A Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson, by Emily Mitchell

Rationale: Reading fluently is a goal of reading comprehension. To read fluently means to read with automatic word comprehension. To read fluently are able to automatically and effortlessly recognize words; they can focus all their efforts into understanding the message of the text. Gaining fluency will increase students reading comprehension, so this lesson was designed to promote fluency through repeated readings and timed readings.  With this lesson, students will be able to read texts smoothly, quickly and with expression.


·      Book Toad and Frog are Friends

·      Timer/stopwatch for each pair

·      Peer Fluency Sheet, one for each student

·      Pencils

·      Teacher Fluency Check, one for each student


1.     Begin the lesson by saying, “Alright class, today we are going to work on becoming fluent readers. We know that we want to become fluent readers, but what does that mean? Wait for responses. Fluent readers are able to read quickly, smoothly, and with expression because they recognize words automatically.  This also helps us understand what we are reading because we don’t have to stop and analyze each word.  This makes reading more enjoyable.”

2.     Say: “Now let’s look at the sentences I have written on the board, ‘Sam takes his pal Kim on his raft.’ Now I am going to read the sentence, and I want you to tell me if I sound like a fluent reader or not. ‘Saa-me, Sam, t-t-tacks, I mean takes, his p-paail Kim, wait, Sam takes his pail, no, pal Kim on his raaaft, raft.’ Now let me reread the sentace to see if it makes sense. ‘Same takes his pal Kim on his raft.’  Now I want you to give me thumbs up if I sounded like a fluent reader and thumbs down if I did not. That’s right, I was not reading fluently! Here is how if would sound if I read fluently, “Same takes his pal Kim on his raft.’ I read the sentence effortlessly, and it was much easier to understand! Now I want you to turn to your partner and practice reading the second sentence on the board: ‘Pat the dog eats my shoe!’ Read it aloud to one another until you read fluently.

3.     Say: “Now let’s think back to when I read the first sentence, and I got stuck on the word pal. In order to find how to read it, I had to go back and reread the sentence from the beginning and try my pronunciation.  When I read ‘his pail Kim,” I knew that didn’t sound right. Then I went back and re-read the sentence, I realized the word actually said ‘pal.’  This is a strategy called crosschecking that we can use to check our pronunciation.

4.     Assign partners for each student and pass out the books. Then give a book talk for the book: “This is a story about the friendship of Frog and Toad. The pair goes on many adventures and through hard times together, but one day, Frog gets sick! What will Toad do? Let’s read to find out what happens and as we do, think about what you would do if your best friend got sick.”

5.     Instruct the students to read the first two pages to themselves silently, and they should each read it twice.

6.     Once every group has finished, pass out the stopwatches and the record sheet to each group. Say: “Now we are going to play the fluency game, so listen to all the directions! Partner one is going to start as the reader, and partner two is going to begin as the timer.  Partner two is going to time partner one reading the first two pages, and then he or she will write down the time on the record sheet.  You will each do this three times. As you listen to your partner read three times, I want you to listen to how their reading changes. Do they remember more words, does it become smoother, faster, and more expressive, and if so, when do these changes happen?  I want you to mark these changes on your paper. Lets begin!”

7.     Once the students have finished recording, you will call the students up one at a time to read a paragraph from the first two pages. They will bring their record sheet to attach to your assessment. You will time them on the paragraph read, and will use the formula words x 60 divided by the amount of time in seconds spent reading to record their words per minute.  You will also use a list of comprehension questions to assess how their fluency is affecting their comprehension.


Haley Barnes, Crosschecking Crocodiles


Faith Karl, Reading on a Rocket


Peer Fluency Check

Name of Reader: ____________________

Date: _________________

1st Time: ________

2nd Time: ________

3rd Time: ________

I noticed that my partner…

            After which read?       2nd       3rd

Remembered more words  

Read faster

Read smoother

Read with expression

Teacher Fluency Check

Name of Reader: _______________

Date: _________________ 

Time: ________

Words x 60/time in seconds: _______WPM


1. What was this paragraph about?



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