Hit a Home Run!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Katie DeFoor


Rationale: Children need to be able to understand what they are reading.  In order for a child to understand what they are reading they also need to be able to read with fluency as well as be able to read for comprehension.  It is also important that children learn to read by themselves without any help from adults. 


stopwatch (1 per group)

1 copy of Di and the Mice (by Sheila Cushman & Roan Kornblum, c 1990) per child

1 copy of the speed reading record sheet per child

1 copy of the fluency literacy rubric

dry erase board

marker to review cover-ups with the children

record sheet

colored popsicle sticks per child

googly eyes per child


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. I will introduce the lesson by explaining that in order to become better readers; we must begin to read quickly and automatically or fluently.  "Did everyone know that we understand and read a book better because we are fluent readers?  Do you know how we can become fluent readers?  One way is to read a book several times because it helps us read the book faster and smoother."
  2. "Does anyone know a way we can try to figure out what a word is while we are reading?  Sometimes we use Cover-up Critters to help us!"  (Pass out popsicle sticks and googly eyes to make Cover-up Critter)  "Now I am going to write a word on the board and we are going to use our Critters to help us figure out the word."  Write the word smile on the board.  "Okay, now the first thing we need to do is cover up everything but the i. (Cover sm, and l).  I know that i_e=I so I know that this is going to have a /I/.  Now let’s look at the letters before i.  We have sm and sm=/sm/.  Let’s put it all together and get /smi/.  Now let’s see what letter comes after i.  We have l and we know l=/l/.  Now we put it all together to get smile.  Great job!  Now every time you struggle with a word you can use your critter to help you read it.  Make sure you start with the vowel first."
  3. Now I will show the children the difference between reading a sentence fluently and not reading it fluently.  I will write the sentence "The dog and the cat chased each other all day."  I will read it very slowly at first to show them how a reader who is not fluent would read it.  Then I would read it more fluently and faster to show how a fluent reader would read it.  I will read it very smoothly and will not stutter or slow down.  I will ask, "Did anyone notice the difference in how I read the sentence?  Could you tell that one was more smooth than the other?  Right, the smoother reading was a more fluent reading and that's how we want to read.  Is it easier to understand when its read faster and smoother?  That's right it is!"
  4. "Everyone is going to get a book called Di and the Mice.  Di decides to take a bike ride.  She goes to sit down and eat.  She notices something white beside her.  What could it be?"  Students will read the book individually and then have a class discussion afterwards to determine comprehension.
  5. "Now I am going to put everyone in pairs of two.  When you are in your in pairs, one of you is going to be the reader and the other will be the recorder. The reader will read the book for one minute three different times. The recorder will start and stop a stop watch and will announce when it is the time to begin and end after the end of one minute. The recorder will also write down the number of words read in one minute on the record sheet. After the reader has read three times, you will swap it up and do the same thing again."  The students will use speed reading record sheet and fluency literacy rubric.  They will fill these out after recording the one minute read-aloud.


I will work with each child one-on-one at the end and have them read a passage to me.  I will check their fluency at this time. 


Reading Genie site

Jennifer Adams "Off to the Races" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/innov/adamsgf.html

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