Speed into Reading!
Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Molly Newton

Rationale: Decoding strategies help while reading; however, reading by decoding only is a slow and painful process. In order to comprehend what they’re reading, students need to become fluent readers Fluency instruction builds sight word vocabulary through repeated readings. This lesson directs children to use various strategies including crosschecking, repeated reading and charting progress in paired partner readings to build sight word vocabulary and maintain motivation to reread the text.


·         1 stopwatch for each pair of students

·         Fluency graphs and a marker for each child

·         Class set of Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants

·         Fluency checklist

·         Reader response form


1.    Today you are going to learn how to read quickly and smoothly. When you read like this it sounds as naturally as talking. You will be able to understand what you are reading and will be more interested in the story line if you can read it without having to stop and figure out the words.

2.    Model and Say: I’m going to show you how to become a better reader. First, I’m going to read a sentence or two and show you how I become a fluent reader of that sentence as I read it a few times. (1) Dear first-grade /j-ow-r-nal/, /jowr-nal/, Oh! Journal! Yest-erd-ay, Yester-day, Yesterday was the /wee-ken-d/, /week-end/, weekend. The weekend is the /nick-nam-E/, nickname of /Sat-u-r-day/, /Sat-Urday/ (I don’t know this word. I’m going to keep reading and see if I can figure it out after I finish the sentence.) and /Sun-day/, Sunday. Oh! That word I didn’t know must have been Saturday. Saturday and Sunday. Only I don’t /k-now/, /k-nOw/ why. I think that was know! Only I don’t know why.(2) I’m going to read again to see if I know all of the words now. Dear first-grade journal yesterday was the weekend. The weekend is the nickname of Saturday and Sunday. Only I don’t know why.

Raise your hand if you noticed how much faster I read the second time. Good! I was able to read faster the second time because I remembered all of the words that I had missed when I read it the first time.

3.    Review a Strategy: Did you notice that when I didn’t know the word Saturday I read the rest of the sentence to see what word would make sense? This is called crosschecking. It simply means checking what you know with what you have read. I knew that Sunday was a day in the weekend so the word that I struggled with must have been Saturday. This was a tough new word for me, but I was able to figure it out by reading the rest of the sentence and checking to see if the word I read made sense.

4.    Practice together: Let’s read the next line of this journal entry together as a class. (Choral  read): “Those two days zoomed by speedy quick.” I heard some of you having a little trouble with the word quick. That’s a hard word, but you used the rest of the sentence to help you figure it out. Very good crosschecking!

5.    Motivate to read: You will all get your chance to read in just a second, but I want to tell you a little bit about Junie B. Jones before you read more. Junie B. Jones feels that weekends are much too short! They’re so short that she didn’t have time to do her homework. When Mr. Scary tells all of the students to get out their homework, Junie B. gets a sinking feeling in her stomach. She doesn’t know what to do, but her eyes start wandering. I wonder what she’s going to do to make her stomach feel better. Why are her eyes wandering?

6.    Explain the new procedure for paired practice:
I will write directions on the board so students can refer to it when released to partner read.

Say: You’re going to follow the following steps to help you become faster, smoother readers.
1. Find your reading buddy; one of you will come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklists, one for you and one for your partner. You will also get two reader response forms. After you have these four pieces of paper in your hand, please find your assigned reading place. The partner who is not gathering papers from the front of the room needs to count all of the words in the first chapter of Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants. Put the number of words at the top of you and your partner’s checklist form.
2. Take 3 turns reading the chapter to each other. While one partner reads, the other partner will use the stopwatch to time your partner’s readings. When you get the time, write it on your checklist.
3. Make sure you listen as your partner reads because you need to write checkmarks for each word that your partner misses.
4. After your partner finishes reading, subtract the number of words that he or she missed from the total number of words in the chapter. For example, if there are 200 words in the chapter and my partner misses 20 words. I will say 200-20= 180. Total number of words in the chapter minus total number of missed words. That number (180 in my example) goes on the line that says: ____ words in ___ seconds. Your stopwatch will tell you how many seconds to write on the seconds blank.
5. After all of this is written down, and your partner has read 3 times, answer the two questions on the progress form that talk about reading quickly and smoothly.
6. At this time, answer the reader response questions on the other form with your partner. Write your answers on the back of the reader response form.
7. Turn in your progress form and reader response questions. I will calculate your reading rate and each of you will get a fluency graph and marker so you can see how much better you got each time that you read. You’ll make an “X” next to your reading rate for each time you read the chapter.
8. Turn in your fluency graph and I will display them in the classroom so everyone can see your progress.

7.    Assessment: The students will be graded based upon their completion of all of the necessary forms. One point will be given for completing the progress form, one point for completing the reader response questions, one point for completing the fluency graph, one point for improvement in speed, and one point in improvement in accuracy. The total worth is five points.


·         Park, Barbara. (2003). Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants. New York: Random House, Inc.

·         Geri Murray, Reading is a Breeze http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/murraygf.htm






Name: _________________________

Reader Response Questions:

Directions: Answer the following questions on the back of this paper. Make sure you answer in complete sentences.

1.    What do you think about “A+ May”?

2.    Why do you think Mr. Scary asked May to take the attendance chart to the office?

3.    What was making Junie B.’s stomach feel sick?

4.    Do you think Junie B. will feel bad about copying May’s homework?

5.    Write a couple sentences about a time when you did something, but later felt bad for it.






Reading Rate for ________________

























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