Growing Independence and Fluency

"Read Fluently with Amelia Bedelia and Me!"

                                                  Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Hillary Goins

 Rationale: Reading fluency is being able to read with automatic word recognition. When readers become fluent their ability to read text quick, smooth, and with expression will increase. The recognition of these words may be learned by decoding and then sped up through the use of repeated readings. The strongest research evidence supports the method of repeated reading to gain fluency. If students are fluent readers and do not have to individually decode each individual word, they will be able to spend more time deciphering the message and retaining it for comprehension. If a student is unfamiliar with a particular word and unable to decode it, perhaps he could figure out the word by crosschecking. Children who use both decoding and crosschecking are becoming more able to recognize words automatically, read with expression, and understand the context. The goal of this lesson is to improve student’s fluency through repeated readings and timed reading.



·         Class set of decodable books, Amelia Bedelia By Peggy Parish (one per student)

·         Stopwatch (one per pair)

·         Pencils

·         Reading charts for each student

·         Fluency rubric for each child

·         Dry-Erase Board/Marker

·         Students’ Reading Journals


 Reading Progress Chart:

Name:______________________  Date:____________


1st reading: ______

2nd reading: ______

3rd reading: ______


Fluency Rubric:

Name:______________________  Evaluator:_______________________ 

Date: ____________


I noticed that my partner: (put an X in the blank)                                                 

                                                                 After 2nd   After 3rd

Read Faster                                                ______      ______

Read Smoother                                           ______      ______

Read with Expression                                ______      ______

Remembered more words                          ______      ______





1. Introduce the lesson by explaining what it means to be a fluent reader. 

"Today, we are going to practice reading more fluently. Does anyone know what I mean by the term fluent? Fluent readers read quickly. Their reading is also very effortless and automatic. We can all become fluent readers by reading a text several times. Today, we are going to work on improving our fluency by rereading a text." The teacher will use the dry erase board and write ‘Look at the door.’ A beginning reader sounds like this when reading the sentence on the board: ‘Looook aaaat tthhee dooooorr'.  Then they might say 'Lloookk look- at- the- ddooor door' struggling with the unfamiliar and repeating those they do not recognize.  A beginning reader who can read the words automatically might say Look at the door' but sound like a robot or read without expression, but a fluent reader who recognizes words automatically and reads with expression sounds like this: ‘Look at the door!'  Fluent readers sound like this because they are able to read the words effortlessly and automatically. The only way to become fluent is to practice. Just like anything else such as making your bed, playing basketball, playing the piano, practice makes perfect. The more practice that you have with a book, the faster you are able to read it.  Reading a book that you have already read before also helps you become more natural with books that you have never even seen before.  Let's start practicing so that we can become fluent readers!"


2. First say: "Today we are going to review the cover up critter strategy.  Okay, what do we do when we come to a word that we cannot read?  We use our cover-up critter! For example, if I saw this word (write stick on the board) when I was reading and did not know it, I would cover-up all the letters (s, t, c, k) but the vowels because I know that  i= /i/.  Now look at the letters before the vowel i, the st.  Blend these phonemes with the vowel i.  This sounds like /s/t/i/.  Then blend the letters at the end of the word, the ck, with the rest of the letters to make /s/t/i/c/k/.  When you see a word that you don't know how to read, use the cover-up method to help you decode the word. Breaking it down into little pieces is a lot less intimidating and makes it less frustrating when you come across a word you do not know."


3. Tell the students: "To understand what we have read, we cannot just focus on reading fast.  We can crosscheck what we read to make sure our sentence makes sense.  For example, if I read this sentence (Write on the board: "It feels hot outside") as "It falls hot outside" then I could use my crosschecking ability to decide that “falls” doesn't have anything to do with it being hot outside. I would then reread my sentence correctly as “It feels hot outside" realizing that I misread the word.


4. Break the class up into pairs. Then give selected book, Amelia Bedelia to each child; hand out a Fluency Rubric and Reading Progress Chart to each student. Also, give the following book talk about Amelia Bedelia, but will be careful not to give away the ending so that the students are eager to continue reading. “A rich couple hires a maid to do chores while they are out for the day. Amelia has the best of intentions and wants to please her new employers. She does the chores exactly how they are written, word for word. We will have to read more to figure out how Amelia interprets each of the chores. Will she lose her new job? Lets find out!”


5.After the students have heard the whole story out loud and tell them to take turns reading parts of the story to their partners. The person who is not reading, “the recorder”, will write down how long it takes the "reader" to read pages 6-14 of the text.  The "recorder" will record the "reader’s" time by using the stopwatch.  The "recorder" will then make a note on the Reading Progress Chart about how long it took the reader to read pages 6-14 (154 words). They will then switch turns (the "reader" becoming the "recorder" and vice versa) and do the process again.


6. After both children have finished reading, have them practice by doing a repeated reading of the same text.  This time also remind each "recorder" to fill out the Fluency

Rubric after the "reader" has read the book. This will give them a chance to focus on expression and smoothness not just speed. This will also show me how well they read the text not just if they could read it quickly.


7. Allow the students to do one more rereading of the book for a total of three readings of the book.  Remind the children to carry on recording their partner's reading in the Reading Progress Chart and to complete the Fluency Rubric. Let the students discuss how they got better within their readings and rereadings of the book with their partner.


8. Then collect the students' completed Fluency Rubrics and Reading Progress Charts. Compare the students' first, second, and last readings to check for development in fluency and divide the 154 words that each child reads multiply it by 60 and then dividedby the amount of time that it took them. This will give me the words per minute for each student and enable me to make a graph of their progress.


Assessment: At the end each child will get out their reading journal and write about three mistakes that Amelia Bedelia made while completing her checklist. This will show whether or not the students comprehended the text. Afterwards, they will choose one mistake that Amelia Bedelia made and draw and color a picture of what the list intended literally and how she interpreted it.



Parrish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia. Harper Collins: New York, 1963


Murray, Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.


Adams, Hayes.  Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design. “Amelia Bedelia Wants You to Read More Fluently.”