Bananas for Fluency

Developing Reading Fluency
Jennifer Reinhart

Rationale.  Students increase their oral reading fluency by participating in a readers theater and practicing it multiple times before performing it with the class.  Students will also be able to recognize and read high-frequency words in the story.  Students will also be able to read sight vocabulary words in the story.  As the students reread their lines they will develop more fluency in their reading and be able to use their learned decoding skills to read harder words.



Strips of Jack and Jill

Paper with sentence I want to go out to play today

Paper with word Tim on it

decodable book, Jane and Babe


progress charts of Monkey and tree with bananas for one-minute reads

fluency checklists (1 per student)




1. We have been working hard on our reading skills.  Today we are going to work on something called fluency.  Fluency is being able to read fast and smooth, and with expression so that we can make the stories we read aloud more interesting.

2. The first time we read something we may not always know what the word is so we use our reading strategies to figure out the word.  What is one thing that we can use?  (Cover-ups)  Good we can use cover-ups to figure out words we don‰¥út know.  When we look at the word we cover up everything but the vowel.  Then we start with the first letter of the word and read one letter at a time until the end.  If we were trying to read the word Tim.  First I would look at the I and realize that I says /i/.  Next I would look at the first letter t that says /t/.  So I would say Tttttiiiii then add the last letter m.  /T/ /i/ /m/.  The next time we read those sentences we will be able to figure out the words easier by using cover-ups.

3. Can anyone think of other ways to help ourselves if we get stuck on a word. (Cross-checking)  Good!  When we read a sentence if we read something that didnt  make sense we go back and try to figure out what the word that didnt make sense would be.  When we figure out what the word is we can go back and reread the sentence to make sure it all makes sense.

4. Now that we know how to figure out a word we don‰¥út know we are going to work on reading fluency.  Let‰¥ús look at the sentence I want to go out and play today.  The first time I read this I might read it as I wwwwaaant, want to go out and pppllllaaaayyy todddaaayy.   The next time I read it I might say I want to go out and play (really fast).  The last time I read it I might say I want to go out and play today (with expression).  The third time I read the sentence I was able to read it fast and smoothly and with expression to make it sound more interesting.

5. Now we are going to do a small readers theater in our small group of four.  We are going to read Jack and Jill.  (Distribute each strip of paper with one sentence on it.)  First I want you to read your part to your partner three times to practice it.  Your partner is going to use a checklist to see how your reading improves the more you read your part.  Then your partner will read you their part 3 times. Next, you are going to take turns reading your part aloud to just me so I can make sure you are reading fluently.  Lastly, we will read the whole story together as a readers theater.

6. After we have done readers theater students will return to their seats and read silently a book of their choice.  One at a time I will call them up to do one minute reads of Jane and Babe.  They will read the book 3 times.  I will show them their progress by moving a monkey up a tree to get the bananas.  If they reach the goal I have set the monkey will get the bananas.  This will help me assess how much they improve after each reading.




Jack and Jill Text:

Reader 1: Jack and Jill went up the hill,

Reader 2: To fetch a pail of water,

Reader 1: Jack fell down and broke his crown

Reader 2: And Jill came tumbling after.



Phonics Readers LongVowels: Jane and Babe. (1990). Carson, CA (USA), St Albans, Herts. (UK): Educational Insights.

Carol. Readers Theatre K-3.

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