Smooth Sailing


Growing Independency and Fluency

Courtney Davis


Rationale: Fluency is important skill to master in reading. Fluency is when you can read more automatically because you have developed more sight words. This lesson will teach children that you become more fluent by reading then re- reading. Students will complete three one minute reads of the same passage to see how rereading helps you become familiar with more words.



            Beginning chapter book- I will use The Know- Nothings- you should have enough for at   least half the class.           

            Stopwatches or timers- enough for half the class *countdown timers work best.

            Class set of copies of these sentences- I like to hike in the woods.

                                                                         We will eat lunch and watch the bulls at the rodeo.

                                                                        You can cut the lawn after you do your homework.

            Chart for each student that can show how they moved up. I will use laminated sailboats and a laminated graph sheet so students can Velcro their sailboats

            to show progress and also reuse the chart with different books


            A piece of paper for the reader to record how many words were read each time to turn in so you can see progress


            An observation of the reader



            Dry Erase Board or Smart Board

            3 colors of highlighting tape

            cover- up critter (Popsicle stick with googly eyes)



1) Explain what fluency is, children need to know what it is and why it is important. Fluency in reading is when you are able to read more accurate and without trying very hard. It is important because you begin to understand the story when you are able to read it more smoothly.



2. I will then go over the cover-up technique with the students. I will remind them how we use our cover-up critter and how it helps us decode words we do not know. Say: Sometimes, we come across words that we do not know right away. Something we can use to help us figure these words out is to use our cover-up critter. I will show the class the cover-up critter and model how to decode a word using my cover-up critter. Let's see if we can use our cover-up critter to figure out this word. I will write the word slime on the whiteboard. Now watch what I do. I will cover up the sl and the m. I know that i_e says /I/, so next I will sound out what becomes before the vowel, which is sl. I will say each sound that these letters make, and then blend them together to get /sli/. Last, I will look at the end of the word m= /m/ and I will blend /sli/ together with /m/. So, the word is slime. This strategy of covering up the letters and starting with the vowel sound will help us figure out tricky words more easily. Therefore, next time you come across a word that does not look familiar to you, you can use your cover-up critter. The students should already have cover- up critters or should make one.


3) Say: Some ways we can become more fluent is by rereading to become more familiar with words. I am going to read this sentence two times and I want you to judge which one sounds the best. Write, I went to her house the other day, on the board. 1st time, say: I wwww-eee-nnn-tt, went, to hhh-eee-rrr, her, hhhh-oooouuuu-sss-e, house, the oooo-ttthhh-eee-rrr, other, dddd-aaayy, day. Then ask: Was that easy for me to read? No, it wasn't I need to reread to get better with those words. 2nd time: I w- ent to her h-ou-ssse the oth- er day. Ask: How did that sound? Right it did sound better, I still had to blend some words but I was able to read smoother because I was familiar with all the words. Which time was easier to understand? Right the 2nd it is easier to understand when you are reading more fluently.  The first time I read I was not fluent and it was hard to understand because all the words were chopped up but by rereading I was able to read the sentence smoother and it made more sense.  


4) Say: I am going to give you some sentences. Get with your partner and practice reading them and see how you get better when you reread. The first two times you whisper read and then the third time you and your partner can read aloud together. Give students copies of the sentences. Walk around and listen as students read to see if they are reading and to see if they are improving.


5) Say: Did you see how you get better as you read the same thing? We are going to do a couple of one minute reads using The Know- Nothings and you will chart your progress so you can see how it helps to reread.


6) You are going to get with your partner. One person will be the timer and the other will be the reader. The timer will time for one minute while the reader whisper reads or reads silently as many words as they can. You will put highlight tape on the last word you read. You will do this three times. Use a different color tape each time you read. The timer will count the words from each read and the reader will write them on his sheet and place his sailboat in the appropriate range. The timer will also observe the reader and fill out a checklist after each read. You will then switch spots.  After you both go you can finish the book together. Give a book talk: The Know- Nothings do not know anything except that they like each other. One of the Know- Nothings decided to cook lunch when she noticed one of them was missing. They searched until they found the missing Know- Nothing. They could never decide what to eat because the noodles were to hard even after they jumped on them, the banana would get cold if you took off his coat, and you had to go to France to get French fries. So they sat and waited for breakfast but it never came. Will the Know- nothings ever find something to eat? You will have to read to see.


7) Allow students to break off and remind them they need three small pieces of highlighting tape. Walk around as students read to make sure they are not having trouble and are staying on task.


8) Assessment: After students have read to each other, have them individually come up to your desk and read two one minute reads. Ask them questions about what they just read to see if they are gaining comprehension skills as well. Make notes for each student on what you noticed they did as they read and if they understood or were just reading. Also collect their graphs they made to see if improvements were made.

Return to Solutions Index.


Resources: Emily Cole. Hopping into Fluency.

Greer Montgomery. Read fast to Win the Race.

Spirn, Michele. The Know- Nothings. Harper Trophy: An I can Read book. 1995.