Reading--So Easy a Monkey Could Do It!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Grace Langhout


Rationale: While it is imperative for children to learn how to read through decoding, it is a slow and difficult process. Slow reading also delays reading comprehension. The progression can be sped up with fluency instruction. Fluency instruction helps turn newly encountered words into automatically recognized words, or sight words. The method of repeated readings helps a student move forward from slowly decoding to automatic, effortless reading. This lesson directs children to use strategies that build sight words through crosschecking for meaning, repeated reading of the text, and charting progress in paired partner reading to maintain motivation to reread. 



Stopwatches for each pair of students

Fluency graphs for each child, star stickers

Class set of Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business

Fluency checklist

Reader response form


Partner Reading Progress

Total words in chapter ­­__________.

Reader ___________________________________________


1 _________ Words in ________seconds

2 _________ Words in ________seconds

3 _________ Words in _________seconds

Turn number that sounded smoothest __________________

Turn number that had the fewest mistakes _______________.


Reader Response                                                     Name: ______________________________

Directions: On a separate sheet of paper, answer each question with at least one complete sentence.

1.     Why did Junie B. Jones think her parents had gotten her a present?

2.     How would you react if your parents told you that they were going to have another child?

3.     Why does Junie B. Jones think she deserves an apology?

4.     Why does Junie B. Jones think babies smell bad?



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) My name is /J-u-n-I-E/ /JunIE/ B. Jones. (JunIE does not sound right, Junie makes more sense than JunIE.) The B stands for /B-E-a-t-r-I-c-e/ /BEatrIce/. (BEatrIce does not sound right. 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.) E-x-c-e-p-t, ex-c-ept, except I don't like /BEatrIce/ Beatrice (that's it). I just like B and that's all. B stands for some-thing, something else, too. (2) Let me try this passage again. My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all. B stands for something else, too.  


(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 different pronunciations.  Like in Beatrice, I first pronounced it as BEatrIce, but that did not sound right, so I kept reading and realized it was Beatrice.


4. Practice together

Let's try reading the next 3 sentences on page 1 together as a class. I see one tough new word in the 2nd sentence. (Choral read) "B stands for baby. I'm only in kindergarten. But I already know how to spell baby." I heard some of you having trouble with kindergarten, but you used the rest of the sentence to figure it out.


5. Motivate to read

Before we get any further, let me tell you a little bit about Junie B. Jones. Junie B. Jones is a crazy kindergartener. She is always getting into some kind of trouble. She has a new baby brother, but before she ever meets her new brother she hears her grandmother call him "the cutest little monkey". So she goes to school telling her friends that her brother is real baby monkey. All of her friends want to see this baby monkey, so she starts taking bids from her friends for the first look at this "baby monkey." Junie B. Jones collects all kinds of things, like a locket, a red sweater, and a ring. Her teacher finds out about all of this and sends her to the principal's office. So I wonder what will happen to Junie B. Jones. Will she get in big trouble? Will her friends be mad at her? We will have to read the book to find out what happens to Junie B. Jones.


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 buddy; one buddy can come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklists and two reader responses 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 III) 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:

Followed direction for completing forms


Improved in speed



Improved in accuracy



Answered 4 questions with complete sentences




Answers accurate/appropriate



Total Points




_____________________Reading Rate



































Park, Barbara. (1993). Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Photo Image from: http://www.google.com/search?q=monkey&hl=en&rlz=1R2MERD_enUS504&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=xvlRUc3DDMS80QHQ-ICgBw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=582#imgrc=3M_41zVIAfkRqM%3A%3BC5yCJ5vCwXPSCM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fboltbarbers.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads_new%252F2009%252F09%252Fsuperfunnypetmonkey01big.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fboltbarbers.com%252F%3B1600%3B1200


Lesson Design Resources:

Geri Murray, Reading is a Breeze!



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