Run into Fluency With Ramona the Pest

Growing Independence and Fluency

Shelly Roark


A.    Rationale: Fluency is an important reading skill because it helps with comprehension and reading more difficult texts. Repeated readings help develop fluency and help in the transition from decoding to automatic word recognition. In this lesson, students will do repeated readings of decodable texts and use their decoding strategies to gain more sight words and therefore become more fluent and faster readers.

B.    Materials:

1.     A copy of Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary for each student.

2.     Stopwatch for each pair of students

3.      Reading Time sheet for each student (at bottom)

4.      Fluency checklist for each student (at bottom)

 Cover up critter for each student, which is a popsicle stick with google eyes that the student can use to cover up one letter at a time to help with decoding.

5.     Poster with "I want ice cream." and "The apple is tasty." Written on it.

6.     Copy of the sentence "She likes to play with her friends." for each pair of students:

C.     Procedures:

1.     Say: "We need to read fluently if we want to become expert readers! Fluency is when we read words quickly and automatically. The main goal of fluency is to help with recognizing words and learn more sight words.  We can practice fluency by reading a book more than once so we become familiar with it.  We will call this a repeated reading.  When we read something is read a few times, you can recognize the words easier! When we are trying to read more fluently, we also use crosschecking, which is when we go back and re-read a sentence to see if the word we used makes sense with the rest of the sentence. We also use mental marking, which is when we mark the way a word looks in our mind after we crosscheck so that we can make it a sight word!

2.     2. Say:  "Let's practice what we would do if we come across a word that we don't know while we're reading! Remember that this is called crosschecking. Look at the poster on the board: The apple is tasty. Listen as I try to read the word "tasty" in the sentence: The apple is  t-a-s-t-y….oh tasty! If I came to a word I didn't know, like tasty, I would use my cover up critter and start by finishing the sentence to see if it made sense. I would use my cover-up critter to help me pronounce the word(s) I was having trouble with.  The apple is t/a/s/t/y.  Hmm… /t/a/s/t/y/. Oh okay, like a fresh, delicious apple! That sentence says: The apple is tasty.  Then I am going to reread the sentence so that I will get the word instantly the next time I see it."

"Now I'm going to show you how a fluent reader sounds compared to a non-fluent reader. Let's look at the next sentence on the poster: I want ice cream.  If I wasn't a fluent reader, I would read like this: I waannnt iiiiicccce crrrreeeeammmm.  Did you understand what I was reading? Was it smooth and fast or slow and choppy? It was hard to remember and understand what I read because it was so slow wasn't it?  Now listen to the difference when I read it fluently. I want ice cream. Now I understand what I have read and got the message it was telling me! It is good to practice reading fluently so we can better understand what we are reading. Now practice reading this sentence with your partner: She likes to play with her friends. Read it until you are fluent at it and can understand what it means. "

3.      Say: "Today we are going to read the first chapter in Ramona the Passbook talk: Ramona Quimby is an excited 5 year-old ready for kindergarten. However, Ramona soon becomes known as a pest because she likes to pull Susan's curls and can't sit still. One day Ramona's teacher, Miss Binney, sends Ramona home from kindergarten due to her bad behavior. Will Ramona ever come back to school? You'll have to read to find out!  You are going to practice reading fluently with this story. You will read and reread it, trying to read faster each time. The more you read the story, the easier it will be to decode and remember the words." 

4.     Give a copy of the text, a cover-up critter, a reading time sheet, and a fluency checklist to each student. Pair up the students, and give each pair a stopwatch. Say: "When you read this story today, you are going to be reading it with a partner to check your fluency! You and your partner will take turns reading the story. You will each read it three times, trying to become more fluent each time. While you are reading, your partner will time you and record your total time on the reading time sheet when you are done reading the chapter each time. Also, your partner will be looking to see if you are reading faster smoother, remembering more words, and reading with expression each time. When you are done reading and recording all three times, talk about the chapter with your partner! What happened in the story? What do you think will happen next? Did you like the story?

D.    Assessment

Assessment: Walk around the room to make sure they are on task and completing the activity, while also observing their reading fluency. Have the students turn in their score sheets after the repeated readings are finished. Graph each student's individual speed so they can see their improvement as time goes on.  Also, assess words read per minute by using the formula words x 60/ seconds. The information for charting the student's progress comes from the Reading Time sheets and Fluency Checklist the students fill out for their partner.

Reading Time



Number of words:______


1st Reading Time:____________

2nd Reading Time: ___________

3rd Reading Time:____________
















Fluency Checklist





After rereading the story again, I noticed that my partner….(check all that apply)


___ Read faster

___ Read smoother

___ Remembered more words

___ Read with more expression
















Comprehension questions:


1.             How does Ramona feel about starting kindergarten and what are her first thoughts when she enters the room?

2.             What is the problem Ramona creates during her first week of kindergarten?

E.     Resources

·        Cleary, Beverly. Ramona the Pest. 1968 (pub).

·        Smith, Blair. Junie B. Jones  is Captain Fluency.

·        Wagner, Leigh. Fluency is Fabulous!

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