Jumping Into Fluency

A Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design
Created By: Jessica Klida


Rationale: To become successful readers, it is important that students learn to read fluently. Fluency allows students to read smoothly and use expression. Fluent readers can recognize words quickly, automatically, and effortlessly. In order to become fluent readers, students must build their sight vocabulary. To do this, students must move away from decoding and move to automatic word recognition. Repeated readings are used to help students recognize words automatically and become more fluent readers. In this lesson, students will develop fluency skills through repeated readings.

: Class set of Frog and Toad are Friends, Whiteboard: write "The frog jumped." and "Frog and Toad are friends." on the board, Student copies of Rubric Sheet, Pencils, Stopwatches, Graph to chart WPM (for each student), Cover-up critters


Rubric Sheet Example:

Name:____________________    Partner's Name:_____________________

Timed Readings:

After 2nd read did your partner:

After 3nd read did your partner:

st read time:_________


Read faster?                      Yes     No


Read faster?                    Yes     No

nd read time:_________


Read smoother?                 Yes    No


Read smoother?               Yes    No

rd read time:_________


Read with expression?       Yes    No


Read with expression?      Yes    No



Recognize more words?     Yes    No


Recognize more words?   Yes    No




1. Explain: "In order to become expert readers, we need to be able to read fluently. Fluency is when we read words quickly, automatically, and effortlessly. When we read fluently, we are also able to read with expression which means that we put feeling and emotion in our voice. The main goal of fluency is to develop our word recognition skills and expand our sight vocabulary. We can practice fluency by reading a book more than once so we can become familiar with the words. We call this a repeated reading. Repeated readings help expert readers gain the skills they need to read fluently. Today, we will practice doing repeated readings to help develop our fluency skills."

2. Model: The teacher will then model how to use a cover-up critter to decode unrecognizable words. "Now, let's review how to use our cover-up critters to read words that we may not recognize. Look at this sentence (on board). 'The frog jumped.' "If I began to read this sentence and was unsure about this word (point to frog), I could use my cover-up critter to help me. I know o=/o/ so if I cover up the ending of the word, I have /f//r//o/. Now, if I uncover the ending, I can blend my sounds together. Oh! /f//r//o//g/--frog! 'The frog jumped.' My cover-up critter can help me decode words that I am unsure of. Be sure when you are reading today that you use your cover-up critter to decode any words that you are unfamiliar with."

3. Model: "Now, I'm going to show you how a fluent reader sounds compared to a non-fluent reader. Let's look at this sentence (written on the board). 'Frog and toad are friends.' If I wasn't a fluent reader, I would read like this: f-f-f-r-r-o-o-g-g  a-n-n-d  t-t-t-o-a-d-d  a-r-r-r-e  f-f-r-r-i-e-n-n-d-s-s. I read that so slow and had to sound out each word and I'm really not even sure what I read! Now, listen for the difference when I read the sentence fluently. 'Frog and toad are friends.' I was able to read faster and with more expression because I didn't have to spend so much time trying to figure out what the words were.

4. "We are going to  use repeated readings to practice reading fluently today. We are going to work with partners as we read. You and your partner will each read the first chapter of Frog and Toad are Friends 3 times. Each time you read the story, your partner will time you with the stopwatch to see how long it takes you to finish the story. Your partner will then write on the rubric sheet how long it took you to read the 1st time (show rubric sheet & model). The first time you read the story, you can use your cover-up critter for any words that you are unsure of. Each time that you read the story after that, it should take you less time and you should read with more expression since you will be familiar with the words! On your 2nd and 3rd time reading, your partner will be listening to see whether you are reading faster, smoother, and with expression. They will also be listening to see if you recognize more words. They will then mark yes or no on the rubric sheet after each read. (show rubric sheet & model). You and your partner will then swap roles and your partner will read while you listen and mark the rubric. Make sure that you put your name and  your partner's name on the top of  your rubric. Remember, it is okay if  you or your partner makes mistakes when reading! These repeated readings are practice for us to become fluent readers!"

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 winter nap. But Toad is sleeping heavily and doesn't seem to want to get up. Frog keeps trying to wake Toad so that they can play together, but Toad keeps on sleeping. Will Toad ever wake up and play with his friend Frog? You are going to have to read to find out!"

6. Pass out copies of Frog and Toad are Friends to each student, along with a rubric sheet for them to fill out. Have the example rubric sheet displayed for students to refer back to. Remind students not to interrupt their partner as they are reading. Tell students to begin reading. Each student should read the first chapter 3 times and then swap roles with their partners.

7. Assessment: The teacher will take up the rubric sheets and calculate each students' words per minute with the formula: [words read x 60/seconds taken to read]. By calculating each student's reading speed, the teacher can see who may need more practice. To motivate the students, the teacher can graph each individual's progress until they reach their benchmark. If a student did very poorly, have them try again with the teacher.


Goodson, Kristen. Growing Independence and Fluency Design. "Hopping into Fluency".


Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. HarperCollins 1990.


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