Growing Independence and Fluency

Frog and Toad Read Fluently

I.                 Rationale

Fluency means being able to read a text not only correctly but with expression.  When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically and begin to group words quickly so that they can gain meaning.  Readers who are not fluent read words at a slow pace, choppily, word by word.  When readers gain fluency, their reading becomes smooth, effortless, and sounds natural, like they are talking.  Fluency bridges a gap between word recognition and comprehension because fluent readers are no longer focusing solely on decoding and can begin to focus on what words and sentences mean.  Understanding the meaning of the text allows students to connect their background knowledge to the ideas they are reading.  This lesson helps improve students’ fluency by using both repeated readings and Reader’s Theatre. 

II.              Materials

·       One sentence strip with the sentence:  “The little green frog hopped off the lily pad to catch the fly” for every group

·       Dry erase board and marker

·       Script for every student (The Days of Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel)

·       Rubric for assessment with the questions

-        Did the student use expression while reading?

-        Did they accurately portray the emotions and character?

-        Were their facial expressions appropriate?

-        Overall, did the student use expression?

III.            Procedures

1.     Explain what being a fluent reader means.  Say:  Who loves when their mom or dad reads to them at night? (Students will respond) I loved that too!  Now, does your mom or dad read like this:  *in a slow, monotone voice* Once upon a time… (Students will respond) No, I didn’t think so!  They probably read something like this:  *in an excited, expressive voice* Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away… (Students will respond)  And you love it when your parents read that way, because it makes it easier for you to think about what is happening in the story and to imagine the characters.  Your parents use both their faces and their voices to let you know what the characters in the story feel while they are reading.  We have to keep this in mind when we are reading out loud.

2.     Model reading fluently.  Write “Frog and Toad love to play together!” on the board.  Say:  Ok, I’m going to write a sentence on the board and we will read it together.  Frog and Toad love to play t…hmm I don’t quite know what that word is.  Let me get my cover up critter and look at it again.  First let me find the vowel.  Ok, there’s an o, ok that says ‘ahhh,’ but I know I have the ‘t’ in front of it so that’s ‘to’ and then there’s a ‘g’ so that’s ‘tog’ and then there’s an e and I know that says ‘eh’ so then that’s ‘toge’ and then there’s a ‘th’ which I know says ‘thhhh’ so that’s ‘togeth’ and then there’s ‘er’ which says ‘errrrr’ and so it’s ‘together.’ Oh, like doing something together, ok!  So I would read it:  “Frog and Toad love to play together.”  But I forgot to check that punctuation and now I see that it’s an exclamation point, so it should be:  “Frog and Toad love to play together!” That is what a fluent reader sounds like.  I read the sentence smoothly, with expression and I didn’t pause.  The way I read keeps you interested in what is going in the story.  We want everyone to read this way!

3.     Explain to students that they are going to practice repeated readings.  Say:  To help us become fluent readers, we are going to practice repeated readings.  I am going to give you and your partner a sentence on a piece of paper.  I want you to take turns reading your sentence aloud to your partner.  Don’t worry if you don’t feel like you sound like a fluent reader the first time that your read it, because the more times that you read it the better you will sound. Let me know if you have any questions.

Pass out sentence strips with “The little green frog hopped off the lily pad to catch the fly” to every group and listen as they take turns repeating the reading until you feel that they are able to read it fluently. 

4.     Explain to students Reader’s Theatre.  Say:  Actors or actresses in movies memorize their lines from scripts.  They read these scripts smoothly and with expression.  Today we are all going to read The Days of Frog and Toad like it is a script.  We are going to read like we are the characters, with expression and like we are all excited.  I am going to read a line from the script and you all can let me know if I do a good job.  (Read line monotonously)  You’re right, that didn’t sound very good.  Let me try again.  (Read line with expression)  Yes, that sounded much more interesting.  I am going to give groups of three a script of the story.  One of you will the narrator, one will be Frog, and one will be Toad.  On the scripts, each part is high-lighted.  Decide which one you will be and then practice those lines for a few minutes.  You can whisper read the parts and then read them aloud to a friend.

5.     Have students perform the play.  Say:  Alright, now every group is going to come up and show us the play.  We are going to listen and watch for expression!  Everyone will do the parts differently so let’s all pay attention and watch how everyone does it. 

6.     Assessment.  Assess students while they are doing repeated readings based on fluency and expression.  Complete the Reader’s Theatre rubric for each student as they read their lines. 

IV.             References

Fleming, Mandy, “Hippity Hop into Fluent Reading”

Olk, Katie, Hop Into Fluency

Lobel, Arnold. Days with Frog and Toad. Harper Collins Children's Books, 1984.

Mason, Julie, “Express Yourself!”

Bugg, Katy, Growing Independency and Fluency Lesson Design: Express Your Character.

Frog and Toad Image: