Growing Independence and Fluency

Alyson Cason

Rationale: Reading is a process.  It is one that can sometimes be slow and frustrating, but it is important for students to learn how to decode all words that they are reading, while still being fluent and comprehending what they are reading.  Fluency instruction helps new words become automatic and the method of repeating readings helps a student move forward from being a slow decoder to an effortless, automatic reader.  This lesson helps students build strategies to build automaticity and sight words through crosschecking for meaning, repeated readings, and charted progress in paired partner reading.



*Stopwatches for each pair of students

*fluency graphs for each child, star stickets

*class set of Put Me in the Zoo

*fluency checklist

*reader response form

 Partner Reading Progress

Total words in chapter_______



1 ________ words in ______ seconds

2 ________ words in ______seconds

3 ________ words in ______ seconds

Turn number that sounded smoothest _______

Turn number that had the fewest mistakes __________


 Reader Response                             Name____________________________

Directions: On a seperate sheet of paper, answer each questions with at least one complete sentence.

1. Why do you think the dog wanted to be a part of the zoo?

2. What would you think if you saw a dog in the zoo?

3. What would you have done if you were the zookeeper?

4. How would you have acted if you were any of the other animals in the zoo?







1)  Explain the activity


Say: Today we are going to learn how to read fast and smoothly, just as we do when we talk.  When we read smoothly, it is easier for us to understand the words in the story, therefore we will better know what is going on in the story.


2)  Model fluent and nonfluent reading


Say: I want you to vote on which way you liked me reading a passage better.  Listen closely as both times will sound different even though they are the same passage. 1) I will go in-to, into, the zo, zoo. I w-wan-want to see it, ye-yes, yes I d-doo. Sometimes I had to go back and re read each word after I got it so that the sentence would make sense.  Now does that sound better or does, 2) I will go into the zoo. I want to see it, yes I do sound better?


(Ask for a show of hands) Who liked the first way I read the passage? Who liked the second way? Why did the second way sound better to you? That’s right, because I didn’t have to go back and figure out any of the words by re reading or decoding them.


3)  Review a strategy


Say: Watch as I crosscheck the word "wonder."  Did you notice that I was crosschecking some of the words to make sure that "wonder" made sense in the sentence? What I did was finish the sentence to see if I could figure out the pronunciation of some of the words.


4)  Practice Together


Say: Let’s try reading a passage together as a class up on the smartboard. (choral read) “Will you keep me in the zoo? I want to stay in here with you.” I heard some people sounding out that word, “keep.”


5)  Motivate to read


Say: Before we go further, I want to tell you a little bit about the silly polka dot dog who wants to be a part of the zoo. They throw him out, but he continuously wants to be apart of the zoo, so they ask what tricks he can do.  What do you think his trick is? And will they let this silly big dog in the zoo?


6)  Explain the new procedure for paired practice


While explaining, write directions as steps on the board for students to refer to.

Say: Here's what you are going to do next.

1. Pair up with a buddy and come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklists and two reader response forms from my desk. Take turns with your buddy completing both of these tasks.

2. You will take turns usings a stopwatch to time your partner's readings as they read the chapter three times.

3. Keep up with how many mistakes your partner makes by making tally marks (show line tally method on the board lll).

4. Then do a subtraction problem from total number of words minus the number of tallies for each reading.  That number goes on this line:                Words in             seconds

5. After getting some progress measures figured out, answer the two questions on the progress form about which turn was the smoothest and which had the fewest errors.

6. When you are done timing each other, you can discuss the answers to the reader response questions.

7. Then each of you will write your own answers on a separate sheet of paper back at your desk.




Grades are computed using the point system below:


Followed direction for completing forms


Improved in speed


Improved in accuracy


Answered 4 questions with complete sentences


Answers accurate/appropriate


Total Points




































READING RATE________________









Lopshire, Robert. Put me in the Zoo.Random House Books for Young Readers. 1960.


Photo image from:


Developing Reading Fluency Design


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