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Fluent Lions

 Fluent Lions

Growing Independence and Fluency

Lindsay Sanford

Rationale: When students are learning how to read they often use decoding which is very important, but it can be a very slow process. We eventually want children to begin reading at a faster pace because slow reading can hinder students from comprehending what they are reading. In order to read at a faster pace, students need fluency instruction. Fluency instruction helps turn new words into recognized sight words. Repeated readings can help students go from slow decoding to effortless reading. This lesson will guide children on how to use strategies by crosschecking for meaning, repeated readings, and charting progress in paired partner reading.


Stopwatches for each pair of students

Fluency graph for each student to chart their reading progress http://www.auburn.edu/~emc0014/partnerreadingprogresschart.png

Class set of Lions at Lunchtime (Chapter 1)  

Fluency checklist


Reader Response Form



1.       Say: Today you are going to learn how to read almost like we talk. We need to read fast so it comes out smoothly and at a talking like speed. When we read smoothly, it’s easier to understand the words and what is happening in the story. 

2.       Say: I am going to read a portion of the story twice and when I am done I want you to tell me if you liked the way I read it the first time or the second time better. (1) Jack and Annie were /w-ale-k-ing/: home from the store. Hmmm Jack and Annie were walking? Walking makes more sense than /w-ale-k-ing/. Let me reread that sentence so I can remember that word more easily. Jack and Annie were walking home from the store. Jack’s pack was hea-vy, heav-y, heavy. (2) Now let me read this short passage again. Jack and Annie were walking home from the store. Jack’s pack was heavy. Raise your hand if you liked the way I read it the first time. Okay, now raise your hand if you liked it better the second time I read it. What made the second time sound better? All of my words were sight words and I didn’t have to stop and decode. That is where our smooth reading practice will help us become better readers. This is what we will be practicing today.

3.       Say: Can anyone tell me what strategy I used the first time I read to help me figure out a word? Right, I was crosschecking. This means I looked back at the sentence I just read and made sure the word I read made sense when put with the whole sentence. If the sentence was confusing with the word I chose, I might not have chosen the correct sounds for that word. In that case, I would need to try another pronunciation so the sentence would be correct and my partner could understand what I am reading to them.

4.       Say: Let’s practice the next two lines together with a choral reading. “It held a big jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Are you going to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? said Annie.” I heard a few of you stumble over the words peanut and loaf. This is when you should crosscheck by rereading the sentences and check and see if the word you read made sense.

5.       Before we go any further, I want to tell you about these two friends Jack and Annie. Jack and Annie were making there sandwiches when all of the sudden a strange looking animal leads them into the woods where they find a magic tree house. They climb the ladder and meet their friend Morgan who gives them a book called “The Plains of Africa”. Where do you think Jack and Annie are headed next and what do you think they might find there? Let’s read to find out more!

6.       Explain the procedure for paired practice and write out the steps on the board. Say: Here’s what you are going to do next.

·         Pair up with your assigned reading buddy and one of you will grab two Partner Reading Progress  checklists. The other partner will count all of the words in the chapter and mark it at the top of the checklist form.

·         Take 3 turns reading the chapter to each other. When your partner is reading, use the stopwatch to time how long it takes to finish the chapter. This is not a race, but a way we can work on improving your time each chance you reread.

·         The listening partner will also mark how many mistakes their partner made when reading aloud. Next time when your partner reads aloud, see if they miss few words because they have practiced seeing these words in the book's context. You will make tallies (show an example on the board).

·         Then do a subtraction problem for the total number of words minus the number of tallies for each reading. The numbers goes on this line: ______ Words in _____ seconds.

·         After the three repeated readings, answer the two questions at the bottom of the progress sheet about the smoothest read and the read with the least number of mistakes.

·         Once all of the readings are done between you and your partner, you may discuss the reader response questions and write your answer on a piece of paper to turn in.

·         Next, turn in your checklist and response paper and then graph your words and seconds on the chart at the front of the classroom.




Grades for this activity are as follows:

Followed directions for completed forms: +1

Improved in speed: +2

Improved in accuracy: +2

Answered all 4 questions with complete sentences: +2

Answers are accurate and appropriate: +2

Correctly graphed their WPM: +1

Total points = 10



Growing Independence Example Designs:

Murray, Geri. Reading is a Breeze. http://www.auburn.edu/~murrag1/murraygf.htm

Childs, Emily. Fluent Mummies.  http://www.auburn.edu/~emc0014/childsgf.htm


Osborne, Mary Pope. Lions at Lunchtime. Random House, c. 1998.

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