Fast and Fluent!

Growing Independence and Fluency

Jana Pitman


Rationale: The main purpose of this lesson is to teach fluency, which is the ability for a person to be able to read text smoothly, expressively, and quickly. When people do not read fluently, they can become frustrated or bored with the task of trying to read slowly and choppy. The strongest research evidence supports the method of repeated readings to gain fluency. Effortless reading allows the student to concentrate on the meaning of the text rather than concentrate on decoding. The goal of this lesson is to improve student's reading strategies and fluency through repeated readings of text. 



1. Student copies of Mouse Tales

2. Stopwatches or timer for teacher and each student

3. Fluency checklist for each student

4. Sentence strip

5. Reading record time sheet for each student

6. Pencils and paper for each student



1. The teacher should introduce the lesson by saying, "We are going to be learning how to become better fluent readers." The teacher should explain to the students what fluent reading means by saying, "Fluent reading is when you can read with expression to make the story more interesting. Fluent readers also have the ability to read smooth and fast."


2. The teacher should display the sentence strip on the board that reads:It was a hot a sunny day. The teacher should read the sentence without fluency: I-i-t-t w-w-a-s a h-h-o-o-ot a-a-n-nd s-s-u-u-n-n-n-y-y d-a-a-y. Next, the teacher should read it smoothly and with expression. The teacher should ask the class if they can tell a difference between the first and second time they read it. "Which was harder for you to understand? I could barely understand what I was reading the first time I read it. After I read it fluently it made much more sense what I was reading. I want you to start reading fluently like I did the second time. Today we are going to focus on reading smoothly, quickly, and with expression."


3. The teacher should say, "We are going to learn how to use a cover up critter. We use these when we are reading and we come across a word we don't know. I can show you an example: (write the word stamp on the board) First, I am going to find the vowel and cover up all of the other letters. The vowel is a, I know that short a makes the /a/ sound. Then I will uncover all the letters before the vowel, which is the s-t. I will pronounce that /s/t/a/ then I will uncover the rest of the word and sound it out, /m/p/. The word is stamp!" If the cover up critter does not work the teacher should suggest the student finish reading the sentence and use crosschecking.


4. Engage students in a book talk about the story Mouse Tales by Arnold Lobel. Mouse Tales is about seven little mice boys that cant seem to fall asleep one night. They decide to ask their Papa to tell them a bedtime story. He doesn't just tell them one story, he tells all seven mice a story! Lets read and find out what stories Papa mouse tells!" 


5. The teacher should pass out every student's a copy of Mouse Tales. The teacher should say, "I am going to read the story to you the first time. Listen for my expression and fluency as I read! Make sure you pay attention and are finger tracking along with my reading."  


6. The teacher should now tell the students they are going to participate in a repeated reading. Explain to the students a repeated reading helps build fluency by allowing the reader to see the text many times. Rereading helps make text easier to read and will help them comprehend the story better.


7. The teacher should divide the students into pairs according to what works best in their classroom. The students should spread out in order to minimize distractions. The teacher should give each pair of students a timer, a fluency literacy rubric, and a reading time sheet.


8. The teacher needs to take time to explain, "One student is going to be the reader and the other student will be the recorder. Once you have finished reading you will switch jobs. When you are listening you are the one holding the timer. The first person to read will open the book and wait for their partner to tell them when to start the timer. The reader will read the whole book and the recorder will stop the timer when he or she has completed the reading. Then, the time should be recorded on your reading time sheet. Then you will go through the fluency checklist after each time your partner reads. Once you have completed the fluency checklist and the reading time sheet you will switch jobs. The person who was recording will become the reader and the reader will become the recorder. This should be done three times each so you will become familiar with the text and improve your fluency!" The teacher should have a student come up and help the teacher model what should be done. This will ensure the students understand each step.


9. While the students do their repeated readings, the teacher should be walking around the room to see that each student is using their time sheet and fluency checklist correctly.


10. The students will assess one another by looking over the fluency checklist and reading time sheet.  The teacher can use this formula to assess each student's fluency: words read X 60 divided by total time (in seconds). Afterwards, students will write a small paragraph as a summary of Mouse Tales. The writings will allow the teacher to see which students are developing good writing and comprehension skills. 


Reading Time Sheet





1st Reading:_______________________

2nd Reading:_______________________

3rd Reading:_______________________


Fluency Literacy Rubric


Name of Reader:__________________________

Name of Timer: __________________________

Date: __________________________


I noticed my partner….(check the space)

After the 2nd reading…


____Remembered more words

____Read faster

____Read smoother

____Read with expression


References: Murray, Geri. "Reading is a Breeze."


Mouse Tales. Arnold Lobel. Harper Collins 1972.


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