Ready? Set? Read with Success!
A Growing Fluency Lesson
Rationale: Fluency can be simply explained as the ability to read quickly, accurately, and with expression. Fluency is one of the most important reading skills, as students must be fluent in order to read and comprehend more difficult texts. Students discover that reading is a more enjoyable experience when they spend less time on the stress of decoding words and more time deciphering the meaning of the story. The goal of this lesson is to provide students with repeated readings of texts to become more fluent readers. By having the students read and reread decodable words in a text, students will gain automatic word recognition, which will aid students in their journey toward becoming fluent readers.
- A copy of Sal Takes Charge by Matt Sims for every student
Sims, M. Sal Takes Charge. High Noon Books. California: 2002.
- A purple poster with the sentence: The horse dashed down the trail.
- Stopwatch for each pair of students (one for each group)
- Timer (with seconds keeper) for the teacher
- Reading time sheet for each student (one for each student)
- A blue poster with the sentence: The trail was filled with snares
- Assessment activity sheet (one for each student)
- Large chart, racehorse theme that measures student's words per minute. Each
student will have their own racehorse to track their progress.
1. Begin by introducing the lesson
Say: "The theme for today is Ready? Set? Read with Success! So today, we are going to work on our successful reader skills by practicing reading a text faster with as few mistakes as we can. We are going to be reading the book, Sal Takes Charge. You will reread this story multiple times today so you can practice decoding and learning new words. The more we re-read the closer we will get to become successful readers!
2. Review the cover-up strategy.
Say: "To start, let's review what to do if we come to a unfamiliar word don't while we are reading. Let's look at the purple poster on the board: The horse dashed down the trail. Listen as I try to read this word dashed in the sentence: The horse d-ddd-AAy-sssh dayshed down the trail…ohhh the horse dashed down the trail! When I first tried to read dashed, I had a difficult time figuring out how to decode the word. I kept reading the sentence and figured out that it was dashed instead of dayshed because of the other words in the sentence, like horse and trail. This skill as we know is called crosschecking because I checked with the other words in the sentence in order to help me figure out what the unfamiliar word was. Always remember that this is the decoding method that you should use first when you come across a word that you are unsure of! At the end of a sentence ask yourself: Hmmm, did that make sense??"
3. Say: "Now we are going to practice our fluent reading skills by reading the decodable story, Sal Takes Charge. You will read and reread this story 3 times. Each time I want you to try and read faster and work at correctly decoding more of the words. The best part is that the more you read the story, the more familiar the words will be, which will help us reach a faster time!
4. Now model fluent reading for your students:
Say: "I am going to read the same sentence, the horse dashed down the trail, as a fluent reader and as a non-fluent reader. Listen carefully to each way that I read the sentence." First read the sentence as a non-fluent reader: "'The h-hoorr-sse d-daa-sshed d-oow-n the t-tr-trail.' Could you easily understand what I was reading? Was it smooth and fast?" Wait for the students to disagree and answer with something like: "No, it was slow and broken apart." Say: " Well Now that I am more familiar with the words, I am going to read it again, but this time a lot faster. Now listen closely Read the sentence really:"' The horse dashed down the trail.' Did this reading sound smooth and fast?" Wait for agree and respond with something like: "Yes, it was more fluent and but it was way to fast! Say: Okay now this time I'm going to be a smart star reader and read this same sentence at a good normal speed with expression! " The horse dashed down the trail!" See how much better that was and how it captured your attention? This is how fluent readers read, with an even pace and with expression. Put up the blue poster with the sentence: The trail was filled with snares. Now I want you to read the sentence on the blue poster to practice your fluency. Get with a partner and take turns reading the sentence fluently." Give the students 5-7 minutes to practice their reading fluency.
5. Say: "Now I'm going to pass out the book, Sal Takes Charge, for you to use for your repeated readings. I will also pass out a reading time sheet for each of you and a stopwatch to each pair. You are going to work with a partner that I assign to read and reread this story."
Put the students into their partner groups (IMPORTANT: make sure groups can work well together, preventing any behavior problems) and pass out the book, time sheets, and stopwatches. For this activity, each of you will have the job of being the reader and the listener. One of you will read while the other uses the stopwatch to accurately time how long it takes you to read the whole book. If it is your turn to be the listener, be sure to press the red button to start the timer as soon as your partner begins reading. Also, make sure to pay close attention to your partner as they read. As soon as they finish, you press the button again to stop the counting and allow your partner to write down the number that's on the timer. That number tells us how long it took them to read the story. Now the second time they read, it will be a little different. You will start and stop the timer just like you did the first time, but this time you will fill out your partner check sheet after they finish. If they remember more words you put a check; if they read faster, you put a check. DO NOT put a check if you are unsure if they accomplished each task. Remember, this is just practice and we will get better and better the more we practice becoming successful readers! Make sure to repeat these steps after the third time your partner reads. After the third reading attempt, you and your partner will swap positions; the reader will become the listener and the listener will become the reader!
Say: Now to get you interested in today's story, I going to give you a booktalk! You will be reading Sal Takes Charge. Booktalk: Sal is a shy foreign Spanish exchange student who comes to United States to live with Mike and his family. Sal and Mike become really close and Sal takes on the role of a big brother to Mike. One day, while walking home from school Sal and Mike notice that their house has caught on fire! Will Sal take charge and help or will the house burn down from a raging fire? It looks like you are going to have read the story to find out!
Say (both teacher and students): READY? SET? READ WITH SUCCESS!
6. Always be observing and noting progress while the students are reading to each other. Walk around the room with a notepad and make sure the students are on task and correctly completing the activity. Occasionally communicate with the groups about how they are doing and answer any questions they may have throughout the reading activity.
7. I recommend that before class to create and organize a fluency folder for each student where you can easily store time-sheets and record comments on their individual fluency progress. To assess the students reading fluency, have students turn in time sheets, making sure each has been completed correctly. Compare and make notes on each student's beginning time with their last time to see if they improved their speed. Next, I will perform one-minute reads with each child to check for fluency and accuracy. Giving them motivation/inspiration to improve their fluency by moving their racehorse closer to the finish line the more words they read per minute. Then, assess the words read per minute by using the following formula:
Words x 60
The ultimate goal for reading is comprehension of the text. To assess the students' comprehension of the text they read, have them individually complete a 4-question activity sheet:
- Who is Sal? Who is Mike?
- What is the relationship between Sal and Mike?
- What surprise awaited Sal and Mike when they came home from school? Use details.
- What was Sal's reaction to the situation? Tell me 3 things he did to resolve the situation.
Murray, Bruce. "Developing Reading Fluency."
Roebuck, Cailtlin. Becoming Faster with Fluency.
Sims, M. Sal Takes Charge. High Noon Books. California: 2002. 25 pp.
Wheat, Kathleen. The Need for Speed.
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