Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson


            Don’t Be Afraid of Fluency

           Design for Growing Independency and Fluency

Rationale: A fluent reader is able to apply effortless word recognition to their readings, which affects the reader’s speed. Fluent reading is required in order to comprehend so that it allows you think about what is happening in the story rather than decoding words. Students are then able to reflect on their reading rather than decoding it. Reading fluently enables students to focus on comprehension. They are able to remember what all they have read and make connections between earlier readings and personal experiences. This lesson was designed to help readers become more fluent through repeated readings as well as timed readings. This way they are able to assess the number of words they are reading per minute. These readers will be able to read texts at a smoother rate. The reading will also be quick with expression. Overall, the reader will be improving fluency and in turn their comprehension skills.

Class set of The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches
Stopwatch for each student
Fluency checklist (one for each student)
Pencils and paper
Cover Up Critter
Fluency chart (one for each student)
Sticky notes
copy of sentence “Let’s go for a walk or ride our bikes.” And “My dog Skip loves to fetch!’’

1. Explain:  “In order to become expert readers, we need to be able to read fluently. Does anyone know what the word fluent means? Response- When we are fluent readers, we are able to recognize words automatically. We don’t have to stop and decode our words. It is easier for us to recognize our words and store them as sight words for later when we see them again. That way we are able to recognize them more easily. A fluent reader begins to read quickly, smoothly and with expression. In order to become expert fluent readers, we need to practice reading a book more than one time through. This is called repeated reading. This will make reading more enjoyable for everyone!”

2. Model: Say: “Let’s review how to cross check when we are reading. Now let's look at the sentence written on the board: “Let’s go for a walk or ride our bikes.” Listen as I read aloud the sentence and tell me if I sound like a fluent reader. Let's go for a w-a-a-l-l-l-k-k, oh wait, a says /a/ so walk, or rid, no there is an e on the end so /i/=/I/ ride our bbbiiikks. Let's take a hike or ride our biks. Hmmm that last word doesn't really make sense in our sentence. Lets use our cover-up critter to sound it out. /b//i//k/s/, bikes. We see the silent e on the end to signal us to make /I/. Now let me reread the sentence to check and make sure that's right. Let's go for a walk or ride our bikes. Great job using our cover-up critter.

3. Say: Now, did I sound like a fluent reader? You all are correct. That was not fluent reading! Here is how we would read that sentence fluently. Let's go for a walk or ride our bikes. Notice how I didn't have to sound out any words. I spoke smoothly and that way it was much easier to understand! Now turn to a partner and practice reading the second sentence on the board: My dog Skip loves to fetch! Read it aloud to one another until you can each read it fluently.

4. Did you notice that when I read the sentence I got stuck on the very last word? In order to figure out how to read it, I had to reread the sentence from the beginning and try my pronunciation. When I read biks I knew it didn't sound right. Then I went back and re-read the sentence, I realized that it actually said bikes. This strategy I used to check my pronunciation is called crosschecking. You go back over the sentence to be sure it sound correct and makes sense.

5. Give each student a copy of The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches. Present a book talk about The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches. “We are going to now read The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches. Book talk: "This story is about a young witch named Wendy, who is told by her older sisters that she can not cackle well or cast strong spells. When she loses her broomstick, they refuse to take her along on Halloween night. Later, when a trick-or-treater knocks on her door, he convinces her to join him... Will Wendy ever get her magic back? What will her and Roger do on this Halloween night? Let’s read along and find out about Wendy the Witch and her missing magic." 

6.Instruct the students to read the first 4 pages silently. Once every group has read those pages twice, pass out a stopwatch and the chart to each group. "We are going to play the Fluency Game! Listen closely so you will know what to do. One person will be the timer and one will be the reader, then you will swap. I want partner one to start as the timer and partner two to start as the reader. Partner 1 will read aloud while Partner 2 times him/her. Then you all will switch. Remember, after reading talk to your partner about what is happening in the story (evaluating comprehension.) Sample questions: Why is Wendy afraid of her sisters? Why could Wendy not go to Sassafras Grove? How are Wendy and her sister’s alike?

7. "Then, you will graph it on the chart I have passed out. After you have graphed the reader's number, I want you to swap jobs."
{Make sure students have a copy of the basketball fluency chart.}

8. As you are explaining the graph, model an example so students know what to do. Use an extra graph to model the oral instructions. "Do this three times. Use the different sticky notes to mark each timed read, so each partner should have three sticky notes on the chart marking their number for each read". Also, after your partner has read the 2nd time and then again on the 3RD time, use your checklist to let them know how they are doing on their reading. Are they becoming expert readers!!
9.     The teacher will have students come up individually to my desk and read from the book to be assessed individually. This way the teacher can have an accurate idea of how the reader is progressing. The assessment chart will be used below to record fluency rate in order to keep track of their progress.
10. The teacher will go over their answers after to fully assess and see who needs extra help. The teacher will use the formula: Words X 60 divided by amount of time in seconds spent reading. This will be part of the assessment for each student.


Low, Alice.  An I Can Read Chapter Book. The Witch Who Was Afraid of    Witches. New York: Harper Collins. 1978.

Lesson Reference:
Mary Hope McGhee, Reading is Our Expertise!

Haley Barnes, Crosschecking Crocodiles

Images for graph:

Student Checklist:

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Teacher Assessment:
Time Record Sheet:

1st Time:______________________
2nd Time:_____________________
3rd Time:______________________