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I'm Fluent In Reading!

I’m Fluent In Reading!

Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design

Ali Ingram

 Rationale: One vital component of reading and reading comprehension is reading with fluency. To read with fluency means to read with automatic word recognition. When readers can recognize words effortlessly and automatically, they can work full time at getting the message of the text, resulting in drastic improvements in reading comprehension. This lesson was designed to help readers become more fluent by through repeated readings and timed readings. Reading, rereading, and decoding develop fluency. With this lesson, students will be able to read texts smoothly, quickly and with expression, thus improving fluency.



- Sentence strip that reads: "I like to play at the beach."

- Cover-up Critter (Popsicle stick with 2 googly eyes)

- Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel (enough for each student)

- Timer/stopwatch (for each pair)

- Pencils and paper

- Fluency checklist (one for each student)


Fluency Checklist

I noticed that my partner.... 

After 2nd Reading     After 3rd Reading
                                                                Remembered more words 
                                                                Read faster
                                                                Read smoother
                                                                Read with expression

- Reading record time sheet


Time Record Sheet:


Name: ______________________



1st Reading: ____________________

2ndReading: ____________________

3rd Reading: ____________________



1. Begin the lesson by saying, "Okay class, today we will be learning about how to become fluent readers. Does anyone know what the word fluent means? (Wait for response). When we are fluent readers, we are able to recognize words automatically, which means we don't have to stop our reading to analyze each word. To be a fluent reader means we begin to read quickly, smoothly and with expression. When we have fluency while we read, we are better able to comprehend what we read, making our reading more pleasant. Also, when we read out loud to others and our reading is fluent, our stories are more enjoyable for others."


2. Next, the teacher will display the sentence strip on the board which reads: "I like to play at the beach." Say: "Class I want you to listen to how I read the sentence on the board. (Read by separating each sound in each word) I-I  l-l- I-I-k-k  t-t-o-o  p-p-pl-ay-ay  a-a-t-t  th-th- e-e  b-b-ea-ea-ch-ch. That was very hard to understand. Let me try to read it again (This time read a bit faster and bit more fluently). Even though that was better, I still did not get the full message. Let me try to read it one more time (This time read quickly, smoothly and with much fluency). OH! I like to go to the beach! Now it makes sense! See how I had to re-read a few times so that I could really understand the message?" Ask: "Which reading was easiest for you to understand and easiest to follow?" (Wait for response). "Which one was hardest to follow?" (Wait for response). "The first time I read the sentence, I read it without fluency, so it was very hard to understand, and it was hard to comprehend what I was reading. However, after I re-read the sentence a few times, I was able to read with fluency and with much expression. This made it easier to understand and easier to comprehend that I like going to the beach to play. This is why becoming fluent readers is so important. I want each one of you to become fluent readers, and today we are going to work on that. So, let's get started!"


3. Next, say: "When you come across a word you do not know, you can use your handy dandy cover-up critter to figure out the word. I will show you an example." Write the word block on the board. "I am going to pretend that I do not know how to say this word, and I will use my cover-up critter to help me. First, I will start with the vowel and cover up all of the other letters in the word. The vowel in this word is o, and I Know that o = /o/. Then I will uncover the letters before the vowel. So in this word, I have b and l which say /b/ /l/. Then I will include the vowel with my first two letters and I will get /b/ /l/ /o/. Now I will uncover the remaining letters, c and k, and I know when these two letters are together, they make a /k/ sound. When I put all of my sounds together I get the word block. See how easy and kind of fun that was? If the cover-up critter does not work, I can also ask my neighbors to help me figure out the word."



4. Engage the students in a book talk about Frog and Toad Together. "One morning, Toad wakes up and decides to make a list of things that he is going to do that day. He includes things like: wake up, eat breakfast, go to Frog's house, and take a walk with Frog. While he and Frog are walking, a huge gust of wind takes Toad's list right from his hands, and it begins to blow away in the wind. Oh no! What will Toad do without his list? What do you think will happen next? We will just have to read to find out."


5. Next, the teacher will explain to the class that they will be participating in a repeated reading with their assigned partner. "We participate in repeated readings because they help us become more fluent readers. The more we read, the better we become at reading. I am going to read the first chapter aloud to you, and I want you to follow along in your book. I am going to read with as much fluency as I can, so I want you to pay careful attention as I read." Read first chapter aloud with much expression and with much smoothness.


6. Now the teacher will divide the students into reading partners (preferably one struggling reader paired with a successful reader). The teacher should assign each pair a different spot in the classroom so as to eliminate any distractions. Each group will receive a copy of Frog and Toad Together, a timer, a fluency checklist, a pencil, and a reading time sheet.


7. Once students have been assigned a partner and are in their designated spot in the room, the teacher will give instructions. "In this activity, one of you will be the reader, and your partner will be the recorder. The student whose birthday is coming up first will be the first reader. As the reader, you will begin reading when your partner tells you to. You will read the entire first chapter and your partner will time you. This is not a race! This activity is to help us improve our fluency, not our reading speed, so be sure to take your time. After you have read, you will become the recorder and your partner will be the reader; we are going to take turns. When it is your turn to be the recorder, you will tell your partner when to begin reading. That will be your cue to start the timer. Time your partner until he or she has finished the whole first chapter; when they are done, be sure you stop the timer. Write his or her time on the time sheet. Then you will fill out the fluency checklist based on how your partner read that selection. Once you have filled out both sheets, you will take switch tasks again. You will do this three times each, so you will each read the chapter 3 times, and you will each have a turn to be the recorder three times."


8. Before beginning, have a student volunteer come up to the front of the class to model with you so that each and every student understands what to do for this activity.


9. While the students are working and reading, you should walk around the classroom to monitor the progress of each pair. Offer assistance when needed.


10. Assessment: The students will assess one another by completing the fluency checklist and the time record sheet. The teacher will assess each student's fluency using the following formula to determine students' words per minute:

Words x 60



The teacher will also assign each student to write a complete paragraph based on what he or she read in this first chapter. This will help the teacher determine the student's comprehension of the selection.

Students will also answer comprehension questions: 

  • What is the first thing Toad writes on his list? "When I turn to page 4, I see that the first thing Toad writes on his list is 'Wake up.'"

  • What caused Toad to forget what was on his list? "I read that Toad's list blew away and Frog did not catch it, so that is why Toad couldn't remember what was on his list."

  • How did Toad finally remember what was the last thing on his list was? "Frog reminded Toad that it was getting dark and they should be going to sleep – the last thing on Toad's list."

  • Who is the friend Toad goes to see? "When I turn to page 9, I see that Toad goes to see Frog."



Murray, Bruce. The Reading Genie "Developing Reading Fluency"



Boyd, Madison. "Fantastically Fluent Readers."



Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Together.  New York, NY: Harper Collins,

1971. Print.

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Taff, Jessica. “All I Do Is Read, Read, Read No Matter What”


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