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Growing Independence and Fluency

Hopping into fluency

Meredith Gray

Growing Independence and Fluency



This lesson aims to help students develop fluency in longer, more developed texts. Fluent readers can read quickly, correctly use blending, and read effortlessly. We want readers to be motivated to read and reread decodable words in connected text. Throughout this lesson students will practice their fluency and gain experience with reading text silently as well as reading to a partner. They will read for fluency with the teacher, graphing progress and going over unfamiliar words between readings. At the end of the lesson, the teacher will have a better idea of the student’s ability to fluently and independently read texts.



                Stopwatches (enough for each pair of students)

                Fluency Graphs for each child

                Frog Stickers

                Cover up critter

                Class set of Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

                Partner Reading Progress checklists

                Reader Response form

                Grading rubrics

                Sentence on the smartboard: “Frog ran up the path to Toad’s house and knocked on the door.” Then on a separate line, “Toad shouted, ‘Frog, wake up! It’s spring!” 




0 - - - - 10 - - - - 20 - - - - 30 - - - - 40 - - - - 50 - - - - 60 - - - - 70 - - - - 80 - - - - 90 - - - - 100

Correct Words Per Minute



Fluency Checklist:

Title of Book: __________________________________

Student’s Name: ____________   Date___________

Partner's Name: ______________________________

After 2nd Reading       After 3rd Reading

_________                    _________                   Remembered more words

_________                    _________                   Read faster

_________                    _________                   Read smoother

_________                    _________                   Read with expression




1. Explain the Activity Say: Class, today we are going to talk about reading fluently. When we read fluently we are able to understand what we are reading and what is happening in the story. The more fluently we can read, the more we will be able to understand or comprehend from what we are reading. Along with being able to comprehend text, fluent readers are able to read with expression. They can change their voices to match certain text such as getting louder if a character screams or using a quite voice if another whispers. To become a fluent reader we need to practice our skills so today we are going to practice.


2.  Model-Say: I am going to read this sentence on the smartboard two times. I want you to listen to how I read it and tell me which time sounds more fluent, or which one sounds better.

F-r-ooo-g, frog ran up the paaaa-th, path, to T-ow-d’s, Toad’s? h-ou-se and /k/nocked, knocked on the d-oo-rrr.

Frog ran up the path to Toad’s house and knocked on the door.

Which sounds better? [Let students answer] That’s right! The second option sounds so much better. Why does it sound better? [Allow students to contribute answers] Right, it sounds better because I read the words effortlessly because they were in my sigh vocabulary and I also read with expression. I was also able to understand what the sentence was saying when I read it the second time. Unlike the first time I read the sentence I was too focused on decoding I couldn’t understand it. A huge part of fluent reading is having a large sight vocabulary because the larger the sight vocabulary the easier it is to see words and automatically know them and comprehend what they are saying. Fluent reading is important so you know what’s going on in the story. 


3. Review Strategy- Say: There are some skills that we have already learned that will help us on our journey to become fluent readers. The first one is decoding. Remember we use this when we get stuck on a word that is a little tricky to read. And to help us decode we will use our cover-up critter.  We use the critter to break the word that we are having trouble with down into smaller pieces. Breaking it down makes it easier to recognize and read the word. Another strategy that we use when decoding doesn’t work is, crosschecking. Did you notice that the first time I read the sentence I read Toad as Towd? But then I went back and realized that the correct word was Toad because Towd did not make sense and isn’t even a word. This is called crosschecking. You use crosschecking when you come to a word in the sentence you don’t know. To crosscheck remember that we look at the rest of the sentence, before and after the word, and try to use the information to determine what the word might be. Then we must mentally mark the word to remember that toad is not towd it is t/oa/d.  After we are done decoding and crosschecking we always reread the sentence in order to make sure we comprehend the text.


4. Practice Together Say: Let’s read this next line together, “Toad shouted ‘Frog, wake up! It’s spring!’” I heard some of you struggling with the word “shouted” here. If you were reading this by yourself and you didn’t know the word you could use your cover up critter to look at these beginning sounds, /sh/ /o/ and if decoding the rest of the word doesn’t work. Then you can look at the rest of the sentence and crosscheck to figure out that it says “shouted”.


5. Book talk Say: Frog just woke up for spring after his long winter nap! He is super excited for spring. He wants to share his excitement with his friend Toad. However Toad is not excited for spring and doesn’t want to wake up. Frog tries to wake Toad up but he refuses. Do you think Frog will be able to get Toad up? We will have to read to find out.


6. Partner Practice Say: Now we’re going to do some practice building our fluency with partners. Pair up with your reading partner and come get a Partner Progress Checklist, Reader Response Form, a stopwatch, and 2 copies of Frog and Toad are Friends.  I will tell you the number of words in the book when you get back to your reading spots so you can write that at the top of the page. You’re each going to read the book out loud three times. For the one who isn’t reading, while your partner is reading you are going to use the stopwatch to time them. You are  going to pay close attention to how many mistakes your partner makes, make a checkmark on your sheet of paper when you hear a mistake. Remember that it isn’t a bad thing to make mistakes while we’re building fluency, you’re going to have mistakes the first couple times you read it. The mistakes will only help you get better. Once your partner is done reading you’re going to subtract the number of words missed from the total number of words, you’re also going to record the time it took for them to read it and record it on your sheet. You’re also going to record which time was the smoothest and which time had least number of errors. After you and your partner have each read 3 times, I want you to discuss the answers to the questions on the Reader Response Form and write your answers down individually. When you have finished all this come see me and I will give you fluency graphs and show you how to put your frog sticker in the right spot on your fluency graphs so you can monitor your progress.


Assess student progress by evaluating answers on the Reading Response Form and determining each student’s WPM using the formula and mark their progress with a frog sticker on their fluency chart. Make sure to update each student’s fluency charts to set appropriate and attainable goals for each student.


Partner Reading Progress Checklist

Total # of words in chapter: ______

Reader: ___________________________

Checker: __________________________

1: ___ Words in ___ seconds

2: ___ Words in ___ seconds

3: ___ Words in ___ seconds

Which turn sounded the smoothest? _______

Which turn had the least number of errors? ______


Reader Response Form

Name ________________________________

Directions: On a separate sheet of paper, answer each question with at least one complete sentence.

1. Why does Frog want Toad to wake up?

2. How does Frog try to wake up Toad?

3. Why does Toad not want to get out of bed?

4. If you had to get toad up, what would you do to try and get him out of bed?






Adapted from Christine Haley Fruency is “SPOOK”tacular http://cmh0049.wixsite.com/christinelessons/growing-independence-and-fluency

Adapted from Belle Brennan Racing to Reading Fluency http://isabellebrennan.wixsite.com/keylessonsinreading/growing-independence-and-fluency

Lobel, Arnold. (1970). Frog and Toad Are Friends. New York: Harper Collins.

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