Fun With Fluency!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Liz Cosper

Rationale: Reading fluency is being able to read with automatic word recognition.  When readers become fluent their ability to read text quick, smooth, and with expression will increase.  The strongest research evidence supports the method of repeated reading to gain fluency.  The goal of this lesson is to improve student’s fluency through repeated readings and timed reading.

Materials: Student copies of The Car Trip by Matt Sims; Stopwatch or timer for teacher and each student; Fluency Checklist for each student (see bottom); Reading Record time sheet for each student (see bottom); Cover-up Critter for each student (popsicle stick with eyes); Sentence strip that reads: I really like being with my parents.; Pencils for each student


1. The teacher should introduce the lesson by saying “We are going to be learning how to become better fluent readers today.  Teachers should explain to the students what fluent reading means by saying “Fluent reading is when students can read with expression to make the story more interesting.  Fluent readers have the ability to read smooth and quick!”

2. I will put the sentence strip on the board that reads: Liz really likes being with her parents.  I will read the sentence in fluency “L-l-l-i-i-i-z-z-z r-e-a-a-a-l-l-l-y l-i-i-k-e-s b-e-e-i-n-g w-w-i-t-h h-h-e-e-r p-a-r-e-e-n-t-t-s. Now, I will read the sentence smoothly and with expression.  Ask the class, “Can you tell a difference between the first time I read and the second time I read?” (I will wait for student’s response.)  “Which time was harder for you to understand? Yes!! When I read the first time you could barely understand the sentence I was forming.  You could not understand because I was not reading with fluency.  Today we are really going to focus on reading smoothly, with expression, and faster so that others can understand what we are reading.

3. “When you are reading and you come across a word that you do not know, you can use your cover-up critter to figure out the word.  I will show you an example.”  I will write the first word, strain, on the board.  “First, I am going to find a vowel and cover-up all the other letters.  The vowel is A, and I know that long a makes the /A/ sound.  Then I will uncover all the letters before the vowel, which in this case is s-t-r.  I will pronounce that /s/t/r/A/. Then I will uncover the rest of the word and sound it out, /n/.  If the cover-up critter does not work, you may try asking your partner for help.”

4. I will engage the students in a book talk about the story The Car Trip.  Book talk: “A boy by the name of Roy and his dad go on a trip.  Roy and his dad start from New York and are going to head west.  On the third day of the trip, Roy and his dad get a flat tire while driving.  We need to read to see what happens to Roy and his dad on their trip!!!!!

5. The teacher should now tell the students about their re-reading activity.  Make sure to explain to the students that because of repeated readings, reading gets easier and the words start to jump off of the page at you. Also explain that a repeated reading makes the story easier to understand.

6. The teacher should now pair up students and assign them different spots in the room.  Make sure that each pair of students receives a fluency literacy rubric, a timer, a copy of Dem Bones, and a reading time sheet. 

7. The teacher needs to take time to explain that one student will be the reader and the other student will be the recorder.  “Once you have finished reading, you will switch jobs and listen to your partner read.  The first person to read will open the book and wait for your partner to tell you to start.  The person that is the recorder will start the timer and let it run until the partner has finished the entire book.  Be sure to stop the timer when your partner is finished.  I want you to record that time on your Timer Record Sheet.  Then, you will go through the fluency checklist.  After finishing the checklist and the Record Sheet, you will then switch jobs with your partner.  The person that was recording will now be the reader.”

8. I am going to ask for a volunteer to come in front of the class, and we will model the steps quickly.

9. The teacher should float around the room to make sure that students are writing on their Time Record Sheet and Fluency Checklist. 

10. The students will assess each other by looking over the Fluency Checklist and the Time Record Sheet.  The teacher should use the formula: words x 60/seconds.  The teacher should receive this information from the Time Record Sheet that is completed by each student’s partner.  The teacher will also have each student write a small paragraph summary of the text after they are done working with his or her partner.  This writing activity will help the teacher to understand which students need more help with fluency, as well as, the students that comprehend the text. 


Time Record Sheet:

Name: _______________________________

Date: ________________________________


1st Time: ____________________

2nd Time: ____________________

3rd Time: ____________________


Fluency Literacy Rubric:

Name: ____________________________

Evaluator: _________________________ 

Date: ____________________________

I noticed that my partner…. Check the space 

_____ Remembered more words

_____Read Faster

_____ Read Smoother

_____ Read with expression



1) Time Record Sheet

2) Fluency Checklist

3) Small Paragraph Summary


Magen Campbell “Fluent Readers are Fabulous”

The Care Trip. Matt Sims. High Noon Books 2001


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