Becoming Rocket Readers

Growing Independence and Fluency

Haley Jacobs

Rationale: Decoding plays a huge role in reading. Without the ability to figure out unknown words, comprehending what you’re reading is next to impossible. However, being a fluent reader is also vital part of reading comprehension. Becoming a fluent reader will increase sight word vocabulary and leads to automatic, effortless reading. This lesson directs children to use strategies that build sight words through crosschecking for meaning, repeated readings of the text, and charting process in paired partner reading to sustain motivation to reread.


·        Stopwatches for each pair of students

·        Fluency graphs for each child, star stickers

·        Class set of If You Give a Pig a Pancake

·        Reader response form


Partner Reading Progress                                                     

Total words in chapter:____















Turn number that sounded smoothest____

Turn number that had fewest mistakes____


Reader Response

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

1.     Why do you think the rubber duck reminded the pig of home?

2.     Why did the pig ask for envelopes and stamps after his picture was taken?

3.     How do you think the girl felt when the pig was asking for his favorite things?

4.     Why did getting sticky remind the pig of her favorite maple syrup?



1.     Explain the activity

a.     Say: Today you are going to learn how to read like you talk: clear, fast, and effortlessly. When you read smoothly, it’s easy to understand what you’re reading and become interested in the story.


2.     Model fluent and nonfluent reading

a.     Say: I am going to let you listen to me read a short passage two times. When I’m done, we will decide on which time sounded better. (1) If you give a pig a p-an-kake, pancake, shell, she’ll want some /s-er-ep/. Hmm. (I’m having some trouble with some of these new words so I have to finish the sentence to see if I can figure them out.) want some /s-erep/ oh, syrup, to go with it. (2) Let me try this passage again. If you give a pig a pancake, she’ll want some syrup to go with it.


b.     (Ask for a show of hands) Who thought the first time I read the passage that it sounded the best? How about the second time I read it? Why did the second time sound better to you? That’s right, the second time I read it without having to stop to figure out any of the words.


3.     Review a strategy

a.     Say: Did you notice that I used the strategy of crosschecking when I had trouble decoding a word? I finished the sentence to see if it would help me figure out the hard words. At first I tried pronouncing them, but they didn’t sound like words I had ever heard of before. After finishing the sentence, I could tell what the words were.


4.     Practice together

a.     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:) “You’ll give her some of your favorite maple syrup.” I heard some of you having trouble with favorite, but you used the rest of the sentence to figure it out.


5.     Motivate to read

a.     Say: Before we get any further, let me tell you about this little pig. Whenever she eats a pancake, it reminds her of all of her favorite things, starting with her favorite syrup. After she eats her pancake with her favorite syrup, she gets all sticky and wants a bath with her favorite toy. I wonder what her favorite toy will remind her of next.


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’re 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 response forms from my desk, then return to your reading places. While one buddy is doing this, the other will count all the words in the story and put the number at the top of your checklist forms.

2.     Take 3 turns reading the story to each other. While one reads, the other will use the stopwatch to time how long it takes your partner to read the story.

3.     Be sure to make a note of each of the mistakes your partner makes when he/she is reading the story. Make tallies like this (show example on the board) for each mistake.

4.     Then you will do a subtraction problem. Take the total number of words minus the number of mistakes for each reading. That number goes on the line that says: _____ words in ________ seconds.

5.     After you do this for all 3 times your partner read, answer the 2 questions on the bottom of the form asking which turn was the smoothest and which turn and the smallest number of errors.

6.     When both you and your partner are done timing each other read, discuss the answers to the reader response questions.

7.     After discussing, both of you will write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

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 directions


Improved speed


Improved accuracy


Answered 4 questions in complete sentences


Answers accurate






_____________ Reading Rate



































Numeroff, Laura. (1999). If You Give a Pig a Pancake. New York: Harper Collins.  

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