It's a Good Day to Start Reading Fluently

Danielle Ivey

Growing Independence and Fluency



It is important for students to become fluent so they can recognize words automatically.  Students must read decodable books over and over again to become fluent readers who can read with expression to gain confidence in their reading ability. In this lesson, students will read, reread and do timed partner readings to improve their fluency.



Dry erase board, dry erase marker, cover-up critters for each pair of students, a book for each pair of students (James and the Good Day), a stopwatch or kitchen timer for each pair of students, a reading graph for each student.

(The cover-up critter is made from a Popsicle stick with little googly eyes glued on)

(Each student will have his or her own reading graph made from graph paper that will track their reading.)



1. I will begin this lesson by explaining to students the importance of becoming fluent readers. "Today, we are going to talk about something that is very important to our reading: fluency. I know you may struggle with some words and it is hard, but this is how we learn new words. Pretty soon, after reading books over and over again, you will be able to recognize words without any trouble."


2. Next I am going to write the sentence "My dog likes to run in the park" on the dry erase board. "I am going to use my decoding skills to read this sentence, but I need your help." Start to read the sentence, "My dog llllliiiii… Ok, I need your help. What could we do to try and figure out this word? (Allow the students to respond). Correct, we could use our cover-up critters to help us figure out the word." Then we will use the cover-up critter to finish decoding the rest of the words in the sentence. I will explain to them how we use our cover-up critters. We put them over a word and uncover each letter individually while sounding them out and then blending them together.


3. Since it is important for students to read and reread words many times to improve their fluency, I will have the students reread this sentence a couple of times. "Ok, now I want you to read this sentence to me…My dog likes to run in the park. Now, let's read it together. Great job!"


4. Then I will explain to the students how important it is to read with expression once they have mastered the words. "Once you have learned the words in a sentence, you then must read the sentence with expression. Expression adds meaning to the sentence and then to the story you are reading." I will then write another sentence on the dry erase board: The tug boat is in the bath tub. "Ok students, I am going to read this sentence the first time without any expression and then I will reread the sentence with expression and I want you to tell me the difference you hear." (I will wait for them to respond.) This will let them hear the difference of reading with and without expression and reading with expression leads to reading fluently. After reading the sentence without and then with expression, I will explain to the students that it is important for them to read with expression so they will comprehend the story and become more fluent readers.


5. "Today we are going to read the book James and the Good Day. James is looking forward to playing all day long. He decided to play in the bathtub with his tug boat. But what happens when he isn't paying attention? Let's read the story to find out. Remember once you have read the book a couple of times, I want you to practice reading with expression."


6. Then I will divide the class into pairs. "You have done such a great job helping me read fluently, so now I want you to try. I am going to put you into pairs and I want you and your partner to read the book once silently. After you have read the book once to yourself, I want one person to read while your partner times you for one minute and then records how many words you read on a graph. You will take turns and will each read the story three times and then you will record your partner three times. Does everyone understand?"



"I will call you up to my desk one at a time and have you read to me. I know that you are going to read fluently and with expression since you have practiced with your partner. I can't wait to hear you read." I will also look at each student's fluency graph to assess their progress.



James and the Good Day. Educational Insights. Carson, CA.1990. 9 pp.


Murray, Dr. Bruce. How to develop reading fluency.

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