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Growing Fluency Design

Flying Into Fluency 

Rationale: This lesson aims to help students develop fluency in longer, more developed texts. These fluent readers can read and recognize words quickly, automatically, and accurately. Fluency is crucial to comprehend the reading, making it more enjoyable. We also want readers to be able to read and re-read decodable words in text, which will help improve both fluency and speed. Throughout this lesson, students will practice their reading fluency with their repeated reading of “Where the Wild Things Are” and they will gain experience with silent and partner reading. They will read for fluency with the teacher and go over unfamiliar words between readings.

Goal: To improve the student’s influence and independence through repeated and timed reading.


  • The book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (one for group + teacher copy, 40 page book)

  • Stop watch/timing device for each pair of students

  • Dry erase cutouts

  • Dry erase markers

  • Chart paper to record student's words per minute

  • Copies of passage (one for the students to read and one for each student for the teacher to record on)

  • Fluency checklist (to pass out to students)

  • An image of a superhero on a piece of Velcro that moves in relation to the students WPM (1 for each student)

0 - - - - 10 - - - - 20 - - - - 30 - - - - 40 - - - - 50 - - - - 60 - - - - 70 - - - - 80 - - - - 90 - - - - 100

Correct Words Per Minute

Fluency Checklist:

Title of Book: __________________________________

Student’s Name: ____________   Date___________

Partner's Name: ______________________________

After 2nd Reading       After 3rd Reading

_________                    _________                   Remembered more words

_________                    _________                   Read faster

_________                    _________                   Read smoother

_________                    _________                   Read with expression


1. First explain to the students what it means to be a fluent reader.

Say: “We want to all become fluent readers because being fluent means we don’t need any extra help to read things that are interesting to us. A fluent reader knows words right away just by looking at them and they read a story with expression! This will take a lot of practice, but once we become more fluent readers we will love to read more and we will not have to stop and try to read every word! Ready to give it a try? Let’s go!”

2. Say: “There are a few tools that you have already learned that will help you become a more fluent reader. Let’s think about them. First, you have to be able to decode words. Remember, It’s okay if you get stuck on a difficult word. Cover-up critters are great friends to have that can help us when we aren’t sure on a word.” I will model how to use the cover-up critter when you find an unfamiliar word.” Say: “We can use cover-up critters to help us decode an unfamiliar word we haven’t learned yet (I will write the word fight on the board). I am going to use my cover-up critter to help me decode this word (I will cover up all letters except for f). //…ffffff. (Then I will uncover igh). /I/… /fI/. (Lastly I will uncover t. /t/…/fIt/… fight! This word is fight. We used our cover-up critter to blend all of our correspondences together to find out the word. If we still find ourselves stuck, we can use a great method known as cross-checking. This means reading the remaining words in the sentence to see if we can get the word we are stuck on instead of using the pictures to help us. For example, if I thought the word was “fit,” I would then realize that it does not really make sense once I finish the sentence: “The cats are in a fit.” The word I was supposed to say was fight because igh=/I/. Let’s go over our reading tools together again: We decode, crosscheck, discover the word and reread the entire sentence for comprehension. Now we are ready to read for fluency!”

3. Say: “Now I am going to read from the board aloud. Listen as I read and decide whether you think I am a fluent reader or a beginner” (Sentence: Sally can jump up and down. Have sentence on smart board so that students can follow along from their seats). “Salllllyyyy cccannnnnee, no can, juuummmmpp, uuuupp aaannddd ddooonnn, wait no down. Now I will reread the sentence so I can make sure that I comprehend all the words. Sally can jump up and down.”

4. Now, ask the students questions about the way that you read the sentence the first couple of times. Say: “What did you notice about the first time I read the sentence? Did you have a hard time understanding the sentence the first time I read it? What did I struggle with? By the end, what changed? Did you find yourself wanting to hear more about the story when I read with expression?” In order to figure out the hard words, I had to reread the sentence, and not the correspondence and the pronunciation. I heard that cane and don were not correct. I realized that a=/a/ in can and ow=/ow/ in down. Once I saw my mistakes, I reread the sentence and it made more sense with ran and take. These words are now sight words for me, since I had to correct myself. Now, I will be able to read these words more fluently.

5. Say: “Now it’s your turn to practice! The book we are going to read today is called Where the Wild Things Are. This is a story about a boy who had to spend dinner time in his room, but when he was sitting there his room began to transform into a forest. Next to it there was an ocean with a private boat for Max. He rides for weeks, months, almost a year. Then he came to where the wild things are. He started to walk around and explore. Along the way, he saw two giant creatures in a fight. Will the creatures accept him? How will he get back home?

6. Say: “It is time to get with your reading partners, and go to our designated reading area in the classroom. I want two of the three partners to walk to the reading area and the other partner to come to the front and pick up two Fluency checklists. Together, I would like for you to count off how many words are on the first two pages of Where the Wild things Are? Each partner will take turns reading the book aloud to one another. Each person should read the two pages three times. When one partner is reading, the other will use a stopwatch to record the time. Make sure to make a tally for each mistake that your partner makes when they are reading aloud (method will be explained and shown on the white board). Once you finish reading we are going to do an easy math problem! We will take the total number of words minus the number of tally mistakes. Remember we will have to do this three times. Now we will see the progress of each student. We will do so by answering questions on the progress form. This will show which reading was the fastest and had the least amount of errors. Remember to use all of the skills we talked about earlier! Be expressive with your reading and have fun!” (Pass out fluency checklist to each student, and give them time for each partner to read/fill out the checklist for their partner. Take these up. Teacher should walk around and monitor progress.)


7. Say: “It looks like everyone is finished. Awesome job! I am going to call you back to my reading table in groups and we are going to talk about the book together. When I call your name, please come back here with me. If you are not with me, sit and practice your silent reading.” (Call students back to reading table in small groups of four or five. Ask short, quick questions-about 1 per student- to check for comprehension and make sure students were actually reading. Send all students back to their desks.)


8. For assessment, I will call students one at a time to read a passage of text that they have been reading with their partners. (Choose at your discretion. I used the first two pages). I will also ask three comprehension questions: Why did Max have to go to bed without dinner? How did the Wild things treat Max? How long did Max’s mom say he was gone ? (I will time the students on how long it takes them to read the first two pages. I will record the student's words per minute on a chart.)

Words x 60 = WPM


When the student receives his or her words per minute, they will then move their airplane to the correct WPM. The goal is to get the airplane through the sky to land before the storm! The student will reread the passage a few times with me, moving their superhero to the appropriate point on the graph each time. Between readings, I will scaffold by asking open-ended questions like, “Would you like to go live with the wild things, or stay in your own room?” Between readings, I will also point out words they have trouble with and use cover-ups to help them decode the word properly.