Fluent Lesson Design

Brittney McKissick


Students will learn to read more fluently after repeated readings.  They will read the same story three times.  They will learn how important it is to be able to read fluently; therefore, they will strive to be a fluent reader.


The purpose of fluency is for students to be able to recognize words automatically.  Words are added to students' sight vocabulary when words are read and re-read.  Students learn more words through repeated readings; therefore, they are better able to comprehend the story and read with expression.  In this lesson, students will have practice re-reading text, thus becoming more fluent readers.  This lesson will also show students how important it is for them to be fluent readers.


Copies of the book for each student The Train Trip By:  Geri Murray (link in the reference section)
Stop watch for each pair of students
Cover-up critter for each student (i.e., a popsicle stick with eyes)
Speed Reading Record for each student (shown below)
Partner Check Sheet for each student (shown below)
Pencils for each student


Speed Reading Record:

    Name: _________________________            Date: ___________


                        - After 1st read            _______

                        - After 2nd read           _______

                        - After 3rd read            _______

Partner Check Sheet:

Name: ________ Partner: ______________ Date: _________

I noticed that my partner... (check the circle)

After 2nd           after 3rd

( )                     ( )                     Remembered more words

( )                     ( )                     Read faster

( )                     ( )                     Read smoother

( )                     ( )                     Read with expression




1.  To start the lesson, make sure the students understand why they will be doing repeated readings and the importance of fluent reading.  Boys and girls, it is very important for you to be fluent readers, so you will be able to read things accurately at an appropriate speed.  We will be working on becoming more fluent at reading today.  One way to do that is to read the same story several times.  Each time you read the story, try to read it a little faster. 

2.  Teach the students how to use the cover-up critter to figure out unfamiliar words.  Does anyone remember the strategy we use when we are reading and there is an unfamiliar word?  Call on students if they raise their hand.  This will let the teacher know who remembers the strategy.  That is correct!  Here is an example of the strategy, in case any one forgot how to do it.  Write smash on the board.  I have a word on the board that is unfamiliar.  I am going to use my cover-up critter to help me figure out this word.  I am going to cover-up all of the letters besides the vowel 'a', which says /a/.  Next, I will look at the letters in front of the vowel, which are /s/- /m, /sm/.  Then, I will look at the letters after the vowel, which is /sh/.  Now, I will blend it all together, /sma/ /sh/ = smash.  The cover-up critter helped me figure out the unfamiliar word I ran across while I read.  Make sure you use the cover-up critter to help you figure out unfamiliar words while you read.   

3.  Now, model fluent reading for the students, so they will understand how a fluent reader should read.  Write this sentence on the board:  "The train went very fast!"  I am going to read this sentence like a fluent reader.  Read this sentence slow, like: The-train-went-very-fast.  Boys and girls, do you think I sounded like a fluent reader as I read this sentence.  They should all start saying no.  Then ask, why do you not think it was like a fluent reader.  How can I fix it?  Then, reader the sentence with more fluency.  Get the students to compare the difference between the two readings.  Ask the students, can you tell how the first sentence was choppy, but the second time it was smoother and a lot easier to understand.  If helped me to read fluently when I was able to automatically recognize the words.

4.  Give every student a copy of The Train Trip.  They will read the story one time individually before doing timed readings with a partner.  Give the students this book talk:  Tim's friend Nate is coming on a train to see him.  He was working hard to get every thing ready for the visit.  He asked his sister, Jan, to help him, but instead, she painted her nails.  His dad agreed to take him to meet his friend.  Nate fell asleep on the train.  Will he wake up in time, or will his miss his stop?  To find out, you will have to read The Train Trip.  After the students read the story, talk about the story events as a whole class. 

5.  Now, the students will break in pairs.  Make sure each group has a stop watch, and every student needs a Partner Check Sheet and Speed Reading Record.  Each student will read the book three times.  The partner will time the reading and report after the second and third readings.  They times of the readings will be recorded on the Speed Reading Record.  The reports should always be complements.  The students should not criticize or give the students advice.  You will read the book three times with a partner.  Your partner will time each reading and record it on the Speed Reading Record.  After the second and third readings, your partner will make marks on the Partner Check Sheet.  Tell the students your rules about criticism, advice, etc. 


Get the students to turn in their Partner Check Sheets and Speed Reading Records to the teacher.  The teacher needs to do one-minute reads with every student to determine how many words they are reading a minute and to see if they improved on their fluency.  Then, ask the student some comprehension questions to make sure they actually understood the story, instead of concentration on trying to read faster. 


Ogubie, Alexis.  Ride Your Way to Fluency.

Murray, Geri.  The Train Trip.,1,The Train Trip by Geri Murray

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