Horton Hears a What? ... A Fluent Reader!

Growing Independence and Fluency
Cambre Prater


Rational: It is important for readers to become automatic readers. This will allow readers to become more fluent due to their reading becoming faster smoother and more expressive.  Fluency is a student’s ability to read accurately and automatically.  As a result of fluency being honed, and increased, students are able to begin reading silently and twice as fast.  In this lesson, we will work on gaining fluency through repeated reading, timed reading, and one-minute reads (I will demonstrate each of these).  All of these activities provide practice to help increase fluency.






1. I will first start out by explaining what fluency is and what we are going to do today: “Okay boys and girls, today we are going to discuss something called fluency.  Does anyone know what being a fluent reader means?

“Very good! It means learning to read easily, with expression and with a good speed! To become fluent readers though you have to practice, so that is what we are going to do today!

“I am going to show you the difference between a fluent and non-fluent reader.  I am going to read this sentence that is on the board first without fluency:

“Th-e  b-o-y  h-a-s  a  r-e-d  h-a-t  o-n  h-i-s  h-ea-d!”  Was that kind of hard to understand?  That is because I was not reading it fast and smooth! Now I am going to read it fluently (point to each word as I read), “The boy has a red hat on his head.” Now how was it when I read that sentence? It was a lot easer to understand wasn’t it because I read it fast and smooth!  Now you see how important being a fluent reader is! Reading fluently can be hard, that is why we have to practice.  When you get to a word you do not know, remember you can cross check to figure out the tricky word, use your cover up critter or figure out the vowel sound first and then put together the rest of the word.

2. Next I will work on one- minute readings. I will split the class up into pairs, and pass out, Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Suess, the “Speedy Reading Sheet”, and a laminated copy of Horton and a Who.

3. Once the class is in pairs I will explain to them that one of them will be the “reader”, while the other is the “recorder.”  Once the first person has read, they will switch jobs! I will explain that I am going to be the timer and I will watch the clock and stop the reader after one minute goes by.  Then, the reader will put their finger on the last word they read and the recorder will count how many words the reader read and record it on the “Speedy Reading Sheet.” The recorder will also move the Who up Horton’s back as the reader reads more and more words in a minute.  Now they will switch roles and the recorder will now become the new reader.

4. Allow the students to repeat this 3 more times so you can average the results.

5. After the class has finished their one-minute reads, I will read the entire book to the children so they will know how it ends! We will discuss it and then talk about how listening to it read fluently makes it more enjoyable to listen to and easier to understand.

6. For the assessment I will take up all of the children’s sheets to see how they did. Hopefully they will have gotten a little better over time.  We will do this activity more than once so I will be able to compare their results over more of a long range amount of time. 



Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

White, Amy. “1-2-3 Go!!!” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/odysseys/freemangf.html

Barton, Kimberly.  “Speedy Gonzalez Reading” http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/odysseys/bartongf.html

“Developing Reading Fluency” on The Reading Genie.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html.

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