Racing to Fluency

Moriah Spivey

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rational: Reading fluency is very important for kids to develop. They must learn to read quickly, effortlessly, and with emotion. Fluency is developed after learning many correspondences and becoming automatic with words that are read.  Reading fluently does not just mean one can read really quickly, it means that the reader is able to read for comprehension. This lesson will help the students have a greater understand of what it means to be a good fluent reader and how they can improve their fluency. By working with a partner the students will help record their partner's fluency by marking words that they stumble through or a lot of time is spent on certain words.  The students will gain a better understanding of what it means to read fluently and ways that will help them improve their fluency as readers.



- "Robert the Rose Horse" (copy for each pair of student)

- Stopwatch



-Fluency chart



1. Say: "Today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers.  Who knows what reading fluently means?"  Give the students a few minutes to provide answers and then tell them: "Fluency is not just how fast you read, but it is reading smoothly, with expression. The words should flow and you should be able to enjoy the book. So now, I am going to read two pages from the book, "Robert the Rose Horse"; I want you to pay close attention to how I read these pages."  I will proceed to read the two pages from the book. I am going to read the page very choppy and sound out most words that I am trying to read. You may even want to struggle with a sentence and then re-read it. Then ask: "So, did you enjoy me reading this story? Did I read well? Did you notice how I got stuck on some words?  Did everyone have a difficult time understanding me?  This happens a lot when we read, but the more we read the same words, the better we become at recognizing them. Ok, now I am going to read the same thing to you a second time." I will begin to read the same pages a second time, but this time I will read regularly, with fluency and expression.  "How did I read this time? Did you enjoy me reading that to you better than the first time? Why? Did you understand the pages more? Now we are going to work on some strategies to help you practice your reading so that each of you will read fluently and with expression, just like I did." 


2. I will write a model sentence on the board after introducing fluency to the students. "My dog loves to swim in the water".  "I want you to read this sentence with me, and we are going to sound out each letter in each word slowly. Did this sentence sound good to you?  Ok, I am going to read it to you very fast now.  "My dog loves to swim in the water."  Whoa! I barely could understand myself! That was TOO fast! Now, I am going to read this sentence to you using good reader fluency. I want you to read it with me this time."  The students join in and we read the sentence together using fluency and saying each word correctly. 


3. "Before we move on, let's think back to when we learned about how to use decoding skills to help us read. What if I was reading a story and came across a word I didn't know? Let's say the word was "fast". (Write the word fast on the white board). What could I do to figure it out?  I can use my cover-up critter to help me! (Model for students how to use cover-ups; cover all of the letters except for a; leave it by itself.) We know that the letter "a" makes an "aaaaa" sound. Now look at the rest of the word and let's sound out the rest of it together. FFFFF-AAAAAA-SSSSS-TTTT. Good job! Now you can use this strategy to help you if you get stuck on an unfamiliar word."


4. Now it is time for their partner reading. I am going to explain to the students that they will be paired up with a partner, and they are going to read 3 pages from "Robert the Rose Horse", until they are reading it fluently. Before the students start reading give an engaging book talk, "This story is about a horse that is allergic to roses and causes him many problems until, one time, his sneezes save the day." Now explain what the students will be doing when they are reading. "Your partner is going to keep time for you. When you get through reading the pages, your partner will tell you how long it took you to read it. Chart your time on the graph (hold up graph to show them). Let me show you an example: Say that Libby and I are partners. She is going to have the stopwatch and I am going to read until I finish the passage. When I am done she will tell me my time. Say it took me 2 minutes to read this. I am going to chart 2 minutes on my graph. Then Libby will read and do the same thing. You will take turns and keep going until you both have read THREE times. Color in your time with a different color for each reading. The reason we are doing this is for you to be able to read the same passage over and over so you can become familiar with how reading with fluency sounds."


5. Pass out the fluency chart and break the students into pairs.  Each pair of students will be given a book and a stopwatch.  By having the students color in the different numbers for each time they have completed reading, they will begin to see their progress in fluency because they have become familiar with it. This will be a good visual motivator for them.


Assessment:  The first assessment will be a quick scan. I will walk around the room to listen in on each group and make sure they are completing the task. The main assessment piece will be looking and interpreting the charts they make. I will collect the charts at the end of our time and analyze each one. I will calculate their time by using the formula (wordsX60/seconds it took to read) and I will make sure each student is on their learning level.  We will have a group discussion to see if they comprehended what they read.



-"Robert the Rose Horse" by Joan Heilbroner, P. D. Eastman - Random House Children's Books (1962)

 -DeDe Carroll, "All We Do is Read, Read, Read, No Matter what!"

-Fluency Readings chart


Return to the Epiphanies index.