Swinging It Out of the Park

Cody Godwin

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale:  Children do not need to simply read words in books.  They need to be able to understand what exactly they are reading.  In order for a child to understand what they are reading they need to be able to read with fluency as well as.    In this lesson, the students will learn how to improve their fluency and reading accuracy by learning and using strategies such as cover ups critters and cross checking. (Make sure that you go over what the cover critters are used for and how to cross check).

Materials:  stopwatch (1 per group), cover up critters (1 for each child) are used to decode a word that is difficult for the reader, 1 copy per child of the book Lee and the Team, one copy per child of the fluency checklist (make sure that each partner understands the procedure of using the checklist), dry erase board and marker to review cover-ups with the children.



1. "Good afternoon children.  Today we are going to work on our reading fluency.  To read fluently you must be able to read with speed, but at the same time comprehend what you have read.  If you can read fluently, you might begin to enjoy reading even more than I know you already do."

2.  "Sometimes when we are reading we come to a word that we may not recognize or may not be able to figure it out.  What is one of the best ways to figure out a word that we may not know?  That's right, we can use cover-ups.  [Model to students how to use a cover up critter]Let's try and figure out the word "take."   Write the word 'take' on the white board.  "First I will notice that there is an a_e in there.  That makes the /A/ sound.  Then I will look at the letter t.  What does the letter t make?  /t/ is correct.  SO, let's put t and a together.  Let's add the k in there.  What does the letter k make?  That's right /k/.  Now let's put it all together.  /t/A/k/--take.  Wonderful job!

3.  Also review crosschecking with students as another helpful strategy for decoding unfamiliar words. Explain to students how they may use crosschecking. As example might be: "I am going to read a sentence from a book and show you how crosschecking can be helpful. The diesh ran away with the spun. Wait! That didn't make sense, let me go back and check. Oh, it was the dish ran away with the spoon."

4. "Before we read on our own I want to show you how we can learn to read with fluency.  This is a sentence out of our book.  'Thhee ttteaamm sssiitttsss iin the weeedss.'  Let me try again.  'Thee team siits in the weeeeds'. Not quite there yet, but the words are getting easier for me to read because I took the time to decode them."  (Read it but without expression).  "'The team sits in the weeds'.  That wasn't too exciting was it?  What should I do to make it sound more interesting?  That's right!  I need to read with expression!  Let me try one more time."  Now the teacher reads with expression.  "The team sits in the weeds." Ask the students the following questions:

    1) Which one sounded the best?

                2) What was different in each time that I read it?

4.  Now we are going to read a book in our pairs called Lee and the Team.  Lee is in charge of his baseball team.  But he has a problem! Nobody on the team wants to run.  How will Lee be able to get them to run?  I guess you'll have to read the book to find out.  Students will be given time to read the book independently and then the teacher will ask questions in a class discussion to check for comprehension.

5.   Students will then break up into pairs. Each pair will be given a stopwatch and a Partner Record sheet. The students will take turns reading as many words as fluently and accurately as possible in one minute. One student will read as the other one records, then they will switch. Allow them to switch several different times to be able to check their progress. Tell them, "I want each of you in your pairs to read the story out loud. One of you will start off as the timer and recorder while the other one tries to read as fluently and accurately as possible. Then, you will switch roles and do the same thing. You will end up reading this story at least two times with your partner. Make sure if you are recording and timing that you are just paying attention to how they are reading and the time. We do not make fun of each other's reading ability. I expect you to take your job seriously during this activity."

6. Assessment:  The students will each bring me their Speed Reading Record and their Partner Checklist. Each student will do one minute reads individually for me so that I can check for fluency and accuracy.  I will also evaluate the reading record and partner checklist they turned in. 


Cooper, Leigh


Lee and the Team.  Educational Insights Phonics Readers, 1990.  Long Vowels, Book 4.

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