Blasting Into Space with Reading

Katie Rice



Fluent reading is when one recognizes words easily and automatically as they read them. If readers want to be able to read quickly, smoothly and with expression they must become fluent readers. Readers become fluent by making most of the words they read sight words. When a student has mastered fluency they can begin to develop their silent reading ability. The lesson will give the students the knowledge of how important automatic reading is. First, students will learn a cover-up strategy to help them decode difficult words. Then, to practice fluency students will work with partners reading and re-reading a passage several times. Partners will take records of student's progress (speed, expression, and accuracy).


·         Individual copies of the book, The Train Trip by Geri Murray


·         Dry erase board and dry erase markers (for teacher use)

·         Timer for one minute reads (for teacher use)

·         Individual copies of the fluency checklist (one per student)

·         Pencil for each student

·         Stopwatch for each student

·         Sentence written on the board

·         Cover-up critter (one per student)

·         Rocket target for each student



1.      “Good morning boys and girls! Today we are going to be working on a very important part of reading: fluency. Does anyone know what it means to read fluently? When you read fluently, you don’t have to stop to sound out each word because you can recognize them all without any trouble! Why do you think that it is important to be fluent readers? [Allow students time to discuss] Being able to read fluently helps us to understand what we are reading so that we get the message in text. Sometimes reading can be tough, but the best way to learn new words is to read them over and over.  


2.      I will have the following sentence written on the board so that it is visible to all students: The rocket shoots to the sky.  I will use this sentence to review decoding strategies with the students. "I'm going to read this sentence a few times to become more fluent. As I read, I'm going to remember words so that I can read them easily next time. Watch what I do." [Read the sentence, crosscheck misread words, read slowly, decode.] "The rocc…Ok, I need your help. What could I do to help me figure out this word? That’s right, I could use my cover up critter.” Use cover up critter to continue to read the rest of the sentence, modeling appropriate decoding strategies on difficult words such as shoots and sky. "Since I have read this sentence once and can recognize all the words, I’ll read it again, because every time we reread words, we become more fluent readers."The rocket shoots to the sky.” Do you hear the expression that I am using while I am reading the sentence? It is much easier to listen to reading that is fluent and fast than reading that is slow and is not fluent. That is why we all need to practice reading faster and fluently. It is important for you to use expression while reading to become a fluent reader!


3.      “You have done a great job helping me read fluently! Now you are ready for some practice on your own. Now I am going to give each student a copy of the book The Train Trip” Each student will get his or her own copy of the book.
"This book is about a little boy named Nate who is so excited to go on a train trip to pick up his friend.  He is very happy that they will get to play games and that he will actually be able to play with someone his own age.  On his train trip something happens and the train is suddenly stopped!  Nate is very scared and does not know if he will be able to make it to his friend on time.  Let's read to find out what happens!" 


4.      When they have had a chance to read the book a few times say: now that you have had the opportunity to practice let's come back to the center and I will pair you with a partner to read to each other. You will read the book 3 times each. I want you to use the stopwatch I give you and time your partner for one minute while you listen to them read the book. At the end of the minute you will count how many words they read until the timer went off and record it on your paper. As soon as one partner has read 3 times you will switch partners and do the same thing. As you are reading the book silently to yourself, ask what is going on so far. At the end of each reading, ask yourself what the book was about. See if each time you read it that you have a different or better understanding about the book. Once everyone is done, I would like some of you to share your ideas.


5.      While the students are timing each other, I will walk around and make sure they are assessing each other correctly, following all directions, and staying on task.


6.      After all of the groups are finished I will take turns calling the students up to my desk to give them their results from the readings and help them set reasonable and attainable goals. I will also ask the students the following questions about the story.

            -Why do you think Nate got scared on the train?

-What would you think when you woke up in a strange place?

                        -What was your favorite part of the story and why?


 We will graph their results on their rocket targets (on a piece of poster board there will be a moon that serves as the goal and the rocket will stand for where the student is at the time). After we graph where they are today we will set a goal for where they need to get to by the next time we do the activity.



 I will have them read The Train Trip to me during reading centers. At this time, I will use the formula words x 60/seconds to further assess their fluency. In addition, I will review the fluency check lists that the students completed to get a better idea of their progress. I will also take into consideration their answers to the comprehension questions that I previously asked each student.


Name:_________________________ Date:___________


·         After 1st read _______


·         After 2nd read _______


·         After 3rd read _______

When I take note of my partners read, he/she can:

After 2nd                       After 3rd

1. Remembered more words   _______                       _______

2. Read faster                                      _______                       _______

3. Read smoother                                _______                       _______

4. Read with expression                    _______                       _______










McKinny, Maggie. Auburn University- Click here to see this lesson

Rawlinson, Rainer- Auburn University- Click here to see this lesson

Robinson, Julianne. Auburn University- Click here to see this lesson

The Train Trip by Geri Murray


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