Bee-ing Great with Fluency!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Kayla Petty



The ability to read a text accurately and quickly is called fluency. Reading fluency is very important because it provides a connection between recognizing words and comprehension.  When readers that are fluent read silently, they automatically have word recognition. They can also group words effortlessly and quickly which helps them grasp meaning from what they read.  Fluent reading sounds come naturally, as if they are speaking with expression. Non fluent readers read word by word slowly and their oral reading is not smooth but sometimes choppy. Since fluent readers do not have to worry about concentrating on decoding words in a text, they can look more for what the text they are reading means and make connections to their own background knowledge. Less fluent readers cannot recognize words and comprehend them at the same time when they focus on figuring out the words in a text.  This certainly leaves these readers very little attention for really understanding what the text means.  Students gain their fluency by practice and reading repeatedly.  Timed readings and one- minute reads are also helpful to less fluent readers during reading instruction.  Studies have shown that the more students read the more all of their individual reading skills will improve.  This lesson will allow students to become more fluent readers.  Students can improve their fluency through one minute reads and repeated readings.


-Stop watches


-Dry erase board

-Speed reading record (below)

-Partner Checksheet (below)

-Popsicle sticks with bumble bee’s for each student to use as cover ups

-Copies of the book Fuzz and the Buzz for each student


Speed Reading Record:

       Name: _________________________            Date: ___________


                        - After 1st read            _______

                        - After 2nd read           _______

                        - After 3rd read            _______

Partner check- sheet:

Name: ________ Partner: ______________ Date: _________

I noticed that my partner.. (Check the circle)

After 2nd           after 3rd

( )                     ( )                     Remembered more words

( )                     ( )                     Read faster

( )                     ( )                     Read smoother

( )                     ( )                     Read with expression



1) “Today, we will be learning to become more fluent readers.  Fluent readers can read more smoothly without stopping as much between words in a text.  The more fluent you are, the less you will have to stop to sound out the words!  This means you will understand much more of what you read!  We will be practicing this as we read our books more than once maybe even a few times.  After that we will time ourselves as we read these familiar books. “

2) “I am going to show you how a non-fluent reader reads and how a fluent one reads.”  Write the sentence on a dry erase board in front of the classroom. “A non-fluent reader would read the first sentence as I am: ‘The verrrry sad turrrrtlllle was ssssttttuck in a mmmmud ppppuddddddllllllle.’ Now, I will read the same sentence as a fluent reader does: ‘The very sad turtle was stuck in a mud puddle.’ Do you see a difference in the two ways I read the sentence? Why wouldn’t the first way be a good way for us to read?  That is certainly right. If we read that choppy or that slow it is hard for us to remember exactly what we read.

“Ok, everyone listen as I read a new sentence. ‘Jill had to give her dirty cat a bath.’ Now, did I read that as a non-fluent reader or fluent reader? Why? Very Good! I read very smoothly therefore I was considered fluent.”

3) I will then remind students how to use the cover up technique and model this. This will be helpful when decoding the text. I will write the word swims on the board and use my cover up to model how to decode the word. If I am not sure what a word is I would cover up everything but the i, (cover up all other letters).” Sound out the short i = /i/ sound. “Next I will look at the letters leading to our vowel, s=/s/, w=/w/. Last, I will look at the end of our word and blend the sounds.  “With s-w-i-m-s, you read the word swims. From now on when you come across a difficult word, you can use your handy dandy cover- up.”

4) We will be reading the book Fuzz and the Buzz to practice our fluency. I will have a booktalk asking the students questions relating to them such as, “What kind of animals make buzzing sounds? And Have you ever heard a bumblebee buzz?” I will remind students about cross checking and model this. I will explain it is a helpful way fluent readers better understand what they are reading. When they run into an unfamiliar word they do not automatically recognize readers should use their cover up to sound the word out. “After you figure out the correct pronunciation of these words, go back and read the sentence over again to see that it makes sense. If the sentence does not make sense with your word, try and sound it out again until you have a word that makes sense in the sentence. If you still have not decided how to pronounce a word correctly after asking one person next to you, you may come to me and we will try to come up with the correct pronunciation.” I will then model reading the book to the class as a fluent reader.

5) “I am going to put you into groups of two and give each of you a book and each group a stop watch. One person should be the reader while the other is the designated timer then you will switch. Do not skip any words because I want to see how many words you can each read smoothly in one minute. At one minute put a sticker where you left off then, count the number of words you read and write the number down for me. I expect you to each take turns until you have both read three times.” I will be around the class to assist with anything as needed during this time.


I will have each student bring their chart they completed with their partner to me and review them, marking the students improvements. I will have them read the book to me and take notes on miscues and fluency such as, reading smooth, not so smooth, quick, not so quick, and pausing. To see that the students comprehended the text, I will ask the following questions:

What kind of animal is Fuzz?

How does the buzzing make Fuzz feel?

What does Fuzz decide to do at the end?



Holzapfel, Kim (2006). The Buzzing Bumblebee.

Tew, Melanie (2006). Fluency is Too Cool for School.

(1990). Phonics Reader Short Vowel, Fuzz and the Buzz. Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.

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