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Growing Independence and Fluency

Fun With Fluency 

Growing Independence and Fluency

Bethany Dyess


To be able to comprehend texts students need to become fluent readers. To be fluent means the ability to read with automatic word recognition. The students will not be reading at a constant speed rather working on shifting gears while reading. Accuracy allows the students to find their mistakes while reading and evaluate them. Having expression while reading lets the students show their emotions when they read. Tell the student to watch for exclamation marks at the end of the sentence to show that they are excited when reading. Being fluent readers allows for the students confidence to rise with the book they are reading. Fluency also has a lot to do with automatic word recognition, where the students no longer depend on decoding; they can actually make connections and reflect on what thy read. 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. The first time that a reader reads a text some of the words may be difficult and you will have to slow down to decode the words after the first reading the students will remember the words that they had to decode and read the text more smoothly and fluently. The students will not be reading at a constant speed rather working on shifting gears while reading. The students will also have worksheets to do that will assess their comprehension after they have read the story. The students can also fill out a card to tell whether or not they liked the book. The student will pick either a green, yellow, or a red notecard to write their review on based on if they liked the book or not.


·      Henry and Mudge (for each student and one copy for teacher)

·      Stopwatches or phone to keep time

Ÿ    Graph to chart reading time (for each student)

Ÿ     Cover-up critter (for each student)

Ÿ Colored Notecards for Reviews (Red, green, Yellow)

Comprehension Questions/ AR Test Online

Ÿ     Sentences written on the chart paper:

“I want to have a dog”

“He grew out of his puppy cage”

“He grew out of his dog cage”


1.  Say: First, to become expert readers, we need to learn to read fluently. Reading fluently means reading with speed, accuracy, and expression. We can build our sight vocabulary and begin to recognize words faster. To become fluent be need to read a book more than once and become familiar with the book. That is what we will be doing, becoming familiar with the book by doing what is called repeated reading.

2.     Teacher models how to use crosschecking when you do not know a word: If we were reading the sentence Henry could not find Mudge anywhere out of the book Henry and Mudge. If I did not know the word find. I would use my cover-up critter, but I would finish the sentence first to see if it made sense. Then the kids can separate the word and break it apart /f/ /i/ /n/ /d/. (A good way to do this is to have the students use their arms and pull them apart as they go. ) Once the student had said the word reread the sentence to that it will make more sense to them. Cross checking is important so that you know that is it the correct word for the story, context clues help with this also.

3.     Say: Now I am going to show you what a non-fluent reader sounds like compared to a fluent reader so you can know the difference. Lets look at the sentence that I wrote on the chart paper.  If I were not a fluent reader I would read this sentence slow and have to break apart each word to pronounce it. It is reading the sentence to slow and you will not remember what the words actually were in the sentence. If you miss a word in a sentence just decode and reread the sentence.  Now listen when I read the sentence fluently without stopping to read it like: Henry could not find Mudge anywhere. That sentence was said correctly the words flowed together. Now it is your turn to reread the sentence.

4.   Say: We are reading Henry and Mudge , but today we are only going to read the first chapter. Booktalk: Henry and Mudge are best pals. Mudge is Henrys dog. They are always together Mudge always walks Henry home from school when he gets off the bus but one day Henry does not see Mudge at the bus stop and has to go looking for him.

5.     Give a copy of the book and a cover-up critter to each student. I want you to begin reading the first chapter using your cover-up critter. If you finish chapter 1 begin rereading the chapter do not go onto chapter 2 until everyone has read chapter 1 so we can discuss it as a class.  Give the students a few minutes to read the chapter to them, walk around and make sure that the students are staying on task and reading the correct part. After the students finish assess their comprehension of the first chapter by asking them questions. Ask the students what they thought about the chapter and what they think is going to happen next.

6.   Say: I am going to pair you up with a partner and one of you will read the chapter aloud while the other person times you using the stopwatch. Then you will switch places and the other person will time the person reading the book. Then one partner will read the chapter while the other partner marks the checklist (remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, read with expression). Then partners switch roles again, this will happen until there are 2 timed readings and 2 checklists completed for each student. Model this for the students so that know how to complete the assigned task. This way they will be able to compare how they did the first verses the second time reading the chapter.

7.     Assessment: Walk around and listen to the groups of students read to perform individual assessments. See if the students are pronouncing the words correctly. Stop at a group of students and listen for a minute and see how they are interacting.  After this activity is over have an individual conference with each student and go over with them how they did and what we are going to work on. Tell them how they did based on answering the comprehension questions also.  

Ask them: Why did Mudge go missing? How did Henry know where to look for him? How did you know Henry was happy when he found Mudge?

If available the students can go online and take an AR test on this book also.

Partner Checklist Evaluation:

Teacher Evaluation Checklist

Name of Student:


Reading 1:


Time: ( In seconds)


Total Number of Words Read:


Words Per Minute: Mark Chart

Miscues:  Words Read x 60/ seconds



Name of Student:


Reading 2:


Time: ( In seconds)


Total Number of Words Read:


Words Per Minute: Mark Chart

Miscues:  Words Read x 60/ seconds



Did the Student :

Remember More Words

Yes_______   No_________

Read Faster

Yes_______   No_________

Read Smoother

Yes_______   No_________

Read with expression

Yes_______   No_________



Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge: The First Book. New York: Simon and Schuster. Childrens Publishing. 1987. Print.


Be a Champ at Reading: Courtney Boyd Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson. https://sites.google.com/site/msboydsreadingpage/home/be-a-champ-at-reading


Murray, Bruce. "Phoneme Pictures for Short Vowels." Phoneme Pictures for Short Vowels. Bruce Murray, n.d. Web. 14 July 2014. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/phonpics.html




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