Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Lassoing Reading

A Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design

By: Jessica Clark 


For the optimal amount of reading comprehension students need to be fluent readers. To be fluent means the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. The goal of reading is to help students to have automatic sight word recognition. Students should be able to recognize words in ¼ of a second. In having automatic sight word recognition students do not have to spend resources decoding, but can focus on comprehending, remembering, and making connections in the text. Having accuracy allows students to use strategies to evaluate their reading errors.  Using expression in reading allows students to communicate the intended emotions of the author through their reading aloud. Being fluent readers should be a goal of all reading instruction, and allows for reader’s confidence to grow. Children will be assessed on improvement by the formula (words read x 60/seconds) to determine the child’s words per minute (wpm). Repeated reading will be used in this lesson to help the children’s fluency rate.



·      Billy the Ghost and Me by Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick

·      Stopwatches

·      Graph to chart reading time (for each student)

·      Cover-up critter (for each student)

·      Sentences written on the board (used for modeling). Pal the dog can do some tricks. Pal has a best bud, Cash. 

·      iPad with Slideshark downloaded with Powerpoint of words that have words used in text.

·      A paper with comprehension questions

o   What did Billy look like?

o   Why did Sarah and Billy feel like they needed to stop the bank robbers?

o   What did Sarah and Billy do to stop the bank robbers?



1.     Explain: Teacher says: As expert readers we must learn to read fluenty. Reading fluently means that we read fast, accurately, and with a lot of expression (or emotion).  This helps us build our sight word vocabulary so that we don’t have to spend time decoding words.  In order to do this we need to read a book more than once so that we can become familiar with it – which is called repeated reading. We are going to be doing that today.

2.     Models: Teacher models how to crosscheck when reading: I am going to read this sentence, ‘Pal the dog can do some tricks.’ Let’s say I did not know the word some but I would finish the sentence first to see if it made any sense. ‘Pal the dog can do /s//o//m/ tricks…that must be some! So that sentence is: ‘Pal the dog can do some tricks.’ Like I have some money in my piggy bank. I understand now, all I had to do was read the sentence again to figure out what it was talking about.

3.     Teacher says: Now I am going to show you what it sounds like when a non –fluent readers reads so that you can hear the difference. Let’s look at the second sentence on the board (Pal has a best bud, Cash.) If I were a non-fluent reader I would read this sentence like, /p//p//p//a//a//a//a// l//l///l/  /h//h//h//a//a//a//s//s//s /a/ //b//b//b//e//e//s//s//s//t//t//t /b//b//b//u//u//u//d//d//d/ /c//c//c//a//a//a//s//s//s//h//h//h/. Because I read that so slow saying each sound it took me too long to remember what I read. Now listen to the sentence fluently, ‘Pal has a best bud, Cash.’ I had no problem understanding what the sentence said because it all flowed together. Now you try, repeat the sentence ‘Pal has a best bud, Cash.’

4.     Teacher says: We are reading Billy the Ghost and Me but today we are only going to read the first chapter. Booktalk: Sarah is a young girl who has a very different friend. Her friend is a ghost named Billy. However, Sarah and Billy’s town has an issue, two bank robbers.  What do you think Sarah and Billy will do to help their town? Do you think they will try to stop the bank robbers?

5.     Give a copy of the book and a cover-up critter to each student.  Teacher says: ‘I want you to begin reading the first chapter using your cover-up critter.  If you finish chapter one begin rereading the chapter. Do not move on to chapter two.’ Give students 5 – 10 minutes to read the chapter.  Walk through the classroom to ensure students are reading. After the students finish assess their comprehension of the first chapter by asking thought-provoking, open-ended questions.

6.     Explain to students what we will be happening next. Provide a stack of student checklists that students can come and get when they are ready to check their partner’s reading. Teacher says: ‘now I am going to pair you with a partner so that you can read to each other.  One of you will read chapter one to the partner aloud while the other person times you using the stopwatch.  Then you will switch jobs (the other person reads and the other person times).  Talk to each other about what happened in the chapter to make sure you are comprehending what you are reading.  Next, you will read the chapter aloud while your partner marks the checklist that you can come and get from up here (shows stack). Then you will again, switch jobs.  Keep doing this till you and your partner have both been timed twice, and had a checklist filled out twice.’ Then pull a student and model for the class. 

7.     Assessment: Listening and anecdotal notes during group times, student’s checklists and one-on-one reading for individual assessment.  During repeated reading make marks by each student’s name on a notebook just as a general assessment of their fluency.  After partner reading collect student’s checklists.  Have each student read specifically to the teacher to assess their abilities after they have been practicing and assess their sight word recognition by using SlideShark (a word appears for ¼ of a second and see if students can identify it).  Ask comprehension questions to each student to asses their comprehension of the text. If a student struggles or is showing no improvement pull that student and let them be partnered with the teacher during partner reading.



Partner Checklist Evaluation:


Teacher Checklist Evaluation:

        Name of student: 

Reading 1


Total number of words:




Reading 2



Did the student:

Remember more words: yes/no

Read faster: yes/no

Read smoother: yes/no

Read with expression: yes/no


Fluency Chart




Joa, Katherine. Practice Makes Perfect.


Boyd, Courtney. Be a Champ at Reading.

Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words. Linus Publications. 2012


Lasso clipart (fluency chart):


Bandit clipart:


Greer, Gery. Ruddick, Bob. Billy the Ghost and Me. HaperCollins. 1997.


Title lasso clipart:

Click here to return to Edifications Index