Lightning Fast!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Lauren DeLaRosa

Rationale: This lesson is designed to teach fluency, which is the ability for a person to be able to read text smoothly, expressively, and quickly.  When someone reads fluently, they are able to concentrate more on the meaning or comprehension of the text.  When people do not read fluently, they often think of reading text as a chore and would rather be doing something else.  By helping teach people to read fluently, they are usually better readers and enjoy books for the meanings.  The effective practice for fluency includes repeated readings, timed reads, and graphs that are used to show improvement.


Materials: Sentence strip with sentence: The snake was slithering on the ground; copies of James and the Good Day for each student; stop watch for every group of students; paper and pencils for each group to record reading times; Fluency Checklist; Fluency Time Sheet; Lighting strip with movable umbrella.

Fluency Time Sheet:

Name: __________________________________                                   Date: _____________________


Title of Book: ___________________________________


1st Timed Reading: ______________words

2nd Timed Reading: _____________ words

3rd Timed Reading: _____________ words


Partner's Name: ______________________________


• Fluency Checklist

Fluency Checklist:


Name: ___________________________________               Date: ____________________


Title of Book: __________________________________


After 2nd Reading After 3rd Reading

     _________                    _________               Remembered more words

     _________                    _________               Read faster

     _________                    _________               Read smoother

     _________                    _________               Read with expression

----------------------------- 100

------------------------------- 95

------------------------------ 90

------------------------------ 85

------------------------------ 80

------------------------------ 75

------------------------------ 70

------------------------------ 65

------------------------------ 60

------------------------------ 55

------------------------------ 50

------------------------------- 45

------------------------------- 40

------------------------------- 35

------------------------------- 30

------------------------------- 25

------------------------------- 20

------------------------------ 15

------------------------------ 10

------------------------------- 5

------------------------------- 0



1. I will start by explaining to the class what being a fluent reader means and why they should be fluent readers.  I will tell the students. "Today we are working with an important reading skill.  We are going to learn to become fluent readers.  Does anyone know how a fluent reader may read?  A fluent reader reads text quickly with ease.  Fluent readers also show expression with what they are reading.  When you become a fluent reader, you can read better and understand what you are reading better."


2. "We are going to be working on something in class.  Can anyone guess what that is?  Right, we are going to be working on becoming fluent readers.  There are a few ways that help us become fluent readers.  We will be doing repeated timed readings.  Timed repeated readings means that you will read a passage for one minute.  After that one-minute is up, you will stop and see how many words you read and how many words you can remember.  We will do this three times and count the words each time.  During this task, it is important that you remember what you are reading and understand what you are reading."


3. Say:  Now, I am going to show you how to read a sentence fluently.  Put a sentence strip on the board with The snake was slithering on the ground, on it.  Say:  Listen to me as I say the sentence a loud and listen to how the sounds blend together so smoothly.  Thhheeee sssssssssnaaaaaaakkee wwwaaasss sssswwwiiiiiitttthherrriinnnggg oooonn ttthheee gggrrrooouuunnd.  I will then read the sentence faster than the time before and then repeat.  The last time, I will blend the words together and read the words at the same pace and smooth the words together in the sentence.  Say:  This is how we read fluently.  Do you see why it is important for us to read this way?  When we read like this, it is much easier to understand.  We are improving our reading by reading and rereading to make it more fluent.


4. It is your turn to practice reading fluently now!  Everyone spread out around the room and I will give you a book to practice reading quickly and smoothly.  Please read it a few times because practicing reading the books multiple times are a great way to improve reading fluency.  The book we are reading is James and the Good Day.  In the story, this boy decides to have a really good day. He gets a tug boat and fills up the tub. All of a sudden he sees water coming down the hallway from the bathroom. What do you think happened?  Let us read to find out!  Remember to put the words together smoothly in the sentence as you reread the book!


5. Once you practiced reading your book, come back to the group and I will pair you with a partner to read together.  You are each going to read the book to your partner 3 times.  With the stopwatch I give you, you are going to time your partner for one minute while listening to them read.  At the end of that one minute, you will count how many words they read during that minute.  I will give you a check lists that has a space to write how many words they are reading one minute the first, second and third time.  After one partner has read 3 times, you will then switch and do the same thing!


1. During the peer assessment, I will monitor the students working and try to ensure that all students are following directions and assessing each other correctly.


2. After you and you partner have completed this one time through, do the steps above two more times for a total of three readings each."

3. "After all three blanks are filled in on both peoples chart, talk with your partner about how you improved each time.  You can go through the checklist and see if you can check off each item.  If you are able to check off each item, you are on your way to becoming a fluent reader!"

4. After the students read to one another, I will call them up to my desk individually and explain to them what how many words they read per minute means and how it relates to fluency.  I will then have a chart with a cloud with lighting at the top.  There will be increments of 5 starting at the bottom of the paper as 5 going up to the top of lighting cloud to 85.  I will put umbrellas on the corresponding number of words they read per minute.  The goal is to get most of the rain blocked by getting to at least 85. I will encourage the student to keep practicing by moving their umbrella up each time they increase their words read per minute.



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