Get Fired Up For Fluency
Gaining Fluency Lesson Design
Christy Turner

    Fluency is a critical skill for every reader to master.  Fluent readers recognize words easily and automatically, and read these words with expression.  In order to develop fluency, students should read and reread decodable texts so that the words become sight words to the student, and thus, automatic.  By becoming fluent readers, students develop a higher rate of comprehension as well.  


1.  Speed Reading Record for each student
2.  Partner check sheet for each student
3.  Stop Watches - one for each pair of students
4.  Pencils for students
5.  Whiteboard
6.  Marker
7.  Coverup buddies for each student (a colored popsicle stick with eyes on the end)
8.  Copies of the book for each student or pair of students:   What Will the Seal Eat?  By Sheila Cushman & Rona Kornblum.  Illustrated by Bob Brugger

Speed Reading Record:
       Name:_________________________            Date:___________
                        -After 1st read            _______
                        -After 2nd read           _______
                        -After 3rd read            _______
Partner Check Sheet for students to assess their partner's fluency:
As I listened to my partner read, he/she:
                                                                           After 2nd           After 3rd
                        1. Remembered more words         _______          _______
                        2. Read faster                               _______          _______
                        3. Read smoother                          _______          _______
                        4. Read with expression                 _______          _______

1. I will introduce this lesson by first explaining what a fluent reader is.  "Today, we are going to practice reading and become more fluent.  Can anybody tell me what fluency is?  Great job!  Fluent readers read words quickly, automatically, and with expression.” [I will then write the sentence, “Sally can jump more than three feet in the air!” on the board.  Next, I will demonstrate how beginning readers would read the sentence and then how a fluent reader would read it,]    “Okay, let’s look at this sentence.  If a beginning reader was reading this sentence it may sound something like, ‘S-aaa-lly can j-jump more than th-th-ree-three feet in the –arrr-errr-air.’  Now is that easy to understand?  No.  If a fluent reader was reading this sentence, it may sound like ‘Sally can jump more than THREE FEET in the air!!’ What differences did you notice between the beginning reader and the fluent readers reading of the sentence?  Right.  Good job.   How do you think that a beginning reader can become a fluent reader?  Right, by practicing.  The more practice you have, the more fluent you can become.”  

2. After introducing fluency, the definition of fluency, and the difference between it and beginning readers, we will go over the cover-up strategy that the students can use while reading.  "Okay, what can we do when we come across a word that we don’t know while we read?  Right, we use cover-ups.  For example if I was reading my book and I came across … (write frame on the board) and didn’t know what it was,  I would cover-up all of the letters (f, r, m) except for the vowels a because I know that a_e = /A/.  Now let’s  look at the letters that come before a_e, which are fr.  If we blended these phonemes with the a_e sound, what would it sound like?  Right, it would sound like f/r/A.  Then if we blended the letters with the letter that’s between a and e, what would it sound like?  Good job!  It would sound like f/r/A/m.  So whenever we’re reading and we come across a tough word that we may have never seen before, what method do we use?  Right!  The Cover-Up Method!”

3. We will then move on to crosschecking.  I will explain to the students that, "Reading fast isn’t the only thing that we need to understand what we read.  We have to learn how to crosscheck what we read so that we can make sure that the sentence we just read makes sense.  For example, if I came across … (Sally ran and ran all the way home.) in a book and I read it as “Sally run and run all the way home”, I would have to use my crosschecking skills to make sure that the sentence made sense.  Does “Sally run and run all the way home” make sense?  No, so I will go back, and look at my vowel, a=/a/, and correct myself.

4. I will then split up my class into partners and pass out our book, What Will the Seal Eat?, to each child, along with a Fluency Rubric and One Minute Read Chart to each individual child.  After everybody has their materials that they need for the lesson, I will give a book talk on What Will the Seal Eat?  “This book is called What Will the Seal Eat?  The seal needs to eat, but he doesn’t know where to find food.  He goes to many different places to find food, but he doesn’t like anything that they have.  Will he find food?  Where do you think he’ll find it?”

5. Finally, I will instruct my students on how to complete the fluency activity.  “You and your partner are going to take turns reading to each other so that you can get some practice reading with fluency.  Do you remember what fluency is?  Right!  Fluency means reading with expression and without stalling on words.  Okay, now the first time you read through the book, I want you to read it only to yourself.  After you read the book to yourself, then you can read it to your partner.  One of you will read, and the other will record the results; then you will switch jobs.  While the reader reads, the recorder will fill in the fluency checklist after their partner's second and third reading.  So, how many times should you read your book?  Right!  Three times.  Are there any questions about the activity before we begin?"

Assessment:  I will assess this lesson by having each student turn in their Speed Reading Record and their Partner Checklist.  I will then have each student do one-minute reads with me so that I can check for accuracy of the partner work.

Cushman, Sheila and Rona Kornblum. What Will the Seal Eat? 1990.

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency

Ward, Maribeth.  Fly Away With Fluency.

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