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Wild About Fluency

Wild About Fluency

Growing Independence and Fluency

Lauren Mitchell

Rationale: Although decoding is a vital skill for young readers, it can sometimes be a very slow and difficult process. Reading comprehension is lowered when reading slowly. To speed up this process, instruction in fluency is helpful. Reading fluency is being able to read with automatic word recognition. Therefore, fluency instruction helps turn newly encountered words into automatically recognized sight words. Fluency can be improved through repeated readings. Repeated readings help students to gain automatic, effortless reading instead of slow decoding. This lesson will teach readers how to use strategies to help them build sight words through crosschecking for meaning, repeated readings of a text, and recording progress in paired partner reading to help stay motivated to reread.


Materials: Stopwatches for each pair of students; Fluency graphs for each child; class set of Where the Wild Things Are; Fluency checklist; Reader response form; smart board


Fluency Graph

Total words in chapter:



1. ______ words in ______ seconds

2. ______ words in ______ seconds

3. ______ words in ______ seconds

Turn number that sounded smoothest:

Turn number that had the fewest mistakes:




Directions: On a separate sheet of paper, answer each question with at least one complete sentence.


1. What did Max’s mother call him the night he wore his wolf suit?


2. Do you think the forest that grew in Max’s room was real?


3. Why did Max give up being King of where the wild things are?


4. Can you think of a time when you felt loved? What made you feel loved?




1. Say: Today we are going to learn how to read fluently. To read fluently means to automatically recognize words as you see them. When we read fluently, we read as smoothly and as naturally as we talk. This makes it easier for us to understand words as we read them and get interested in what’s going on in the story.

2. Say: I am going to read a short sentence to you several times. I want you to listen closely and tell me which one sounds better. We will decide as a class once I finish reading! [1.] Max is lo-n-e-l-y, lon-e-ly, oh that’s lonely. Max is lonely and w-i-s-h-e-s, wis-hes, hmmm wishes makes more sense than wis-hes. Let me try that again. Max is lonely and wishes he were w-here, oh that’s where. Max is lonely and wishes he were where s-o-m-e-one, someone loved him b-e-s-t, best of all. [2.] There were some hard words in that sentence. Let me read it again too see if it makes more sense. Max is lonely and wishes he were where someone loved him best of all. [3.] That was a lot smoother, but let me read it again with more expression. Max is lonely and wishes he were where someone loved him best of all.


Say: Raise your hand if you liked listening to my first reading. Raise your hand if you liked listening to my second reading. Raise your hand if you liked listening to my third reading. What made the third time I read the sentence sound better? Yes, that’s correct, the third time I didn’t have to stop to figure out any of the words I was reading and I read it at a conversational speed with expression.

3. Say: Let’s talk about the strategy I used while reading the sentence. I used crosschecking to help me while reading the first sentence. Did you all notice that? When I say that I crosschecked, I mean that I finished the sentence to see if I could figure out the pronunciation of some tough new words that had silent letters, like the h in where and the e in someone and lonely. Upon first reading them, they didn’t make sense because they did not sound like any words that I had heard of. However, when I finished the sentence I was able to figure out the pronunciation of the words.

4. Say: Now lets try reading another sentence at the beginning of the book, I see a tough word in this sentence! Choral read: One night a forest grows in Max’s room. I noticed some difficulty reading night, but you all did a great job reading the rest of the sentence to figure it out. Let’s try reading it together one more time to help us improve! Choral read: One night a forest grows in Max’s room.

5. Say: Before we continue, let me tell you about the book we are going to read, Where the Wild Things Are. One night, this little boy named Max puts on a wolf suit and gets into all sorts of mischief. His mother calls him “wild thing” and sends him to bed without his dinner. Before he goes to bed that night, a forest begins to grow in Max’s bedroom! What do you think will happen to Max? Will his bedroom stay a forest? Let’s read and find out!  

6. Say: The directions for what we are going to do next are displayed on the smart board. Everyone listen carefully and follow along as I explain what we are going to do. 

a.  Pair up with the reading buddy you were assigned to. One of you come up to my desk and get two copies of the Fluency Graph and two reader response forms. While one buddy is doing this, I want to other buddy to count all of the words in the book and put that number on the top of the Fluency Graph form.

b.  Take three turns reading the book to each other. While one of you is reading, the other buddy will use the stopwatch to time your partner’s reading!

c.   While timing, pay close attention to how many mistakes your buddy makes each time. To help keep track, make tallies like this (demonstrate on white board) for each mistake.

d.  Then, the buddy who is timing will do a subtraction problem for the total number of words minus the number of tallies for each reading. That number goes on this line: ______ words in ______ seconds.

e.  After filling out that portion of the Fluency Chart, answer the two questions at the bottom of the chart about which turn was the smoothest and which had the fewest errors.

f.  Once you have finished timing each other, I want you to discuss the answers to the reader response questions with your buddy.

g.  Then, each of you will go back to your desks and write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

h.  After you turn in your papers and chart, I will figure out your three rates and place stickers on a reading rate chart to indicate your reading rate.

i.   Finally, you will put your completed sticker chart on the fluency poster that is on the wall in the front of the classroom.



Grades will be determined using the following point system:


Completed the two forms:

0 or 1

Improved in speed:

0 or 2

Improved in accuracy:

0 or 2

Answered the 4 questions in complete sentences:

0 or 3

Answered the 4 questions correctly:

0 or 2

Total points: ______/10



Reading Rate Chart


_________ Reading Rate




































Murray, Gerry http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/murraygf.htm


Goins, Hillary



Where the Wild Things Are: Questions for Philosophical Discussion



Sendack, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. New York: Harper and Row 1963.





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