Flipping and Flopping with Fluency

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Lindsey Taylor


Rationale:  In order for students to become successful readers, they must learn to read fluently. Fluency is the ability to decode words automatically and effortlessly. In order for children to read with fluency, they must practice reading.  Once students are able to recognize words automatically through practice, they are more likely able to comprehend the text they are reading. The main goal of reading is comprehension; students must be fluent readers to comprehend text.  This lesson is designed to give students repeated readings of texts that will enable them to become more fluent readers.



-Sentence strips: The little green frog hopped off the lily pad to try to catch a fly.

   The toad sat on the log while he waited on the frog.

-Tape for sentence strips

-The book Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel (enough copies for each student)

-A stopwatch (enough for each set of partners)

-Speed Reading Fluency Checklist (enough for each student)-Attached



1. Discuss different decoding strategies that the students can use while reading. For example, discuss the importance of cover ups and cross checking. "It is important to use strategies that can help us while we are reading.  If you can't seem to figure out a word, you can use your cover up critter and uncover the word a little at a time to help you figure out the word.  It's also important to crosscheck your sentences to make sure they make sense. And if for some reason you can't figure out what something means, you can always reread to figure out what is going on. Remember the self-help strategies as we go through our lesson"


2 Discuss the importance of being fluent readers.  "Today we are going to learn how to become more fluent readers.  A fluent reader is someone who can read sentences smoothly without stopping or pausing between words. It will be easy for us to understand what we are reading if we don't have to stop in between words. The way we will become fluent readers is through practice.  We will practice reading our books more than once and we will time ourselves while reading those books.  The more we read our books, the more comfortable we will become with them.  And pretty soon we will be able to read with speed and ease!!"


3. Demonstrate a fluent and non-fluent reader. (Tape sentence strips up on the board: The little green frog hopped off the lily pad to try to catch a fly/ The toad sat on the log while he waited on the frog). "I am going to read this sentence the way a fluent reader would read it. 'The little green frog hopped off the lily pad to try to catch a fly'. Now I am going to show you how a non-fluent reader would read this same sentence. 'Thhhee lllittle ggreeennn ffrrroooog hoooppppped ooooffffff thhee lllilly paaad toooo trrryyy to caaatch a fllly.' Did you hear the difference between the two different ways I read them? Which sentence was easier for you to understand? Right! If I read every sentence slow and choppy, like I read it the second time, it's harder for me to remember what I have read! But if I read every sentence the way I read the first sentence, it's easier for me to remember what I have read and I'll know what's going on in the story. Now I want you to listen to this sentence as I read it. 'The toad sat on the log while he waited on the frog.' Did I read that sentence like a fluent reader or a non-fluent reader? Great!! I read it smoothly like a fluent reader would! To get better with fluent reading you practice.


4. Explain to the children that they will be working in partners to help practice fluent reading. "Now today we will be reading the book Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel.  This book is about a frog and a toad who are very good friends! They love doing all kinds of fun things together, but they sometimes get into mischief while doing all these fun things. Have any of you gotten into mischief while playing with your friends? Well I want you to read this book and see what kind of fun and mischief they get into. It might be the same kinds of things you get into with your friends!! But you'll have to read to find out! Just as a reminder, you might come to a word that you are not quite familiar with. But that is okay! What do we do when we come to a word like this? Right! We use our cover up to help us decode it.  Then we cross check to make sure that the word makes sense in the sentence. Finally you will reread the sentence to get back into the story.


5. Pair students with their partners and explain to them that they will be doing one- minute reads. "Ok now I will give each set of partners 2 books, a stopwatch, and this sheet to each partner. (Hold up the speed reading fluency checklist) Do not forget that the first thing you will need to write on this is your name and then your partner's name. Once you have done that, trade sheets.  On this sheet, you will record the number of words your partner reads in one minute. The reader will read as many words as they can while their partner times them for one minute. After the reader reads 3 different times for one minute each, you will switch and do the same thing. On the bottom, there is a part that says 'Did my partner: read smoothly? Read faster? And comprehend?' You will circle 'yes' or 'no' for these. Use your best judgment. If your partner read more words the thirds time, you would circle 'yes' for read faster. In order to know if they comprehended the story, ask a few questions to see if they understood it. If you need any help with your fluency checklists, raise your hand and I will come to you This is not going to give you or your partner a bad grade; it is simply to help us practice fluency so that we can become better readers.  So be honest and do your best!"


Assessment: In order to individually assess the students I will use the speed reading fluency checklist. I will have each child read a section of, Days with Frog and Toad, to me while I time them for one minute. I will use the same format that I gave the children to use with their partners. I will be taking notes on how smoothly and accurately each student reads to me as well as writing the number of words they were able to read in these one-minute intervals. After having them read, I will ask a few questions to measure their comprehension. I will look to both the sheet I use to evaluate them as well as the sheet they had with their partner to help measure their progress. Comparing the two sheets will give me an idea of where they stand and where we need to go from here.

Speed Reading Fluency Checklist

Name of Reader:                                

Name of Partner:                                

                                Words read 1st time:                         

                                Words read 2nd time:                       

                                Words read 3rd time:                        

Did my partner:

                                                Circle one

                                -Read smoothly?           Yes           No

                                -Read Faster?               Yes           No

                          -Comprehend?                Yes           No


Lobel, Arnold.  Days with Frog and Toad,  Harper Collins Children's Books, (1984). 

      Montgomery, Morgan. "Take the Fluency Test With Henry and Mudge!"


Olk, Katie. "Hopping into Fluent Reading


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