Sliding into Fluent Reading

Growing Fluency and Independence

Elizabeth Thomas



It is important that children are given repeated readings with stories. Many students experience the difficult and slow process of decoding words. When a child is a slow reader, it will cause their reading comprehension to suffer. One way to help with this process is with fluency instruction. Fluency instruction will assist in turning unfamiliar words into sight words, which are automatically recognized words. This instruction can be taught through repeated reading. Repeated readings help children transition from decoding to automatic reading. This lesson design directs children to use strategies that build sight words by crosschecking for meaning, repeated reading of the selected story, and charting progress with a partner to promote motivation to reread and pass their prior results.



* Stopwatches for each pair of students                                                   

* fluency graphs for each child, star stickers

* class set of Max's Dragon Shirt

* fluency checklist

* reader response form



Reader Response                                                        Name:_________________________


1. How do you think Max felt when he was told that his favorite pair of pants are disgusting?



2. What would you feel like if you had to sit around while your brother or sister tried on a lot of clothes?



3. Explain how Max’s sister felt when she realized that Max was missing?



4. Write down about a time that you wanted something really bad and were able to get it.




1) Explain the activity:

Say: Today you are going to learn how to pick up speed while you're reading so you can read as smoothly and as naturally as you talk. When you can read smoothly, it's easy to understand the words and get interested in what's going on in a story.


2) Model fluent and nonfluent reading

Say: I am going to let you listen to me read a short passage two times. When I'm done, I'll take a vote on which time I sounded better. (1) We are going to the st-or, sto-re, store to buy you a new /p-a-r/, /p-a-ir/ of pants. (Pair makes more sense than par. I am having trouble with some of these new words so I have to finish the sentences to see if I can figure them out.) (2) Let me try this passage again. "We are going to the store to buy you a new pair of pants"(Ask for a show of hands) Who liked listening to my first reading? How about the second? Why did the second time sound better to you? That's right, I didn't have to stop to figure out any of the words.


3) Review a strategy

Say: Did you notice that I used a strategy of crosschecking when I couldn't get a word? What I did was finish the sentence to see if I could figure out the pronunciation of some tough new words that had silent letters, like the e in store or the /ir/ in pair. At first I pronounced them but they didn't sound like real words I've heard of. Then when I finished the sentence, I could tell what the words were, like pair instead of par.


4) 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: )"Dragon shirt, said Max. No, Max, said Ruby.  I heard some of you having trouble with shouted, but you used the rest of the sentence to figure it out.


5) Motivate to read

 Say: Before we get any further, let me tell you a little bit about Max. He really wants to buy a dragon shirt instead of a pair of pants. Ruby and Max go the store where he gets lost while his sister is trying on clothes. Soon he sees what he has wanted all along! Let's read to see if Max gets to buy the dragon shirt or not!


6) Explain the new procedure for paired practice

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

 Say: Here's what you are going to do next.

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

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

3. Also pay close attention to how many mistakes your partner makes each time.  Make tallies like this (show line tally method on the board lll) for each mistake.

4. 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

5. 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.

6. When you are done timing each other, you can discuss the answers to the reader response questions.

7. Then each of you will write your answers on a separate sheet of paper back at your desks.

8. 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.

9. You'll put your completed star chart on the front bulletin board on the fluency poster.





Grades are computed using point system as follows:

Reading Rate

81 +












Improved in speed


Improved in accuracy


Answered 4 questions with complete sentences


Answers accurate/appropriate


Total Points


Followed direction for completing forms




Wells, Rosemerry. (2001) Max's Dragon Shirt. Puffin Publishing Co

 Jamie Storey, Smooth Sailing into Fluent Reading

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