Becoming A
Reading Wiz!

Growing Independence and Fluency
Lauren Long

Rationale:  One of the most important goals of becoming a successful reader is learning to be a reading wiz--how to read fluently!  In order for a child to become a more fluent reader, he or she should read a variety of texts and repeat readings on a regular basis.  In doing so, over time readers will become more confident in their reading abilities.  More confidence in reading ability often translates into an increase in voluntary reading!  The more fluent a reader becomes, the more he or she is able to read with automatic word recognition which in turn frees up resources for comprehension, and ultimately leads to faster, more expressive, and even silent reading (which is twice as fast as oral reading).

- Whiteboard or chalkboard
- Markers or chalk
- One Doc in the Fog text for each pair of students  ((1990).  Phonics Reader Short Vowel, Doc in the Fog.  Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.)
- Reading fluency check sheets (one per student, available on Reading Genie Website:
- Pencils
-Stopwatch (one per pair)


1.Explain: "Today, let's learn how to become fluent readers!  Has anyone ever heard of the word fluent?"  Give time for students to raise hands and answer.  "We become fluent readers when we don't have to stop and sound out a word, but we read quickly and with expression instead!  Don't you want to be able to do that?  Well, something that helps us to become fluent readers is reading a book and then rereading it again!  We're going to do a little bit of that now."

2.Write this sentence on the board: "Doc is a wiz."  Then read the sentence in an exaggerated manner, stretching out each sound in the word, modeling a reader that is not fluent.  "Let me read this sentence to you.  'Ddddddoooooccccc  iiiii-s a wi-wi-wiii-z wiz.'  Hmm.  Let me read this sentence again."  (Reread the sentence a little faster): "'D-oc i-s a wi-z.'  Hmm.  That sounded a little choppy.  Now that I've read the sentence a couple of times, I'm going to reread it again, this time with more expression: 'Doc is a wiz.'  When I read the sentence, which time sounded the best?  The first time, second time, or last time?  That's right!  The third time sounded the best because I read it to you quickly and with expression, so it was more interesting, right?"

3.Write this sentence on the board: "Doc has a wand." Have children practice reading the sentence out loud, and rereading it again and again each time making it more quickly and with more expression.  Have a few students come up to the board to model how to read the sentence fluently.

4.Divide the students into pairs.  Write a new sentence on the board: "Doc and his wand make magic."  Have them read the sentence to each other, taking turns. "You and your partner can take turns reading this sentence.  Make sure you listen closely and carefully to your partner when he or she reads.  Your partner can help you by giving tips on how you can read more quickly and with more expression." Allow students to take some time to read to their partners.  Walk around the room, listening closely to the partner activity, giving suggestions when necessary.

5.Ask the students: "What was the difference between the first few times your partner read the sentence and the last times your partner read the sentence?" Reiterate how rereading can lead to quicker, more expressive reading which is fluency.

6.Give a book talk about Doc in the Fog: "Does anyone know what a wizard is?  That's right--a wizard is a person who can use magic and do all kinds of tricks.  Has anyone ever been to a magic show before?  Well, today we are going to read a book called Doc in the Fog! Doc is a wiz, or wizard, who can use magic to turn objects into different things. Will his magic ever turn him into something?  Let's read the book and see what happens to Doc!"

7.Partner reading: Give one copy of Doc in the Fog and a stopwatch to each pair of partners.  Give each individual student his or her own check sheet to keep a record of his or her partner. 

8. "Each of you will take turns reading the story three times each.  You will take turns being the reader and then the listener."  The first time you can read the story to your partner.  And then you listen while your partner reads.  The second time you and your partner will take turns using the stopwatch to see how quickly and expressively you can read the story, starting the stopwatch when you start your second reading, and stopping the stopwatch when you finish that second reading.  After the second reading, you and your partner will use the check sheet to see if you remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression.  Make sure you and your partner write down the time it takes you to read the story on the stopwatch after you have finished your second reading!  You and your partner will do the same thing the third time, and the listener will fill in checks on the '3rd reading' column on the worksheet.  They will also time you again on your third reading and write down that time on the worksheet.  Then you can see how quickly you read and if you remembered more words and read more expressively as you reread the third time!"

9.After the partners take turns reading and rereading three times each, discuss the results with the class as a whole.  "How did you read the first time compared with the third time you read?  Looking at your check sheets and the amount of time each reading took, did you get better or worse at reading the text?  Did you read quicker, smoothly, and with more expression the first time you read, the second time you read, or the third time you read?"

10.Evaluation/Assessment: Study the check sheets and the checks in each column.  Also notice the amount of time it took each student to read the text.  Assessment can be based on the completion of the activity and noting the improvement each child had with each reading.  The students that did not show improvement during this activity will be the ones that will need further instruction and assistance with reading fluently.



(1990).  Phonics Reader Short Vowel, Doc in the Fog.  Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.
Larson, Carlie (2007). Lightning Speed Reading.

Murray, B Developing Reading Fluency.

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