Home‎ > ‎

Going Fishing For Fluency

 Going Fishing for Fluency



Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Emily Milner


Rationale:  Fluency, which simply means being able to read quickly, at an even pace, and with expression, is an important skill for students to obtain.  If students are fluent readers, reading becomes more efficient and they can begin reading for understanding at a better pace. Students will also likely become more interested in reading when they can read fluently and understand what they are reading. In order for students to become fluent readers, they must read and re-read decodable books, practice decoding and learn to decode at a quick speed.  This lesson calls for students to practice reading decodable books many times in order to be able to read them quickly and smoothly.  Students will read the books independently and then read to a peer.


Materials: Sentence strip with sentence The fish flopped right out of the water; copies of Pig in a Bag (Geri Murray) for each student; stop watch for every group of students; paper for comprehension checking questions; paper score card and pencils for each group to record reading times; speed reading record sheets; speed reading chart (fisherman with fish on a fishing rod)



1.  Teacher:  Today, Boys and Girls, we are going to be practicing how to read fluently, which means fast but smooth at the same time! It is important that we learn to read quickly and with ease so that we can focus on understanding what we read rather than how to decode the words! 


2. Teacher: Before we start our lesson today, let's review crosschecking. Who can tell me what that is? (wait for student reply) Great! Yes, crosschecking is when we can't figure out a word so we finish the sentence and see if we can figure out what we are missing. Let's look at this sentence. (put "I like to play outside." Up on the board.) I lll-iii-ccckkk to ppplllaaayyy ooouuuttssiiiiiidde. I lick to play outside? That doesn't sound right. Oh wait, maybe it's like! Yes, I like to play outside! Now I would like for you to try once with your sentence strips.


3.  Teacher:  Now, I will show you how to read a sentence fluently.  (Put a sentence strip on the board with The fish flopped right out of the water, on it.) Listen to me as I say the sentence a loud and listen to how the sounds blend together so smoothly.  Thhheeee fffiiissshhh ffflllooopppeeeddd rrriiiggghhhttt ooouuuttt ooooffff ttthhheee wwaaattterrr.  I will then read the sentence faster than the time before and then repeat.  The last time I read the sentence, I will blend the words together and read the words at the same pace and smooth the words together in the sentence.  Like this: The fish flopped right out of the water! This is how we read fluently.  Did you notice that when I read the sentence the last time, I added expression? This is one reason why it is good to be fluent readers! Do you see why it is important for us to read this way?  When we read like this, it is much easier to understand.  We are improving our reading by reading and rereading to make it more fluent.


3.  Teacher: It is your turn to practice reading fluently now!  Everyone spread out around the room and I will give you a book to practice reading quickly and smoothly.  Please read it a few times because practicing reading the book is a great way to improve reading fluency.  The book we are reading is Pig in a Bag.  In the story, the boy gets a pig as a birthday present.  The pig causes some trouble and the dog and cat get in a fight with the pig.  The pig runs away and the boy is chasing after him.  Do you think he will ever catch him?  Let us read to find out!  Remember to put the words together smoothly in the sentence as you reread the book!


4.  Teacher: Once you practiced reading your book, come back to the group and I will pair you with a partner to read together.  You are each going to read the book to your partner 3 times.  With the stopwatch I give you, as well as the score sheet, you are going to time your partner as he or she reads the book to you. You will then fill out the score card with how many words your partner got right out of the total words and how many seconds it took them to read it. You will then do this two more times as you get more fluent in your reading!


5.  During the peer assessment, I will monitor the students working and try to ensure that all students are following directions and assessing each other correctly.


6.  After the students read to one another, I will call them up to my desk individually and explain to them what how many words they read per minute means and how it relates to fluency.  I will then have a chart with a fisherman reeling in a fish.  There will be increments of 5 starting at the bottom of the lake as 5 going up to the top of fishing pole to 85.  I will put the fish on the corresponding number of words they read per minute.  I will encourage the student to keep practicing by moving their fish up each time they increase their words read per minute.


Assessment:  I will assess their fluency and comprehension by keeping their times documented and watching their improvement on the charts. I will also have literacy guide questions written on the board for the students to answer once they have finished reading the text. They will turn this in to me at the end of the activity.



How did the boy catch the pig?

Why did the animals get into a fight?

How did the story end?


Student Assessment Chart:


Trial Number

Words Correct/Words in Text

Time of student's reading (in seconds)

Trial One



Trial Two



Trial Three






Megan O'Brien.  Reading Genie Website.  Slide Your Way to Reading http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/projects/obriengf.html


Sarah Daughtry.  Reading Genie Website.  Speed Reading is Fun



Pig in a Bag.  Geri Murray



Kathleen Griffin. Reading Genie Website: Fishing for Fluency