Sailing to Fluency 

sailboat animation

Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Cabray Rauschenberg


Rationale: This lesson will help children develop fluency as they read. To be fluent, it is important for children to automatically recognize words correctly in order to increase comprehension. This lesson focuses on developing a student's ability to read quickly and smoothly so that they can understand the text better. With a partner, students will conduct one minute reads on the same book three times each in order to develop fluency.



Cover-up stick (1 for each student)  


Dry Erase Markers

1 book of Bud the Sub for each group

Stopwatch for each group

Fluency Chart-Sailboat sailing across the sea (# of words) to an island (Assessment)

          One Minute Read Chart (1 per student)

          Fluency Rubric (1 per student)

One Minute Read Chart:

          Name: __________________            Date: _____________

          1st Minute: ______________

          2nd Minute: ______________

          3rd Minute: ______________


Fluency Rubric:

          Reader: _________________     Listener: _________________     Date: ___________

I noticed that my partner: (Put an X in the blank)

                                      After 2nd      After 3rd

Read faster                    _______     _______    

          Read smoother               _______     _______

          Read with expression              _______     _______

          Remembered more words        _______     _______



1. Say: Today, we are going to work on developing our fluency when we read. In order to be successful readers, we have to learn how to read fluently. When we read fluently, we recognize words automatically which helps with comprehending a story because you do not have to sound out each word.

2. Give each student a cover-up stick. Write the word "clock" on the board. Model how to read the word using the cover-up stick. "First, we look at the vowel. It says /o/. Now look at the c. /c/ Add the l sound. /cl/. Put the /o/ and /cl/ together to get /clo/. Now we add the /ck/ sound. We get cl-o-ck."

3. Write the word "brick" on the board and sound it out together as a class.

4. Write the sentence "Chad has a dog." on the board. "First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency. Ccchhaaadd hhhhaaassss a ddddoooogggg. Next, I am going to read the sentence with fluency. Chad…has…a…dog. Do you hear the difference between reading with and without fluency?" Read sentence again. "Chad has a dog. This time I read the sentence with fluency. The more that you read the more fluent you will become.

5. Say: Another way to help us with understanding a sentence is by crosschecking. For example, if I read a sentence 'Dad rap across the street.' I would go back and check the word 'rap' because Dad can't rap across the street. After crosschecking, I see that the sentence is 'Dad ran across the street.'

6. Pair students up into groups of two. Pass out the book Bud the Sub and a stopwatch to each group. Each student also gets a One Minute Read Chart and a fluency chart. Give book talk: "Bud is a submarine. He and his driver save broken boats. They go to help a tug boat that hit something. Will they make it in time? Will they able to pull him to safety?" Read story aloud to the class with them following along.

7. In each group, one student will be the reader and the other will be the timer. Explain: "We are going to work on developing our fluency by rereading during timed reads. You are going to see how much you can read in one minute. The timer will start the stopwatch as the reader begins to read. At one minute, the timer tells the reader to stop. You can't skip any words. At the end of the minute, count the number of words that you got correct, and mark it on your sailboat fluency chart. Swap jobs with your partner. Repeat until each has read three times." Be sure to model how to use a stopwatch and fill out the rubrics.

8. To assess how they are doing, I will call up each student to my desk one at a time and have them do a one-minute read with me from Bud the Sub. I will make miscue notes and count the number of words they read correctly and mark it on their fluency chart. I will also ask some comprehension questions to see if they understand the story:

a.     Who is Bud's boss?

b.     What does Bud rescue?

c.      Is Bud successful?


Liles, Sarah Frances. "Red is Ready to Read".

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