Making Fluency Fun   

A lesson on Improving Reading Fluency

By: Caroline Duffy



Rationale:  This lesson will help students to improve their reading fluency.  When students read fluently they are able to read with automatic word recognition.  Also, when a student is a fluent reader they are able to read text quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  Research shows that the best indicator of increasing fluency is by implementing repeated readings.  During this lesson, students will be able to increase their fluency through repeated readings and timed readings.  Using the fluency formula to find how many words they read per minute will assess their fluency:  Words X 60 /amount of seconds it took them to read.



1.      Loose-leaf paper (2 sheets per student)

2.      Pencils (enough for every class member)

3.      Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth (enough copies for everyone in the class)

4.      Timer (1 for teacher & 1 per pair of students)

5.      Fluency Checklist (1 for every student; example at bottom of materials)

6.      Reading Time Sheet (1 for every student; example at bottom of materials)

7.      Sentence Strip: We're going to be talking about different careers you can have when you grow up.

8.      Cover-Up Critters (class set)- can be made of popsicle sticks that are any color with two googly eyes clued to one end. They resemble critters that can also be used as a tool to cover up parts of words when decoding.


Speed Reading Progress Sheet:


 Name: _______________________    Partner's Name: ___________________


 How many words read:


1st Read:


2nd Read:


3rd Read:


Chart of Fluency:


 Name:_____________________           Partner's Name____________________


My Partner: ( Put x's under time)


                                                            After 2nd time:                         After 3rd time:


Read Faster:



Read more smoothly:    



Read with expression:



Read the most words:




1.      Say: During today’s lesson we are going to practice how to become a fluent reader.  A fluent reader is someone who can read quickly, clearly, and smoothly, so that a story is comprehendible.  Also, a fluent reader can read with expression so that stories are more interesting.

2.      Teacher places following sentence strip on the document camera for entire class to see: We’re going to be talking about different careers you can have when you grow up.  First, read the sentence as follows, w-w-e-e-‘-r-r-e-e g-g-o-o-i-i-n-n-g-g t-t-o-o b-b-e-e t-t-a-a-l-l-k-k-i-i-n-n-g-g a-a-b-b-o-o-u-u-t-t d-d-i-i-f-f-f-f-e-e-r-r-e-e-n-n-t-t c-c-a-a-r-r-e-e-e-e-r-r-s-s y-y-o-o-u-u c-c-a-a-n-n h-h-a-a-v-v-e-e w-w-h-h-e-e-n-n y-y-o-o-u-u g-g-r-r-o-o-w-w u-u-p-p.  Next, read it again fluently and with expression, We’re going to be talking about different careers you can have when you grow up!  Ask the class the following questions, were you able to tell a difference in my reading between the first and second time I read the sentence?  If they answer yes, how was it different?  If they say no, ask them if you should reread both readings again?  Listen to responses and then ask, which reading was easier to understand?  Yes, the second reading was easier because I was able to read the words smoothly and with expression.

3.      Say: Have you ever come across a word you did not know when you are reading?  I know I have!  There are several strategies you can use to help you figure out an unknown word.  One of the more helpful strategies is using a cover-up critter.  I will show you an example.  Write the word blend on the board.  First, I am going to find the vowel and cover-up all the other letters.  The vowel is e and I know that short e makes /e/.  Next, I will uncover all the letters before the vowel, which in this case is b-l, which including the vowel I will pronounce as /b//l//e/.  Then, I will uncover the rest of the word and sound it out, /n//d/.  Now, I will put all the sounds together, /b//l//e//n//d/.  If the cover-up critter does not help you solve the unknown word you may ask a friend for help.   

4.      Before you begin the reading engage the students with a book talk for the story, Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth, by Barbara Park.  Book talk- Junie B. is having a rough week.  First, she got in trouble with her mouth in kindergarten.  Now her mouth has gotten her in trouble again! Junie B. said that for job day she had the best job of all. Now we have to read the story to find out what her job is!

5.      Now: The teacher passes a copy of the book, Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth, out to each student in the class.  The teacher says: I am going to read chapter 1 to you. After the first reading, tell the students I am going to reread that chapter to you.  This time I want you to be looking for the following things: Am I reading faster? Do I remember more words? Am I reading with more expression? Am I reading more smoothly? After the students have answered the questions discuss the following: In repeated readings, the text becomes more familiar each time you read it, which makes it easier for you to read the story with expression and understand the content of the story.

6.      Say: Now I am going to tell you about the activity we will be doing today.  It is a rereading activity.  For the activity, I am going to break you into assigned pairs and place you in a spot in the room.  Each group will receive a timer, a copy of Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth, two pencils, two reading time sheets, and two fluency literacy checklists.

7.      At this point in the lesson, the teacher will take time to explain how one member of the pair will be the reader and the other will be the recorder.  Once the reader has finished reading the partners will switch jobs.  First, the reader will open the book to chapter 2 and wait for their partner to tell them to begin reading.  The recorder will start the timer when the reader begins reading and let it run until their partner has finished the chapter.  Be sure to stop the timer as soon as your partner finishes reading.  Then, the recorder will record that time on their time sheet under 1st time.  Now the reader will reread the passage.  Then, the recorder will record the time for the second reading.  Next, the recorder will complete the fluency checklist.  The reader will reread the chapter for a third time.  Then, the recorder will fill in the time and complete the checklist for the last time.  Now, the reader and recorder will switch jobs.  They will repeat the same steps until the new reader has read chapter 3 three times and the recorder has recorded all three times and completed fluency checklists after the second and third readings.

8.      Say: To clear up any confusion before the activity I am going to model an example before we begin.  Would anyone like to raise his or her hand to volunteer to be my partner?

9.      Now break the class into pairs and let them begin.  While the students are working, walk around the room and monitor what the recorders are writing down after each reading.

10.  After all the groups have completed the activity bring the class back to their seats.  The teacher will collect all the time sheets and fluency checklists.  Ask the students to take out paper and a pencil.  Then, ask them to write their name at the top along with the chapter number that they read.  Now, ask them to write a summary on the chapter that they read.  When they students are done they will turn their summaries in to the teacher.

11.  The teacher will assess each student in several ways.  First, the teacher will look at the time sheets and fluency checklists to see how each student improved through the course of the repeated readings.  Next, they will calculate each students Words Per Minute (WPM) by using the fluency formula: words x 60 / amount of seconds it took to read.  Third, the teacher will review their chapter summaries to see if the students were reading fluently enough to comprehend the text.  Lastly, the teacher will use any mental notes taken during the lesson to assess whether or not the students increased their reading fluency.

12.  Optional Activity: If the teacher feels that the students benefitted from the lesson and would like them to continue practice in increasing reading fluency the teacher could assign the following homework assignment.  Have the student take home a copy of Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth and have the student repeat the repeated reading process with a parent or guardian.  The student will read chapter four, three times.  After each reading the recorder will have to record the time it took for the student to read the chapter.  After the second and third reading the recorder will complete the fluency checklist.  Lastly, the students will write a summary of chapter four.  Then, the students will bring all of their work to school the next day to turn in to the teacher.




Campbell, Magen. Fluent Readers are Fabulous!


Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth. Barbara Park. Random House Inc 1993.


Murray, Bruce. The Reading Genie "Developing Reading Fluency"

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