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Growing Fluency: Wrapped in Fluency

Wrapped in Fluency

Growing Fluency

Kristin Byrd

Rationale: Decoding is a vital skill for young readers, but sometimes it can be a slow and difficult process. Fluent readers read words that are recognized automatically. A fluent reader will have automatic word recognition, and reading becomes faster, smoother, and more expressive. Beginning readers usually do not read fluently; reading is often a word-by-word struggle. Reading comprehension is lowered when reading slowly. To speed up this process, instruction in fluency is helpful. 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.


Stopwatches for each pair of students

Graphs for each student to chart their WPM reading progress

Fluency checklist

Reader Response Form

Text Box: Partner Reading Progress Reader ________________________________ Checker _______________________________ 1 _____ Words in ______ seconds. 2 _____ Words in ______ seconds. 3 _____ Words in ______ seconds.  Turn number that sounded smoothest ____________________________. Turn number that had the fewest mistakes ______________________________. Class set of Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House #3)--chapter 2 (p.9-16)

Text Box: Reader Response Form     Name: _______________________ On a separate sheet of paper, answer each question with a complete sentence.  1. When the tree house stopped spinning, what did Jack and Annie see out the window?  2. What was the procession for? 3. Have you ever gone on an adventure? Where did you go?



1. Explain the activity:

Say: Today we are going to work on reading just like we talk to each other. This means we need to read fast so it comes out smooth and at a talking speed. The story will be more interesting and the words will be easier to understand when we practice this skill.


2. Model fluent and non-fluent reading

Say: I'm going to read a portion of the story and I want you to show me with a thumb up if you liked listening to it, or a thumb down if you didn’t like listening to it. (1) Jack and Annie lo-oked, looke-d, looked out the window. The tree house was /per-ch-ed/. Hmmm. The tree house was perched? Perched makes more sense that /per-ch-ed/. Let me reread that sentence so I can remember the story: The tree house was perched on the top of a palm tree. There are some words I am struggling with, but when I look back at what the sentence says, I can figure out what it means more easily. (2) Let me try this passage again. Jack and Annie looked out the window. The tree house was perched on the top of a palm tree.

“Give me a thumb up if you liked listening to the first time I read or give me a thumb down if you did not…  If you liked the second time better give me a thumb up and if you did not give me at thumb down.”

“What made the second time sound better? All of the words were figured out so I didn't have to stop to read them. That is where our smooth reading practice will help us become better readers. This is what we are going to practice today.”


3. Review a strategy

Say: “Does anybody know what strategy I just used when I was reading the first time? Yes, I was using crosschecking. This means I looked back at the sentence I just read and made sure it would make sense with the words I just read. If the sentence was onfusing with the word I chose, I might not have chosen the correct sounds for that word. In that case, I would need to try another pronunciation so the sentence is correct and my partner can understand what I am reading to them.


4. Practice together

Say: Now let’s practice reading the passage on the Smartboard together. I see a couple of tough words.

Choral Read: "The tree stood with the other palm trees. A patch of green surrounded by a sandy desert."

I heard a few of you stumble over the word 'surrounded' and desert', but you didn’t give up! You kept reading and used the rest of the sentence to figure out these words. Now that we have crosschecked these unfamiliar words, let’s try to read the passage again. (Choral read passage again.)


5. Motivate to read

Say: Before you jump into reading this chapter, I want to remind you what had happened in the story so far! Jack and Annie go on adventure to different times and places with the help of their magic tree house and a mystery friend. In this chapter, they have just arrived in a new place and we must figure out where they are! This is an exciting and scary adventure so work on reading it fluently and smoothly so your partner can keep up with the story!


6. Display the directions on the Smartboard and read to the students: 

Say: Here is what we are going to do next to work on reading slowly and fluently with a partner.

A.   Pair up with your reading buddy and one buddy needs to come and get the following:

a.     2 copies of Mummies in the Morning (grab this one first and bring it back to the other partner)

b.    2 Partner Reading Progress Checklist

c.     2 Reader Response Forms

d.    A stopwatch

B.   While that buddy is gathering all of the materials, the other buddy will count all of the words in the second chapter of the book. Write that number at the top of your Reading Progress Checklist.

C.   Take a turn reading the second chapter of the book to each other. While one buddy reads, the other will use the stopwatch to time his or her buddy’s reading.

a.     This is not a race, but a way we can work on improving your time each chance you reread.

b.    Pay close attention to how many mistakes your partner makes. Make an X for each mistake.

c.     Then do a subtraction problem. Take the total number of words and subtract the number of X’s.

d.    Plug the answer into the following blank on your Reading Progress Checklist. ____ (total) words ____ seconds.

D.   Repeat step C (all the way) 2 other times. (Each buddy should read the text 3 times.)

a.     Each time when your partner reads aloud, see if they miss fewer words because they have practiced seeing these words in the book's context.

E.   Once you and your buddy have completed all of the readings and calculations, discuss and answer the questions at the bottom of the Reading Progress Checklist. 

  • Bring your checklist to me and I will calculate your 3 rates. Together, we will place your three stickers on your fluency chart so we can track your improvement! Place your answers to the comprehension questions on the table.


Assessment: I will review each student’s responses to the Reading Response questions and the Reading Progress Checklist to assess each student using the following rubric.  Grades for this activity are as follows:

Students Name:


Evidence shown for reading three times


Responded to comprehension questions


Improved fluency


Improved accuracy


Completed Reading Progress Checklist






Murray, Bruce. Reading Genie Website. “Developing Reading Fluency.” http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/fluency.html

Childs, Emily. Reading Genie Website. “Fluent Mummies.”


Osborne, Mary Pope. Mummies in the Morning. Random House, c 1993.

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