Reading like a Pro!

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

By Scottie Ferree



Rationale: While it is very important that young learners learn how to read through decoding methods, it is also important to become aware of other ways they can read. Decoding can be slow and difficult, and may hinder a child’s reading comprehension, due to its long time frame. In order to effectively speed this process up, we, as teachers, can come up with ways to teach fluency instruction in our classrooms. Fluency instruction helps us to turn newly encountered words into automatically recognized words, or sight words. The method of repeated reading allows our students to move forward from being only able to decode words slowly, to automatic word recognition. Repeated readings allow for our students’ reading to become effortless. This lesson, "Reading like a Pro" helps to direct children to using strategies that help them build their sight word vocabulary through the use of crosschecking for meaning, repeated readings of texts, and charting their progress in paired reading with partners in order to help them sustain the motivation to reread books, and also to understand them.


Materials: Stopwatches for each pair of students, Fluency graphs for each child, star stickers, Class set of Toot and Puddle , Fluency checklist, Reader response form



Explain the activity:

Say: Class, Today we are going to be learning how we can pick up speed when we are reading, so that we can read books as smoothly and as naturally as we can. When we talk in everyday conversation, we do not break up all of the words in our sentences, do we? Right, we don’t! So we need to learn how we can make the words that we read in books run just as smoothly. When we can read smoothly, it is easy to understand the words and get much more interested in what is going on within our stories!


Model fluent and non-fluent readings.

Say: I am going to let you all listen to me read a short passage from Toot and Puddle aloud two times. When I am done, I want you all to vote on which time my reading sounded better. Keep in mind, how do people talk in normal conversation!? (1) Toot de-ck-i-d-ed, to set off on his bi-j-j-est trip ever…hmmm did he "deck-ide" or did Toot de-side- decide yes that sounds right, to set off on his bi-jj-est? hmmm no that doesn’t sound right but "big- est" biggest yes that sounds right, trip ever. See how I made sense of what I was reading because I knew that those words did not sound right when I read them outloud? I had to finish reading my whole sentence in order for me to figure out that they did not sound right! (2) So let me try reading this passage one more time, and reading those words in the ways that I corrected myself when I read them. One day in January, Toot decided to set off on his biggest trip ever. He decided to see the world.

(Ask for a show of hands.) Who liked listening to my first reading? How about the second one? Why did the second time sound better to you? That’s right, it sounded better because I did not have to stop and try and figure out any of the words I was reading. I was learning how to read my passage fluently, like a pro!


Review a Strategy:

Say: Did anyone notice that when I read the passage from Toot and Puddle I used a strategy of crosschecking when I couldn’t figure out a word? What I did was I finished my sentence to see if I could figure out my own pronunciation of some new tough words that had some difficult letters, like the "g" in biggest, and the "c" in decided. At first I pronounced those letters as I think that I have heard them pronounced in most words before, but then I realized that I wasn’t pronouncing them correctly when I figured out that I knew what word they actually were because I crosschecked when I read through the rest of my sentence.


Practice together:

Say: Let’s try reading the next line on the page together as a class. I see one tough new word in the next sentence. (choral read:) "March meant maple syrup. Puddle wished Toot were there to taste the pancakes." I heard some of you were having trouble reading "meant", but I noticed how most people crosschecked with the rest of the sentence in order to figure it out!


Motivate to Read:

Say: Before we get any further, let me tell you a little bit about Toot and Puddle. They are great friends. But Toot wants to travel the world. Puddle, on the other hand, he wants to just stay warm and comfy at home. Toot loves to keep Puddle informed on his travels through postcards (show them as you are turning the pages) and Puddle loves to entertain himself at home. When Toot and Puddle come back together, they cannot wait to tell one another all about their adventures during their time apart.


Explain the new procedure for paired practice

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

Say: Here is what we will do next.

1. I want everyone to pair up with your reading buddy; one buddy can come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklists and two reader response forms from my desk, and then return to your reading places. While one buddy is doing this, the other buddy will count all of the words in this book and put that number at the top of the checklist form.

2. Take 3 turns reading the book to each other. While one reads, the other partner will use the stopwatch to time your partner’s readings.

Also, I want you to pay close attention to how many mistakes your partner makes each time they read. Make tallies like this (show line tally method on the board III) for each mistake.

3. Then do a subtraction problem the total number of words minus the number of tallies for each reading. That number goes on this line:____words in_____seconds

4. 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.

5. When you are done timing each other, you can discuss the answers to the reader response questions. Then each of you will write your answers on a separate sheet of paper back at your desks.

6. When you turn in your papers and checklists, I will give you a graph and three stars. I will figure out your three rates and after putting your name at the top your stars will go in the time spaces to show your reading rates.

7. You’ll put your completed star chart on the front bulletin board on the fluency poster.



Grades are computed using point system as follows:

-Followed directions for completing forms: +1

-Improved in speed: +2

-Improved in accuracy: +2

-Answered 4 questions with complete sentences: +3

-Answers accurate/ appropriate: +2

-Total Points: +10











________________Reading Rate








WPM       1      2      3



Partner Reading Progress Sheet

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

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

1. Why do you think Puddle did not want to go away on adventures around the world with Toot?

2. What kinds of adventures did Toot go on, and how were they different from Puddle’s adventures?

3. How did Toot keep in touch with Puddle?

4. Talk about a time when you did something different from all of your friends, but still had a wonderful time?





Hobbie, Holly. (1997). Toot and Puddle. New York: Little, Brown and Company.


Lesson Design Resources:

Geri Murray, Reading is a Breeze

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