Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Fluency with Muffins and a Moose


Rationale: Reading fluency is a vital component of reading and reading comprehension. Reading fluency means reading 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 eat muffins."

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

- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie  by Laura Numeroff (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, "Alright class, today we will be learning about how we can 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 enjoyable. 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 eat muffins." 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  E-E-t-t  m-m-u-u-f-f-i-i-n-n-s-s. 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 eat muffins! 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 neat little cover-up critter to figure out the word. I will show you an example." Write the word lick 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 i, and I Know that i = /i/. Then I will uncover the letters before the vowel. So in this word, I have l which says /l/. Then I will include the vowel with my first two letters and I will get /l/ /i/. 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, lick. 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 If You Give a Moose a Muffin "In this book, our main character gets a visit from a moose. He decides to give him a muffin, but then he cannot get the moose to leave. Let's read to find out what happens."


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 beginning of the book 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 the first 3 pages 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 If You Give a Moose a Muffin, 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 10 pages; 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 first 10 pages 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, but do not interfere with them doing it on their own, if possible.


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/Seconds


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.




Caroline Gagnon. "Fluent in Cookie Eating and in Reading!"!growing-independence-and-fluency/cee5

Numeroff, Laura and Felicia Bond. If You Give a Moose a Muffin.  New York, NY: Harper Collins,1991. Print.