Three is Better than One!


Laura Ruth Langham

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale:  A fluent reader must read with automaticity.  That means the reader should be able to recognize words in the text with little effort and be able to quickly decode unfamiliar words.  A successful reader must be able to decode the text and comprehend what they are reading.  If the reader can do both of those things, then they will gain an understanding of what the author is trying to portray.  In this lesson, the students will work in pairs to work with automatic word recognition.  The students will participate in rereading activities to work with automatic word recognition.



- Overhead projector

- Typed sentence 'I can not wait to go to the fair!' on transparency

- Copy of the book Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle ISBN 0-06-024309-0 (for the teacher)

- Copy of the book Zack's Alligator by Shirley Mozelle ISBN 0-06-024309-0 (per pair of students) - Make sure the book is marked off word groups of ten to make it easy for the students to count the words read by their partner

-Stopwatch (to time one-minute reads)

- Piece of paper (per student)

- Pencil (per student)

- List of students' names (for marking notes during assessment)

- Fluency checklist for each student

  1st observation     2nd observation

       _______               _______           Remembered more words

       _______               _______           Read faster

       _______               _______           Read Smoother

       _______               _______           Read with expression

- Clipboard

- Pen (for taking notes on students)



1. Tell the students "Today we will work with a teammate to improve our reading.  I want you to listen to how I read the following sentence three different times.  [Display sentence on the overhead] [Read choppy and with no expression]  I can... I can not wait... wAAAt to go... to the... faaa...  faaaiii... fair. [Read smoothly but with no expression] I can not wait to go to the fair. [Read smoothly and with excitement] I can not wait to go to the fair!  Which way sounded the best? Who thinks the first way? Who thinks the second way? Who thinks the third way?  Right!  After I read the sentence a couple of times, the sentence started to sound better!  I used rereading the sentence to work on my automatic word recognition and fluency.  After I was able to recognize the words, I was able to better understand what I was reading and what the author was trying to portray!"


2. Remind the students "When I have difficulty with a word, I can use by finger to cover up different parts of the word.  When I break the word into parts to read it, I am decoding the word.  By rereading the sentence after decoding the words, I can better understand what the author is trying to tell me.  Also, I can reread the sentence to make sure that what I read makes sense.  That means that I cross-check my reading!"


3. "I want you to watch as I read this section from a story."  Read page 14 from Zack's Alligator.  The first time you read, read with a struggle and choppy.  Tell the students that you are going to reread to see if it sounds better.  Read the second time smoothly, but without expression.  Tell the students that you are going to try again.  Read with expression and smoothly.  After the third read, explain to the students the excitement of what you read. "Did everyone see how the story was brought to life with the expression? Dialogue allows the reader to read with extra expression. By rereading I was able to understand what the author was trying to tell me.  Also, I used decoding to read the text, but it was the rereading that helped with my comprehension of the text.  The words were a lot easier after my last attempt at the story."


4. Pair the students up.  Give each group a copy of Zack's Alligator.  Make sure that you have marked the words off by groups of ten in each book.  Tell the students to quietly read to their partner when you say go.  Tell them they will have one minute to read as far as they can but that it is important to understand what they are reading.  Tell the student that is not reading to pay attention to the way their partner is reading and how far they read.  Start the students on their reading.  Have the student that did not read write down how many sections the student read (how many groups of ten they read).  Now tell the students they will practice using their rereading strategy to see if it helps with their automoticity.  Start the students again for one minute.  Have the nonreader write down how many sections the student read this time and if they noticed anything else exceptional about the reading (more expression, more words read, smoother reading, and more correct words).  Remind the students that we are always positive in the classroom and to only write down nice things. Have the students reread the text one more time for a minute.  Have the nonreader write down comments like the last trial.  Have the partners switch roles and repeat the exercise. After both partners go, have the students exchange their comments and notice how the rereading helped them.


5. Now that the students have started Zack's Alligator, have the first partner of the group read to the nonreader the entire story.  After they finish, let the partner read the text out loud.  Tell the students to each read the story again.


6. For the assessment of the student, you will walk around the room as the students read Zack's Alligator for a third time.  You will have a list of the students.  Complete the following checklist.


1st observation     2nd observation

     _______               _______           Remembered more words

     _______               _______           Read faster

     _______               _______           Read smoother

     _______               _______           Read with expression


Mark down any above average or below average paces for the students.  Make sure to listen to each child read two or more times to make sure they are displaying the same results throughout the text.



Mozelle, Shirley. Zack's Alligator.  Harper & Row: 1989. Illust. Watts, James. ISBN 0-6-024309-0.

White, Amy. 1-2-3 GO!

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