Reading is Fun!!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Meg McWhorter

Rationale: Learning to read through decoding is not easy! Slow reading, then, inhibits reading comprehension. But fluency instruction can help build comprehension. Fluency instruction helps turn unfamiliar words into automatically recognized words, or sight words. Using repeated readings helps a student move forward from slowly decoding to automatic, effortless and expressive reading. This lesson helps children to use strategies that build sight words through crosschecking for meaning, repeated reading of the text, and charting progress in paired partner reading to sustain motivation to reread. The goal of this lesson is to help the child read faster, more fluently and therefore, more smoothly.


Stopwatches for each pair of students                                                   

fluency graphs for each child, star stickers

class set of Mouse Soup

fluency checklist

reader response form



1) Explain the activity:

Say: Today you are going to learn how to pick up speed while you're reading so you can read just as easily as when you talk. When you can read smoothly, it's easy to understand the words and get interested in what's going on in a story.

2) Model fluent and nonfluent reading

Say: I am going to let you listen to me read a short passage twice. After that, I will decide which time sounded better. (1) The /w-A-s-el/ weasel puuu-t, put the m-ouse in the c-oooooking /p-O-te/ pot. Hmmm. He put the mouse in the pot? (Pot makes more sense than /p-O-te/.  I am having trouble with some of these new words so I have to finish the sentences to see if I can figure them out.) Wait! This  /s-oa-p/ /s-oup/ oh, soup.   (2) Let me try this passage again. The weasel put the mouse in the cooking pot. "Wait!! This soup will not taste good."

(Ask for a show of hands) Which sounded better? The first? How about the second? Why did the second time sound better to you? That's right, I didn't have to stop to figure out any of the words.

3) Review a strategy

Say: Did you notice that I used a strategy of crosschecking when I couldn't get a word? What I did was finish the sentence to see if I could figure out the sounds for some tough new words that had silent letters, like the e in mouse or the t in taste.  At first I pronounced them but they didn't sound like real words I've heard of. Then when I finished the sentence, I could tell what the words were, like mouse instead of mous-e.

4) Practice together

Say: Let's try reading the next line on the page together as a class. I see one tough new word in the next sentence. (choral read: )"This soup will not taste good. It has no stories in it." I heard some of you having trouble with stories, but you used the rest of the sentence to figure it out.

5) Motivate to read

Say: Before we get any further, let me tell you a little bit about these two animals. The mouse is afraid that he is about to get eaten in soup! The weasel, however, is not the brightest animal in the bunch and the mouse knows just how to trick him. What do you think he will do? Do you think that the mouse will get away?

6) Explain the new procedure for paired practice

While explaining, write directions as steps on the board for students to refer to.

Say: Here's what you are going to do next.

1. Pair up with your reading buddy; one of you can come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklists and two reader response forms, then return to your reading spot. While one person is doing this, the other one will count all the words in two pages of the story and put that number at the top of your checklist forms.

2. Take 3 turns reading the pages to each other. While one reads, the other will use the stopwatch to time your partner's readings.

3. Also pay close attention to how many mistakes your partner makes each time.  Make tallies like this (show line tally method on the board lll) for each mistake.

4. Then do a subtraction problem the total number of words minus the number of tallies for each reading.  

That number goes on this line:  ____________Words in __________seconds

5. Next, answer the two questions on the progress form about which turn was the smoothest and which had the fewest errors.

6. When you are done timing each other, you can discuss the answers to the reader response questions.

7. Then each of you will write your answers on a separate sheet of paper at your desks.

8. When you turn in your papers and checklists, I will give you a graph and three stickers. I will figure out your three rates, you can add your stickers and see your reading rate!

9. Put your completed star chart on the chalkboard on the fluency poster.


Students will answer the following comprehension questions.

1. What happened when the mouse was reading the book?

2. What was the weasel going to do with the mouse?

3. What did the mouse tell the weasel the soup needed?

Grades are computed using point system as follows:

Followed direction for completing forms


Improved in speed


Improved in accuracy


Answered 4 questions with complete sentences


Answers accurate/appropriate


Total Points



__________________ Reading Rate






































Lesson Design Resources:

Geri Murray, Reading is a Breeze!

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