Growing Independence and Fluency


By: Jenni Prescott


RATIONALE: Once children have learned how to decode text, the next step is for them to learn how to read fluently and with expression. In order for students to become fluent readers they must read decodable text multiple times.  Rereading texts allows for students to become familiar with the text, which in turns helps them read it more fluently and comprehend the story better.  Once a student can read fluently, they can add expression, which also helps them understand the text better.  This lesson focuses on students developing the skills to read more fluently and also helps them learn to read with expression. 



 Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Williams, c.2003

   White board with sentence "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus" written on it.

  Pencils for each student


 cards with ?, !, .

 Cover-up critters for each student (Popsicle stick with googly-eyes on, allows student to cover parts of word)

 One copy per child of Kite Day at Pine Lake by Shelia Cushman and Rona Kornblum c.1990. (or any other decodable text children will be able to read)

 Punctuation worksheet (in resources)

 Assessment checklist given by the teach to check speed, smoothness, and fluency. The checklist will contain the following information:

-How many word the child read in one minute?

-How many words the child read accurately?

-What were the words the child struggled with?

 Checklist given to each child to evaluate partner on how to evaluate reader.   






 Have students come sit on floor in front of you. 'Good morning boys and girls. How are you today."(This should be read with no expression.) "Did anyone notice a difference in my voice when I just greeted you?  How did it sound? Was it fun to listen too or was it kind of boring? Well I did that to show you why it is important to speak and read with expression.  Today we are going to be learning not only about how to read with expression but also how to read more fluently. What I mean by that is I am going to help learn to read quicker, smoother, and with more expression!"  Take questions on the matter.

"I want everyone to look up on the board. I am going to read this sentence one time through, like it is my first time ever reading it, ready. D-D-o-on-t l-l-e-e-t th-e p-pi-pig-pig-eon d-d-r-iv-e th-e b-b-u-s. Was that fun to listen too? It was really slow and choppy wasn't it? Now I am going to read it faster.  Don't let the pigeon drive the bus. Was that easier and more enjoyable to listen too?  By listening to those two sentences can you see why it is important to read fluently? I was able to read faster and smoother because I have practiced a lot and know the words.  We need you to practice in order to get better.  Practice is the only way to get better! Just like you practice a musical instrument or practice playing a sport.  Every time you do it, you get better. The same with reading!"

"We also need to read with expression to help us understand the story we are reading.  Let us review our punctuation marks.  Raise your hand if you know what this is?(hold up card with a period). What does this indicate, or tell you what to do? Good, it tells you to stop at the sentence, and it usually is read with just a normal voice. What about this card? (hold up card with a ?) What does it indicate? Good, this question mark means that the sentence is asking a question. And we must change our voice a little to show this while we are reading out loud.(Give example of how you change your voice and ask a question.)  Now does anyone know what this is? (hold up ! card) What do you do when you see this? Great! You read with excitement, either happy, scared, nervous. Any other expressions you can read with?"

"Ok, let's practice putting punctuation marks behind this sentence on the board. I already read "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus." to you. Now I want to say this sentence with A LOT of excitement. What mark would I put? ___ why don't you come up here and put the exclamation mark at the end of sentence. What if I said this as a question. What mark would I use? Very good, _____ why don' you go put the ? on the board."

"Now that we have reviewed these punctuation marks I"m going to read you a story with a lot of expression. "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" is about a little pigeon who very badly wants to drive a bus.  He asks you, the reader, to give him permission.  Do you think the reader gives him permission to drive? Well, let's read on to see! Pay attention to how I change my voice and read very smoothly, you all will be readers like this very soon!" (Read "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!")  Did you like this book?  Why did you like it? Did I read it well where you could understand it but it also had a lot of expression?"

"Now I am going to place you in pairs and I want you to read to each other Kite Day at Pine Lake. Has anyone ever flown a kite before? Flying kites is so much fun to me! This book is a story about children who love to fly kites.  They have kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors! One child is upset though because he does not have a kite. I wonder what will happen.  Let's read and find out! First everyone needs to read it to themselves.  Each of you will have this check list. While one of you reads the other is going to evaluate. (Explain how check list works to students. If they read like the animal then the child gets a check.) You will each take turns, I want you to read it 3 times! I know it sounds like a lot, but I think you will all be surprised at the difference between your first and third reading. (teacher puts students in pairs) I am going to walk around to make sure everyone is doing okay. Remember if you get stuck on a word you can always use your cover up critter to help you decode the word. (Coverup critters are used to help decode a word. Start with the vowel. Then move to the letters before the vowel, blend them together. Then put the letter after the vowel all together.  This should help a student decode a word.) Please begin reading silently now and then once both of you have read through silently, began reading aloud.



After each group has finished reading and filling out their checklist they will let the teacher know.  The teacher will then have children individually come up to the desk and they will read.  Teacher will assess the student on his fluency.  The checklist will contain the following information: how many words the child read in one minute, how many words the child read accurately, what words the child struggled with.  By doing this, teacher will know the areas that the child is having difficulties on.

While teacher is doing assessment, students will finish their checklist and began working on a worksheet that'll help them with their punctuation endings. If student finishes all this work, he may read the decodable books at his table silently. 





1. Punctuation Worksheet  http://www.superteacherworkshee

2. Up Up and Away With Reading by: Laura Lee Nevins

Developing Reading Fluency; Reading Genie

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Williams c. 2003. Hyperion Books for Children/ New York

Kite Day at Pine Lake. Shelia Cushman and Rona Kornblum c.1990


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