Growing Independence and Fluency

Fishing for Fluency


Growing Independence and Fluency

RationaleFluency is reading with automatic word recognition. One of the most important tasks for a student is to be able to read fluently. In order for students to become fluent readers, they have to practice reading with expression, practice reading at an appropriate pace, and practice thinking about the story in their head as they read so they can comprehend the text. Repeated reading is an efficient way for students to move from slow, sometimes frustrating decoding, into faster, expressive, and enjoyable reading. Students will use the strategy of crosschecking after readings of a decodable text and repeated readings to gain fluency and independence in reading.


·      Class set of Father Bear Goes Fishing

·      Sample sentences for the teacher to model

·      Stop watches for each pair of students

·      Peer fluency sheets for students

·      Peer fluency sheets for teacher

·      Cover up critter


1.     Say: “Today we are going to be working on something called fluency. It is important that every reader must master fluency to become the best reader they can be. Can anyone raise his or her hand and tell me what fluency might mean? Fluency is when you are able to read every word in a book smoothly, with ease, and at a good pace. It is also important to be a fluent reader because then you are able to focus on what is going on in the text of the story instead of trying to figure out how to read and decode words the words within the text. A fluent reader also reads with expression! Reading with expression means that when you are reading aloud, you say the words like you think the characters are would be speaking them.”

2.     Say: “Now, boys and girls, let’s look at the sentence I have written on the board.” The dog played at the park today. “I need everyone to listen carefully and tell me if you think I am reading the sentence like a fluent reader. Thh/eee, the, d/oooo/gg, dog,  pp/lll/aaa/yy/eeedd, played, at, the, p/aaarrr/kk/, park, t/o/d/aaayy, today. The dog plaaayyyed at the park today. The dog played at the park today. What did you notice that I did when I got stuck on a word? I continued to reread it until I understood the word and what they sentence was saying. I read through the sentence from the beginning and tried several times to figure out what the word, played, was. As I continued to keep rereading the sentence I understood that ‘ay’ makes the /A/ sound so the word was ‘played’! The tool I used to figure out the word is called crosschecking. It is important to do this every time I am reading. Taking your time and figuring out words you struggle is going to help make you a fluent reader. Crosschecking is a key strategy to use when becoming a fluent reader.”

3.     Say: “So, was I reading that sentence like a fluent reader? No! I had to take time to decode the word in the sentence, which made my reading not sound smooth and slowed down my pace. I also read with no expression. Here is how to read that sentence correctly. The dog played at the park today. What did I do correctly this time? I didn’t have to decode, I had expression in my voice, and my reading was smooth and with ease. Now I would like for you to turn to a partner and read this next sentence given on the board: The dog jumped into the lake and he swam around. Read this aloud to your partner until you are able to read it fluently.”

 4.     Say: “Now we are all going to get a chance to practice being a fluent reader by reading, Father Bear Goes Fishing. In this story there is a Father Bear who goes fishing to find food for he, Mother Bear and Baby Bear. Father Bear gets in the water to catch some fish but he can't find them! We will have to read the story to find out what he does and if he finds the fish for his family! I want everyone to read the book silently to yourself. Silently means reading without whispering or moving your lips; I just want you to read to yourself in your head.”

5.     Say: “Now I would like for you to get with a partner and get a chance to play a fluency game that goes along with the story you just read. Remember that it is important to always be nice to your partner and to never make fun of them if there is a word they do not know. The first partner is going to start as the reader and partner two is going to be the timer. The reading partner is going to read the story aloud 3 times. The second and third time I want the timing partner to record how long it takes for the reader to read the story. Think about what you notice as they continue to read. Do they get faster? Do they sound smoother? Can they read with expression? I want you to listen and mark these things on your paper! Now let’s start!” The teacher should walk around, observe, and listen in on the students during this game.

6.     After the students are done reading, collect the data for yourself to analyze how your students did and who still needs to work on. Have each student read to you individually to you. Mark improvements needed and miscues, and ask comprehension questions. Ask questions such as, “How did Father Bear find fish? Where did he find them? How many fish did Father Bear catch?” This will help analyze what your students need help on, if they are able to comprehend the text and, give an idea of where each student stands with their fluency skills.


Dennis, Cate: Now Boarding the Fluency Flight  

Black, Allie: Soaring into the Sky With Fluency

Randell, Beverley, and Isabel Lowe. Father Bear Goes Fishing. S.l.: Nelson, 1994. Print.

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