Take the Fluency Test With Henry and Mudge!

Dog Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

Morgan Montgomery


In order for children to reach the highest level of comprehension, they must become fluent readers. A fluent reader is someone who can read a text smoothly, more quickly, and with more expression than someone who has to spend time decoding words. In order to attain fluency, a student must repeatedly read texts while being timed (either with one-minute reads or another time deemed appropriate).


Dry Erase Board with Markers

Sentence Strips

                The dirty dog was covered with mud.

                Sam had to give his dirty dog a bath.

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

Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test (for each student)

Timer/stopwatch (for each group)


1. "Today, we will be learning to become more fluent readers. A fluent reader is someone who can read smoother without stopping as much between words. The more fluent readers we are, the better we will understand what we read because we won't have to stop to sound out words! The way we will practice becoming more fluent readers is by reading our books more than once. Then, we will time ourselves reading those books. The more we read our books, the more familiar we will become with those books."

2. "Now, I am going to show you how non-fluent readers and fluent readers read." Tape the sentence strips to the board. "A non-fluent reader would read the first sentence like this: 'The dirrrty dog was ccoooverred wwwith muud.' Now, I will show you how a fluent reader would read that same sentence: 'The dirty dog was covered with mud.' Do you see the difference between the two ways I read that sentence? Why do you think the first way might not be the best way for us to read? Right! If we read that slowly and choppy, we will not be able to remember what we read! Now, I want you to listen as I read a different sentence. 'Sam had to give his dirty dog a bath.' Did I read that sentence as a fluent or non-fluent reader? Great job! I was being a fluent reader when I read that sentence because I read it smoothly."

3. "We are going to read the book, Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test to help improve our fluency. In this book, Henry and Mudge notice how other dogs are so well-behaved. Henry begins to think that Mudge might need to go to a school to learn how to be a better dog. Today, we are going to practice becoming fluent readers to find out what happens to Mudge when he goes to school. As a reminder, when you are reading, you may come to a word that you are unfamiliar with. It's okay! Who can tell me what we need to do if we come to a word we do not know? Right! We will not skip the word. First, we will sound out the word. Then, we will cross-check to make sure the word fits into the sentence. Finally, we will re-read the sentence to make sure we understand what it is trying to tell us. Now, let's get into our groups and practice being fluent readers!"

4. Once students are in their groups, pass out Fluency Checklists. Explain to students how they will use checklists. "To practice fluency, we are going to see how much we can read in one minute. When you are not reading, you will follow along with your partner to see if they read smoothly, faster, with expression, and could remember what they read. Also, after every time that you read, you will record the number of words you read on your checklist. If you need help writing on your fluency checklist, raise your hand and I will come to help you."


In order to measure each child's success, I will have each child read the portion of Henry and Mudge and Take the Big Test to me again. I will take notes of how smoothly the child reads, as well as the number of words they read correctly/incorrectly. I will compare how they perform for me to their results on the fluency checklist to see what steps we need to take from this point.



Rylant, Cynthia (1991). Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test. New York: Bradbury Press.

Holzapfel, Kim (2006). The Buzzing Bumblebee.

Tew, Melanie (2006). Fluency is Too Cool for School. 

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