Rocketing Through Reading!

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson

Katie Pendergrass



Rationale:  Being a fluent reader can allow students to excel in their reading ability greatly! Students start off reading words slowly, which hinders comprehension.  Fluency consists of being able to read at a fast, even pace or quickly and automatically with great expression.  Practicing fluency allows students to see many different words, which allows them to become sight words.  This allows students to be able to comprehend stories better without becoming frustrated by what the words are saying.  When students are successful fluent readers, this allows them to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers.  Good readers practice fluency to become great readers!


Materials: Cover-up critter (tool used to cover up letters to decode words), Fluency Rubric (one per person), The Train Trip by Geri Murray, The Fairy Godmother's Assistant by Bruce Lansky, Carla and the Greedy Merchant by Robert Scotellaro, or And So They Did by V. McQuin. 


Fluency Rubric:

Reader:_________________ Listener:_________________ Date: ____________

I noticed that my partner: (Put an X in the blank)

After 2nd                         After 3rd

Read Faster                             ______                          ______

Read Smoother              ______                          ______

Read with Expression    ______                          ______



1.     "Today, we are going to practice our fluency by reading and rereading, and also by monitoring each other.  It is normal for people to struggle with words that are more difficult to read.  One thing that keeps us from understanding what we are reading is when we are not fluent with our reading.  Reading fluently means that we are reading quickly, automatically, and with great expression.  When we read fluently, it allows us to comprehend what we are reading, and it also makes reading more enjoyable!"

2.     [have the sentence "My mom made me do my chores before playing outside!" displayed on the board]  "For example, when we first start learning to read we may read a sentence like this 'Mmmyyy mmooommmm mmaaaadddeeee mmee ddooo mmyyy ccchhhoorreesss bbbeeeffffooorrreeee ppllllaaayyyiinngg oooouuuutsssiiddee!'  Reading a sentence like that is very slow and it allows us time to forget what we are reading about as we are sounding out the words.  The more I practice this sentence, the more I can read it fluently.  The second time I read it I might sound like "Mmy moom maaddee mmee dooo mmyy cchhores bbbefore ppllaying oouutside!" After my third time reading it, I could read it completely like "my mom made me do my chores before playing outside!"  Reading and rereading the sentence allowed me to be able to read it fluently and even with expression since it had an exclamation point."

3.     "We also have our cover-up critters to help us when we come across an unfamiliar word.  They can help us break apart the unfamiliar word to be able to read it successfully.  I can use my cover-up critter to help me read the difficult word 'chunk' in a sentence.  I would start by covering everything up except for the vowel /u/.  I would then add the first part of the word /ch/.  I would put /ch/ and /u/ together to have /ch/ /u/.  I would then add the ending of the word, which would be /n/ and /k/ to have /n/ /k/.  I would then put it all together to pronounce /ch/ /u/ /n/ /k/.  I could then read, "I cut Uncle Bob a chunk of the peanut butter pie."  After we decode a word, we always go back and reread the sentence.  Great readers do this because it allows them to go back and crosscheck what they just read.  Crosschecking allows us to make sure we are decoding the correct word and make sure it makes sense!  We always want to reread the sentence after decoding the word to get us back on track with comprehending what is happening in the story."

4.     The class will then be divided into pairs.  Each person will be given the decodable text The Train Trip by Geri Murray.  Booktalk time:  "There is a little boy named Nate that is going on a train trip to pick up his friend.  He is so excited that they will get to play games and have a great time together! The little boy took a nap the entire way on the train until it stopped.  When he woke up, he was not where his friend lived because it seemed like a strange place! Let's read to find out what happens to Nate on his trip and to see if he can make it to see his friend!"

5.     The teacher will explain how the rubric will work and how students will give constructive criticism to their partner.  They will discuss how each partner is going to read differently, but we are all working together to become great and successful readers!

6.     The students will find a quiet place in the room to work with their partner.  Once each student has a book and is in a quiet place, one person will be the reader and one will be the listener.  The student that is the reader will read the story all the way through one time.  After they have decoded all of the words and completed it one time, they will go back and reread the story again.  The listener will then mark how their partner did on their fluency rubric.  The reader will then reread it for a third time practicing their fluency focusing on pacing and expression. 

7.     Once both partners have taken turns doing this, the whole class will come back together. The group will discuss the outcome of the story.

8.     "See how important it is to be a fluent reader! It makes reading so much easier and way more enjoyable! Now we are going to use what we practiced doing for a fun activity!   We are going to have a reader's theater that allows us to show our improvement with fluency!"  There will be three different groups of students.  Each student will be assigned a part in the story of either The Fairy Godmother's Assistant by Bruce Lansky, Carla and the Greedy Merchant by Robert Scotellaro, or And So They Did by V. McQuin. 

9.     Each group will be given 15 minutes to practice their stories together.  At the end, each group will perform their reader's theater. 

10.                        For assessment, I will allow each student to come to the reading corner and read The Train Trip while I assess their fluency.  I will be checking for automaticity, reading rate, and prosody. 




Lansky, Bruce. The Fairy Godmother's Assistant


Scotellaro, Robert. Carla and the Greedy Merchant


V. McQuin. And So They Did


Murray, Geri.  The Train Trip


Terry, Meg. Climbing Up the Fluency Mountain

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