fluency checklist with their partners.


Cusman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona.  Kite Day at Pine Lake.  1990.

Hood, Lara Lee. Ready, Set, READ! http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/sightings/hoodgf.html

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency

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