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Growing Independence and Fluency: FLUENT as a PLANE

Rachel Fisher

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale: In order for a student to become a skillful and successful reader they must be able to read fluently. Reading fluently allows students to actually understand the text rather than decoding words they do not know. To be a fluent reader means that you can read words quickly, correctly, and with expression.In this lesson, students will learn the strategies and skills it takes to become a fluent reader through modeling and practice. Students will practice accomplish this by using an activity called Reader’s Theatre.


×        Chart paper

×        Checklist questions

×        If you give a Mouse a cookie by Laura Numeroff

×        Sentence strips

×        Cover-up critters

×        Books to choose from for practice reading

×        Pencil and paper for note taking on the children

×        Stopwatch on my iPhone for time purposes for practice reading


1.    Today’s lesson will help us to become skillful readers by working on our fluency! We will use our prior knowledge of phonemes and skill of decoding to help us in today’s lesson. Being a fluent reader means that we can read smoothly, effortlessly, with expression, and focus on our comprehension skills. During and after the lesson we will practice reading silently.

2.   I will first model how a non-fluent reader reads a book. I will use a copy of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. I will give a brief book-talk. The book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie talks about how a mouse asks for a cookie. Then, the mouse asks for a glass of milk. Before long you will be finding yourself giving the mouse all kinds of things. Let’s read the book to find out what all the mouse asks for!

Before I read the book I will explain to the children why and how to use a cover-up critter. I will explain that it helps me break words up that I cannot say into small chunks allowing me to say part of them then blend the word together. Then I will begin reading the story as a non-fluent reader and show the children how the cover-up critter works. After using the strategy on a sentence, I will reread the sentence without the cover-up critter and say the word or words correctly that I missed the first time. For a third reading time I will read the sentence and add expression while I read as well as not missing the word or words from the first time. Once I have finished reading the sentence three times I will ask the children which time they liked the best and why.

3.   Next, I will explain to the children to become the best reader possible you have to practice reading a lot. Like the saying goes, “practice makes perfect!” I will then explain how I modeled reading. I will say that the first reading is usually the hardest because you don’t know what the words are but that after that the reading gets easier. The first time is spent focusing on decoding the word correctly. Then you practice reading it again to make sure you decoded correctly. Last, you add smoothness and expression to your reading. These are the steps for fluency. We will practice using this sentence from the story, “He’ll probably ask you for a straw.” I will use the cover-up critter to help me say the word probably. It will be in chunks like this, pro-bab-ly.

4.   Now, I will write a sentence on chart paper. I will read the sentence to them in a non-fluent way first and then fluently the second time. I will ask the children to clap twice if it is read incorrectly and clap once if it is correct. Then, I will read more sentences and ask them to do the same thing. After that I will model how a non-fluent reader and a fluent reader reads. I will go slowly while reading like a non-fluent reader making sure not to put any expression in my reading. “The d-d-o-g, dog, r-r-a-a-n, ran, d-ow, down, the r-o-a, r-oa, road.” Then, I will read fast and smooth for a fluent reader showing the children the difference. “The dog ran down the road!During the lesson, I will ask the children random questions such as “Was this a fluent or non-fluent reading?”, “How do you know?” This will lead to discussion among the students and me. After our discussion, I will let the children get with a partner to practice reading sentences fluently. The children will get with their partner that they are assigned to during reading time for this activity. I will pass our sentence strips to each group of partners for them to practice with. I will also give the students a checklist to check off for their partner describing their reading.

5.   Checklist:           

×        Did he/she read smoothly? _________________

×        Where could he/she use a little work? ______________

×        Did he/she show facial expression? __________________

×        Where could he/she use a little work? _______________

×        Did he/she have voices changes? ________________

×        Where could he/she use a little work? ______________

×        Does the student have an overall understanding of expression? _______________________

6.   Students will pick a book of their choice to use while assessing each other on their reading skills. I will go around and monitor each group of partners to see how they are doing. I will remind them to use the skills they learned during the lesson to help them during their partnered reading.

7.   Each day I will set a certain time for the students to get to go with their partners to practice reading for fluency. After a week of reading I will change their partners up and let them see how another student is reading and what they could learn from them.



Murray, Bruce. Making Sight Words. Linus Publications, 2012.

Nattrass, Kaleigh. “The Race for Reading 

Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Harper & Row, 1985.

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