Solving the Mystery of Fluency!

A Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Beth Anne Autrey


A. Rationale: Fluency is a crucial skill in the process of reading. It not only makes comprehension possible, but also helps us read more difficult texts. Scientific research has suggested that the most direct route to fluency is through repeated readings. This strategy helps in the transition from decoding to automatic word recognition. In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to read, and reread, decodable texts. They will apply their decoding strategies in order to gain more sight words and, therefore, become more fluent and expressive readers.

B. Materials:

1.     Copy of Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peeky Spying by Barbara Park for every student

2.     Stopwatch for each pair of students

3.     Cover-up critter for each student

4.     Poster with "I have a red car." and "The movie was scary."

5.     Copy of the sentence "He likes to run outside." for each pair of students.

6.     Copy of the Reader Response Questions for each student

7.     Fluency Checklist for each student


C. Procedures:

1) Explain the Activity:

Say: "Who wants to become an expert reader? Everyone right? Well today, we are going to learn just how we can do that! In order to become expert readers, we must first learn how to read fluently. Fluency is when we read words quickly and automatically. The main goal of fluency is to help with recognizing words. We can do that by turning those unfamiliar words into sight words through repeated readings.  Reading a text a few times helps us become more familiar with it and makes it possible for us to recognize the words easier.   

2) Review a Strategy:

Say:  "Let's practice what we would do if we came across a word that we don't know while we're reading. Remember this is called crosschecking. Look at the poster on the board: The movie was scary. Listen as I try to read the word scary in the sentence: The movie was    s-c-sc-a-a-r-y…. oh scary! If I came to a word I didn't know, like scary, I would use my cover up critter and start by finishing the sentence to see if it made sense.  The leaves are s/c/r/.  Hmm… /s/c/r/a/r/y/. Oh okay, like a scary mask! That sentence says: The movie was scary. Then I am going to reread the sentence so that I will get the word instantly the next time I see it."


3) Model Fluent and Non-fluent Reading:

Say: "Now I'm going to show you how a fluent reader sounds compared to a non-fluent reader. Let's look at the next sentence on the poster: I have a red car.  If I wasn't a fluent reader, I would read like this: I h-hhaaaavv a reeddd c-ccarr.  Did you understand what I was reading? Was it smooth and fast or slow and choppy? It was hard to remember and understand what I read because it was so slow.  Now listen to the difference when I read it fluently. I have a red car. Now I understand what I have read and got the message it was telling me! It is good to practice reading fluently so we can better understand what we are reading.


4) Practice Together

Say: “Now we are going to practice with your partner.  Practice reading this sentence with your partner: He likes to run outside. Read it until you are fluent at it and can understand what it means. "


 5) Motivate to Read:

Say: "Today we are going to read the first chapter in Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peeky Spying."  Book talk:Kindergartner, Junie B. Jones, is back with more crazy tricks and has decided that she wants to become a spy.  In order to do this, she realizes that she must master being quiet, hiding, using sneaky feet, and peeking at people through cracks.  However, in trying to become the “bestest spier in the world” her mom will not let her practice her spy moves! Lets find out if Junie B. Jones accomplishes becoming a secret spy!” Now, you are going to practice reading fluently with this story. You will read and reread it, trying to read faster each time but also making sure you still understand what you’re reading. The more you read the story, the easier it will be to decode and remember the words."  


6) Explain the New Procedure for Paired Practice:

As you explain, write the steps on the board of write them on chart paper before hand so the students can reference throughout the process. Also, hand out the materials before they begin.


Say: “Here’s what you are going to do next:”

1. Get with a partner.

2. Once your group has all your materials, one of you may begin to read while the other person checks your fluency using the stopwatch!

3. Then, you will switch.

4. Read the chapter three times, in hopes of becoming more fluent each time.

4. While you are reading, your partner will time you and record your total time at the end of the chapter on the reading time sheet I gave you.

5. Each time you reread, your partner should be looking to see if you are reading faster, smoother, remembering more words, and reading with expression and mark that on your sheet.

6.  When you are done reading and recording all three times, talk about the chapter with your partner. Ask questions such as: What happened in the story? What do you think will happen next? Did you like the story? What was your favorite part?


D. Assessment: Walk around the room to make sure they are on task and completing the activity, while also observing their reading fluency. Have the students turn in their score sheets after the repeated readings are finished. Calculate their scores based on the criteria below and graph each student's individual speed so they can see their improvement as time goes on.  You should assess words read per minute by using the formula words x 60/ seconds. In addition, once everyone finishes, hand out the reader response questions to each student so you can assess their comprehension.

Assessment Tools:             

Reader Response Questions

1. What two things made Junie B. Jones a good spy?


2. What else do you think could have helped her become a good spy?


3. Why did Ollie wake up?


4. What do you think is going to happen next?





E. Resources:

1. Murray, Geralyn. Growing Independence and Fluency Design: Reading is a Breeze!

2. The Reading Genie: Developing Reading Fluency Design: Smith, Blaire. Junie B. Jones is Captain Fluency

3. Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peeky Spying. 1994.

4. Book Talk Reference:

5. Reader Response Questions Reference:

6. Image Reference:

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