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Smooth Sailing to Fluency!

Smooth Sailing to Fluency!

 Fluency Lesson Design  

Lindsey Smith


            Fluent reading is a student's ability to read words correctly and automatically with this important skill comes full comprehension. Along with phonics instruction, students can learn to recognize words more rapidly and automatically and students can gain fluency by reading and rereading text and timed reading. Once students have become fluent readers, they will find that they can read more smoothly without having to stop and sound out every word. This lesson will include repeated reading and timed reading that will help students become more fluent!



1 sailboat cutout for each student

 One stopwatch for every two students

Class set of Detective Ted and the Case of the Missing Cookie

Ocean map to Treasure Island to keep up with their reading progress

Fluency time sheet



1.  To begin this lesson, I will tell the class, "Today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers. Being a fluent reader means that you are able to read words smoothly and automatically. By being a fluent reader this helps us to understand the story we are reading. There are several things that we can do to help us become fluent readers!”

2.  “We are going to start becoming fluent readers by doing something called repeated readings. Repeated readings mean you read an entire story and record how long it took you! The reason it is called repeated readings is because you will read the same text a few times and each time record how many words you were able to read. It is important to remember not to read too fast because if you are flying through the test, you may have a harder time remembering what it was you read.”

3.  I will pass out the book Kite Day at Pine Lake to the class and give a brief book talk. “The book we are going to read is called, Detective Ted and the Case of the Missing Cookies. It is about some a bear that has a bit of a problem; his cookies keep disappearing in the middle of the night! He decides to try and solve the mystery himself, but he runs into some scary creatures along the way. You all will have to keep reading to find out whose been eating all the cookies! ” 

4. Model how to reread a passage from the text. “I am going to read a sentence to you in different ways and after I am finished I want you to tell me which way sounded the best.” Say "Thhheyyyy chhhhewwed on cooookiieess” very slowly, stretching the sounds out and showing no expression. Now say it again, but this time say it smoothly and with expression. “Which way do you all think sounded better? Great job, the second time was much better! It was easier for everyone to understand and it made the story sound much more interesting, right?"

5. “Now we are going to read with a partner. One will be the recorder and one will read the book and then you will swap. The person who is reading will read the entire story, the recorder will stop the timer as soon as they are finished reading. The recorder will write the time it took for your reading partner to finish the book. While the reader is reading the recorder will also evaluate them using the sheet I have handed out and marking the boxes that are true. After the first reader has gone for the first time, I want you to come up to the board and move your sailboat to the first point on the way to Treasure Island. This will help you remember how many times you have read the story! You will each try to read the story two more times and each time don't forget to write down the number of words you were able to read on your chart as well as moving your sailboat towards Treasure Island.” 

Time Sheet:

Reader:                        Recorder:

















 Recorder’s Evaluation Sheet:

Reader:                              Recorder: 

    I noticed that my partner…

After 2nd Reading

After 3rd Reading




Remembered more words



Read faster



Read smoother



Read with expression

6.  After the first round, have the students reread for one minute starting at the beginning and using the same steps as they did before.  Remind them to record the number of words they read and to move their sailboats!

7. Allow the students to repeat these steps three times.  The students will stop when they have filled in all of the charts and their sailboats have reached Treasure Island. When they are finished, each student will talk to their partner to see how they did. I will walk around and monitor students to be sure they are recording their word count properly.

8. To assess the students reading fluency, I will begin pulling student who have already completed the reading at least twice. I will look at their best word counts and talk with them about things they struggled with while really the story or what they learned from reading it twice. I will also ask comprehension questions about the text and let students discuss their answers.

            1. Who ate Detective Ted’s cookies?

            2. What did Detective Ted do to stop them?

            3. How did Detective Ted’s friend Sid the Hamster help him? 


Joyce, Melanie. Detective Ted and the Case of the Missing Cookies. Cottage Farm, Sywell: Igloo Books Ltd, 2011.                        

Megan Zickos http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/zickosgf.html

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