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Leaping Into Fluency!

Leaping Into Fluency!


Growing Independence and Fluency

Caroline Brennan


Rationale: To become a successful reader one must read fluently, accurately, with expression, and consistently. Fluent reading is essential in comprehending. It is characterized by effortless word recognition. This influences speed. Instead of focusing on decoding word by word, students can instead reflect on what they are reading. Students will be able to confidently improve fluency and grow into approved readers through reading, decoding, crosschecking, mental marking, and rereading. Students’ improvement in reading fluency during this lesson will be tracked through repeated readings and charting reading times with a formula (words read x 60/ seconds).

Materials: pencils and paper, stopwatch, Frog and Toads are Friend, cover-up critter, sample sentences on white board for teacher to model, peer fluency sheet (one for each student), reading rate forms for teacher, teacher fluency check (one for each student) with attached comprehension questions.



1.    Begin the lesson by saying, “Alright class, today we are working on becoming fluent readers. We know that our goal is to become fluent readers, but what does fluent readers mean? What do you think of when I say fluent readers? Responses. Fluent readers are able to read quickly, smoothly, and with expression because they recognize words automatically. This also helps us understand what we are reading because we don’t have to stop and analyze each word. This makes reading so much more enjoyable and entertaining.”

2.    Say: “Now let’s look at a sentence written on the boards: Ted rode his bike on the beach. Listen as I read aloud the sentence and tell me if I sound like a fluent reader. Ted r-r-roood, oh wait I see and e on the end, rode, his biiiii-kkk. Wait silent e so bike… on the b-/e/-/e/-ch. Ted rode his bike on the bech. No no, Ted rode his bike on the beach. Did you notice that when I read the sentence, I got stuck on the last word? To figure out what that word was, I reread the sentence from the beginning and tried what I thought the word beach said, bech. That did not make sense, did it? So I went back to reread to figure out what the word should read that would make sense. This strategy is called crosschecking, and it is super important to use when we are learning to become fluent readers! Since I figured out these hard words while reading it helped me become fluent. Thumbs up if you think I read that like a fluent reader. Exactly, no I wasn’t reading like a fluent reader because I had to decode the words in the sentence. Here is how a fluent reader would read that sentence: Ted rode his bike on the beach. I read that sentence effortlessly, and it made it much easier to understand, right? My reading was more fluent because those words are becoming sight words for me. I don’t need to continue decoding them because I know them automatically. Now turn to a partner and practice reading the second sentence on the board.” The dog, Jim, bites my toe, and He licks my arm. “Read it aloud to one another until you read fluently.”

3.    Say: “Now let’s think back to when I read the first sentence and I got stuck on the word beach. To figure out what the word was, I reread the sentence from the beginning and tried what I thought the word beach said, bech. That did not make sense, did it? So I went back to the text to reread to figure out what the word should say that would make sense. This strategy is called crosschecking, and it is very important to use when we are learning to become fluent readers!”

4.    Assign partners for each students and pas out the books. “Now we are going to read Frog and Toad are Friends. Booktalk: This story is about a wonderful friendship between Frog and Toad. Frog is very excited about the new year approaching, and he has to find out how to get Toad up after his long winter nap so they can go on adventures. How do you think Frog gets Toad up and what kind of adventures will the two go on? Let’s read to find out!”

5.    Students should read the first two pages silently to themselves. Then they should each read a chapter aloud to each other. Explain to the students that while they are reading not to help each other out.

6.    Pass out recording sheets and stopwatches to each group. “Now we are going to play the fluency game. Put your listening ears back on to hear how to play! Reader 1 is going to start the game off and Reader 2 will be in control of the stopwatch. Reader 2 is going to time Reader 1 reading the first chapter of Frog and Toad are Friends, and then he/she will record the time on the sheet I have handed out to you. After recording the information, Reader 2 will read and Reader 1 will record. Do this three times each. As you listen to your partner read aloud the chapter, I want you to be listening for how their reading changes each time. Does the reader get quicker? Does he/she remember more words? Does he/she read with more expression? Mark these changes on your paper. Also, after your partner has read the second time and then again on the third time, use your checklist to let them know how they are doing on their reading. Are they becoming expert readers! Let’s get started!”

7.    After the student pairs have each read through the passage three times, have the students, come one at a time, read a paragraph from the first chapter. Ask them to bring their record sheet so you can attach it to the back of my assessment sheet. You will time them on the paragraph read aloud, and use the formula given to record how many words they have read per minute.

Words read x 60


Use a list of comprehension questions to assess how their fluency is affecting their comprehension.



 Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. New York: Harper and Row, 1970.

Lesson References:

Janel Ludlam, Fluency is TOADLY Awesome!


 Jacquelyn Johnson, Monkeying Around with Fluency


Peer Fluency Check

Name of Reader: ____________________

Date: _________________

1st Time: ________

2nd Time: ________

3rd Time: ________

I noticed that my partner…

            After which read?       2nd       3rd

Remembered more words  

Read faster

Read smoother

Read with expression

Teacher Fluency Check

Name of Reader: _______________

Date: _________________ 

Time: ________

Words x 60/time in seconds: _______WPM


1. What was this paragraph about?

2. What characters are being discussed?

3. Is there a problem happening in the story?


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