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Now Boarding the Fluency Flight

Now Boarding the Fluency Flight

Growing Independence

By: Catie Dennis



            Fluency is defined by reading with automatic word recognition. One of the most important task for a student to master is the ability to become fluent while reading. The student must practice their pace, fluency, and comprehension while reading. Fluency is an important because it enhances the comprehension in the student. As a teacher it is important to encourage students as they move from the phase of decoding to automatic sight word recognition. It is important that students stay interested in reading so that they will undertake the steps necessary to reach the fluency goal. Repeated readings are very effective during the journey to build fluency as it offers a direct route to fluency by rapidly building sight vocabulary.



·      Pencils

·      Paper

·      Class set of The Little Airplane

·      Sample sentences for the teacher to model

·      Stop watches for each pair of students

·      Peer fluency sheets for students

·      Peer fluency sheets for teacher



1.     Say: Today we are going to work on something very important that every reader must master to become the best reader they can be. It is called fluency! Does anyone know what the word fluency means? Fluency means being able to read every word smoothly, easily, and at a good pace. Along with getting all of the words you read correct, it is important to be a fluent reader because then you are able to focus on what is going on in the text of the story instead of focusing on how to read and decode words. A fluent reader also reads with expression! That means when you are reading aloud you say the words like you think the characters are would be speaking them. This could be using a soft tone, loud tone, or excitement in your voice.


2.     Say: Now let’s look at the sentence I have written on the board. Kate sat on the beach all day long.  Everyone cup your hands around your ears as I read the sentence aloud. I need you to tell me if you think I am reading this sentence like a fluent reader would or not. k/aaaaa/t/ee, kate, s/aaaaa/t,sat, on, the, b////eeee/aaa/ch/, beach, all, dddd/aayyy/, day, /llll/ooo/n/g/, long. Kate sat on the b/ee/aa/ch all day long. Kate sat on the bEch all day long. That doesn’t make sense! It must be the word, beach. Kate sat on the beach all day long. What did you notice that I did when I got stuck on a word? I continued to reread it until I understood the word and what they sentence was saying. I read through the sentence from the beginning and tried several times to figure out what the word, beach, was. As I continued to keep rereading the sentence I understood that bech really was beach! This strategy is known as crosschecking. It is important to do this every time I am reading. Taking my time and figuring out the word I was unsure about it what is going to make you a fluent reader. It is a key strategy to use when becoming a fluent reader.



3.     Say: So, was I reading that sentence like a fluent reader? No! I had to decode the word in the sentence, which made my reading not sound smooth at all. I also had no expression. Here is how to read that sentence correctly. Kate sat on the beach all day long. What did I do correctly this time? I didn’t have to decode, I had expression in my voice, and my reading was smooth and easy. Now I want you to turn to a partner and read this next sentence given on the board: Kate ran into the water but it was way to cold to swim in.  Read this aloud to your partner until you are able to read it fluently.


4.     Now we are all going to get a chance to practice being a fluent reader by reading, The Little Airplane.  “ Pilot Small is preparing for his flight to a special destination. He loves to fly because there is a lot to look at from above. What special things do you think he will see from up above? Lets keep reading to see what he sees in his little airplane.” I want everyone to read this book silently. This means without whisper reading or moving your lips.


5.     Now you are going to get with a partner and you will get a chance to play a fluency game with this story. Remember that it is important to always be nice to your partner and to never make fun of them if there is a word they do not know. The first partner is going to start as the reader and partner two is going to be the timer. The reading partner is going to read the story aloud 3 times. The second and third time I want the timing partner to record how long it takes for the reader to read the story. Think about what you notice as they continue to read. Do they get faster? Do they sound smoother? Can they read with expression? I want you to listen and mark these on you paper! Lets begin! The teacher should walk around and observe the students during this activity.


6.     After the students are done reading collect the data for yourself to analyze how your students did and who still needs improvement. Have each student read to you individually to you as you time them for one minute. Mark improvements needed and miscues, and ask comprehension questions. When the student has finished reading use the formula wordsx60/seconds read. This will help you analyze how many words your student is reading per minute and will help you monitor their fluency.




Mitchell, Emily: The Fluency Fox https://sites.google.com/site/thefluencyfox/

Woods, Carly: Flying Fluently into Space https://sites.google.com/site/misswoods14/flying-fluently-into-space

Lenski, Louis. The Little Airplane http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/037581079X?ie=UTF8&tag=notifoflca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=037581079X


Peer Fluency Checklist

Readers Name:

Partners Name:

1st time reading:

2nd time reading:

3rd time reading:

After the 2nd or 3rd (circle one) reading I noticed my partner:

·      Remembered more words

·      Read with expression

·      Read faster

·      Read smoother and easier



Teacher Fluency Checklist

Readers Name:



Words X 60/time in seconds:______ WPM

Comprehension Questions:

1.     What is the main idea of the paragraph?

2.     What is the theme of the story?

3.      What is one thing the pilot does before taking off?

4.      What are two parts of an airplane?

Comprehension question responses were:

·      Great!

·      Good J

·      Needs improvement :/

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