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Growing Fluency Lesson

Hit the Fluency Ball Out of the Park!

Katie Carter

A Growing Fluency Lesson


Fluency is the ability to read effortlessly with automatic word recognition, and it is the key to being able to read with comprehension. As a reader gains fluency, they are able to read faster, read more words, and read with more comprehension. This lesson will ensure that readers understand the importance of fluency, the strategies of crosschecking and decoding, and how to monitor and promote progress through repeated readings.


-The Berenstain Bears Play T-Ball by Stan and Jan Berenstain  (copy for each pair of students)



-Stopwatch (one for each pair of students)

-Partner evaluation sheets (one for each pair of students)

-Reading graph (one for each student)


1. Say, “We all want to become great readers don’t we? Well, how do we become these great readers? Anyone have an idea? (allow students to contribute their ideas)  To become great readers, we must be able to read fluently. When we read fluently, it means that we are reading effortlessly with automatic word recognition, and if we are reading with automatic word recognition, that means that we have a huge sight vocabulary! This sight vocabulary is so large that it encompasses most of the words that we will read in everyday text. Once we are able to read with this type of accuracy, we will become great readers by practicing increasing our speed as we read and by reading with more expression. This will lead to an increase in our comprehension skills and will allow us to read a variety of advanced texts. So, the first step to gaining fluency is adding to our sight vocabulary. How do we do that? By decoding, crosschecking, mental marking, and rereading.”

2. Say, “Since we know how to become a fluent reader, I am going to model how we should decode and crosscheck when we come to a word that we are not familiar with. (write sentence on the board ‘Jack and Kate got lost on the island.’) Okay, so let’s take a look at this sentence. If I was reading this sentence, I might read ‘Jack and Kate got lost on the /i//z//l//a//n//d/…on the izland? Hmm…that doesn’t make sense. /I//l//a//n//d/…/I/ land, oh! The s is silent! Island. Okay, now that I have decoded and crosschecked to learn an unfamiliar word, I need to go back and reread the sentence so that I can understand it. ‘Jack and Kate got lost on the island.’”

3. Say, “All right, now that we have reviewed decoding and crosschecking, I want to show you how we can read fluently. (erase old sentence, and write two short sentences on the board, ‘I am going to read these sentences that are on the board. ‘Tom…./m/ /e/ /t/ Beth at the /b/ /A/ /l/ /l/ park…ball park. They /h/ /a/ /d/…had…/f/ /U/ /n/…foon…fun.’ That wasn’t very fluent was it? I couldn’t really understand what I was reading because I had to stretch out the words and sound them out. Okay, let me read the sentences again. (read sentences a little faster, but without expression) ‘Tom…met Beth at the ball…park. They…had fun.’ Okay, that was better! I didn’t have to stop and sound out the words this time. I was able to read a little bit faster, but it was still slow and sounded choppy. I’m going to read them again. (read sentences faster this time, with expression) ‘Tom met Beth at the ballpark. They had fun!’  That was much better! The sentences sounded smooth and I understood what I was reading! Tom and Beth went to the ballpark and they had fun together. I recognized the words automatically and I was able to read it fluently!” 

4. Say, “Now we are all going to practice fluency by reading The Berenstain Bears Play T-Ball.  Booktalk: In this book, Brother and Sister Berenstain Bear try to teach a bunch of little cubs how to play T-ball, but the cubs get confused. One cub cries when he gets out, another runs home, and eventually—they all just play tag in the middle of the field. Brother and Sister bear are upset. What will they do? You and your partner will have to read and find out!”

5. Pair up the students (reader 1 and reader 2) and pass each pair a copy of The Berenstain Bears Play T-Ball along with the reading assessments, and stopwatches. Say, “Remember, we are practicing fluency, so you and your partner will each read the book several times to practice. You each will read for one minute at a time, so don’t worry about reading the entire book today. You will use the stopwatches I gave to each of you to time each other. This is how the fluency practice will go: Reader 1 will begin reading the book while Reader 2 starts the stopwatch and listens. When Reader 1 has read for one minute, then he or she will pass the book to Reader 2 and Reader 2 will give the stopwatch to Reader 1. After both readers have read the book for one minute, the readers will again switch roles. When reading the book for the second time, the partner who is using the stopwatch will listen and mark the reader’s improvement from the first round on the checklist that I gave you. (hold up checklist) On the checklist, you should make a note if you notice the reader remembering more words, reading faster, reading smoother, or reading with more expression. Once both partners complete the second round of reading, a third round should be completed in the same way.” (if additional explanation is needed, model the process with a student)


Once the students have finished three rounds of repeated reading, have each student turn in his or her checklist. The teacher should now call up students one by one and perform repeated readings with each student, graphing his or her progress on the fluency chart as he or she improves. In between each round of repeated reading, make sure to praise students on aspects of fluency and make suggestions when needed. After the three rounds have been completed, ask a few comprehension questions: “Why did Brother and Sister get upset?” “How did the umpire help Brother and Sister?”

Teacher Fluency Checklist:

 Reading # 1


Total Number of words:                        




Reading # 2



Reading # 3



Did the student read more words? _______

Did the student read faster? ________

Did the student read smoother? __________

Did the student read with more expression? _________

Partner Evaluation Sheet: 

Reading Graph:


Murray, Dr. Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency


Dilworth, Anna. “Climbing the Mountain of Fluency”

 https   ://sites.google.com/site/annasresearchbasedlessonplans/home/growing-independence-and-fluency

Berenstain, Stan and Jan. The Berenstain Bears Play T-Ball. HarperCollins, I Can Read Book: New York. 2005. 32 p.

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