Bounding into Fluency: Growing Independence and Fluency

rabbit gif photo: rabbit gif egg57.gif

By: Beth Harrelson

Fluency Design


Rationale: The main goal of reading is essentially comprehension and understanding text that is read.  Fluency, a skill needed to comprehend texts, is the ability to identify words accurately, rapidly, and automatically, and is read at the rate in which you speak. To gain fluency, students need to read and reread the same text multiple times so that they will learn to recognize all of the words automatically. When students read with partners, they have each other to help decode words and it allows them to practice reading aloud.

Materials: Student copies of "Frog and Toad are Friends," whiteboard, whiteboard markers, student copies of rubric sheet, individual stopwatches for students, cover-up critters


1. Explain to the students what it means to be a fluent reader. "To be fluent readers we need to read with expression, which means that we put feeling and emotion in our voice; we need to read smoothly and rapidly, at a speaking speed." Explain to students that today will be a reading and rereading day because rereading the text helps to build fluency in readers.

2. The teacher should then model what building fluency looks like by writing a sentence on the board, "Frog and toad are friends." "f-f-f-r-r-o-o-g-g     a-n-n-n-d-d    t-t-t-o-o-a-a-a-d-d-d     a-a-r-r-r-e-e-e    f-r-r-i-i-i-e-e-n-n-d-d-d-s." Next, the teacher should model saying the sentence fluently, "Now I am going to say the sentence fluently and with expression since I know what it says. 'Froggg and toaddd are friendsss'." "Now I am going to say the sentence with expression and more smoothly like a fluent reader would 'Frog and toad are friends.' Do you think the sentence sounded more understandable when I said it very slowly or when I said it with expression and smoothly?" The students should reply that it sounded better the last time you said it.

3. Say: "When you are doing repeated readings and you come across a word you do not recognize you can use your cover-up critter to help you sound it out." Teacher can model cover-up critter by writing 'frog' on board and saying "See that I am only uncovering one letter at a time. FFF-RRR-OOO-GGG.FROG! This cover-up critter will help you when you are reading with your partner during repeated reading."

4. "We are going to practice reading fluently with partners. I will give each of you a partner and with your partner you will each read "Frog and Toad are Friends" 3 times while your partner times how long it take you to read it. Each time you read it should take you less time and you should read with more expression! I will give you a piece of paper so you can mark how long it took your partner to read, if they read smoother, if they reader faster, and if they read with more expression. Make sure you put your name and your partners name at the top of your sheet. Remember that it is ok if your partner makes mistakes when reading. The cover-up critter can help you and each time you read you will get better at it!"

5. Engage the students in a book talk for "Frog and Toad are Friends." Frog is waiting for his best friend Toad to wake up from his long winter nap. When toad finally wakes up Frog and Toad do many fun things together. You are going to read to find out what fun things they do together!"

6. Pass out copies of text to each student along with rubric sheet for them to fill out. Have example rubric sheet at front of room in case students get confused.  Remind students not to interrupt partner while they read because it is timed and you do not want to take any of their time.

7. For assessment, the teacher will take up the rubric sheets and calculate each student's WPM with the formula: Words read x 60 / seconds taken to read. By calculating each individual's reading speed the teacher can see who needs more practice.


Goodson, Kristen. Hopping into Fluency.

Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. Harper Collins. 1990.

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



Rubric Examples:


Partner's Name:____________________   


First read time: ____________________________

Second read time: _________________________

Third read time: ___________________________



Circle if your partner read faster, smoother, and with expression after second read:

Read faster                                                Yes / No

Read smoother                                         Yes / No

Read with expression                              Yes / No


Circle if your partner read faster, smoother, and with expression after third read:

 Read faster                                               Yes / No

 Read smoother                                       Yes / No

 Read with expression                             Yes / No



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