Building Fluency while Building Snowmen  

Fluency Lesson Design

Abbie Simpson

Rationale: Students begin reading very slowly; however they become faster with decoding as their word recognition speed increases. The focus of fluency with children is for them to be able to focus on comprehending instead of struggling to decode words. Children began to read faster, read with more expression, and read more independently as they become fluent readers. It helps children become better fluent readers when they read and reread text that is decodable. Through repeated readings and one minute reads, students will gain fluency from this lesson. 


Book: Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan  for every student in class.

Dry erase board

Dry erase markers

Progress chart for each student

Stopwatch for each student in class

One minute record chart for each student in class

Fluency rubric charts for each student in class

Cover-up critters if needed by students

One Minute Record Chart:

Name: ___________________________                   Date: ________________

1st minute: ________

2nd minute: ________

3rd minute: ________

Fluency Rubric Chart:


1. To begin the lesson, I will ask the students what they think fluent readers do. I will explain to the students that fluent readers read fast and also read with expression. Then I will explain the difference in beginner readers and fluent readers. I will write a sentence on the dry erase program, I like to play in snow. Ask your students how a beginner reader might read this sentence. "Very good boys and girls a beginner might sound like this I llllliiiiiiikkkkkkeeeee like tttttooooooo to ppppllllaaayyy play iiiinnnn in sssssnnnnooooowwww snow." "Some beginner readers may stumble over words that they do not recognize." Model for students how a reader would read the sentence with out expression. 'Listen to the way I say the sentence, I like to play in snow." 'Do you think that I showed expression when reading the sentence that time?" "No, I did not use any expression when I read the sentence, a lot of times readers will read a sentence fast but they will not read with any expression." Model for students how a fluent reader would read the sentence. "Listen to how a fluent reader would read this sentence, I like to play in the snow." "Today boys and girls we are going to practice on becoming fluent readers." "If we read and reread book it will help us become more fluent with our reading." "Let's begin practicing."

2. I will begin by reviewing with the class how they can use cover-ups to help them decode words. Write the word, plan, on the dry erase board. "Will someone show me how we use our cover-up critters to help us decode words that we may not know?" "Look at the word I wrote on the board and show me how we can use the cover-up critter." "Good job we start with our short vowel /a/, we then cover up the letter a  and the letters that follow it so we would cover the letters a and n." 'Now we are going to look at the letters p and l, when we blend those letters we get the pl sound." "Now we are going to add our short vowel /a/ with the p and l." "What sound do we get when we blend those three letters together?" "Good job we get the pla sound." "Now cover up the letters p,l,and a let's focus on the letter n which is the last letter in the word." "What sound does the letter n make?" "Very good it makes the /n/ sound, let's try to blend all of the sounds together now to read this word." /p/ /l/ /a/ /n/. "Good job every one you did a good job decoding and blending."

 3. Write the sentence, he makes a big mess, on the dry erase board. "When becoming fluent readers we do not just need to keep our focus on reading fast." 'If I read this sentence He makes a big mass, I can use my crosschecking skills to determine if the sentence makes sense or not." "After reading my sentence I know that it does not make sense because you can not make a big mass, so I will reread my sentence again but correctly this time: He makes a big mess.

4. "Now I am going to pass out to each of you a copy of the book Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan.  I will also pass out a one record chart and a fluency rubric chart to each of you as well." Give a book talk to your students about Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan. Henry and his dog, Mudge, see that there is a snowman building contest on Saturday.  Henry gets excited and runs home to ask his father if they can enter.  When Henry and Mudge arrive at home, Henry's father is painting a chair green; however, there is more green paint on the father than on the chair.  Henrys father says that it is alright to enter the contest, so Saturday Henry, Mudge, and the Father go to contest and build their snowman.  There are many different kinds of snowmen, cat snowmen, families of snowmen, and even an Abraham Lincoln snowman.  When the judges get to Henry and his father's snowman, they ask what it is? "You are going to have to read the book to find out what kind of snowman Henry and his father built and whether or not the judges like it."

 5. Partner the students up with students that are close to their reading level. "Between you and your partner decide which of you will be the reader and which one of you will be the recorder?" "If you are the reader you are going to read as many words in the book as you can in one minute. If you are the recorder you are going to write or record how many words your partner reads in one minute. If you are the recorder make sure that you record the number of words your partner reads on the one minute record sheet." "The reader will have three chances to read as many words as they can in one minute." "The reader will be able to move their monkey closer and closer to the bananas in the tree based on the number of words they read correctly." "After the reader has read three times swap roles and allow the recorder to now be able to read as many words as they can in one minute." Model for you students how to complete this task by reading as many words as you the teacher can in one minute and then record your time on the one minute record sheet.

6. Have the students read the book one more time by themselves. After each of them finishes reading the book one more time you are going to fill out the fluency rubric chart on your partner." Model for your students how to record on the fluency rubric chart. "If you are the reader you are going to read the book again and after you have finished reading the record will fill out the first part of the fluency rubric chart." "Then after the first reader has finished swap roles with your partner and repeat the process." 

7. Have the students read the book two more times, and then have them repeat the process one last time. "After your partner has read the book for the third time, fill out the second part of the fluency rubric chart, and swap roles one last time." Have a group discussion with the class on how they thought they improved with their fluency by reading the book with their partners more than once.

 8. Finally collect all of the one minute record charts and the fluency rubrics. The teacher will assess the students by having each student read a passage from the book Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan to me in the reading center for one minute. I will check the fluency of the students by using a one minute record sheet. I am also going to check the students' comprehension of the story by asking them questions about their reading from the story. While I am working with one student at a time on their one minute reading the rest of the students will be reading a book independently and practicing on their fluency.


Goodwin, Candace. (2008). Smooth Sailing Through Reading: Fluency Lesson Design. Passages.

Rylant, Cynthia. (2002). Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan. Scholastic: New York, NY.

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