Ready, Set, READ!


Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Lindsey Barber



Rationale: Reading fluency is very crucial to reading success. Fluent readers can read and recognize words quickly, automatically, and effortlessly. The best way to do this is to transition from decoding to automatic word recognition. When students become fluent in reading, they are able to focus on the meaning of the text. The goal of this lesson is to improve children's reading strategies in fluency by repeated readings of the text, focusing on reading at a faster rate.


Stopwatches for each pair of students, fluency graphs for each child, star stickers, class set of Danny and the Dinosaur, fluency checklist, reader response form


 1) Explain the activity:

Say: Today you are going to learn how to pick up speed while you're reading so you can read as smoothly and as naturally as you talk. When you can read smoothly, it's easy to understand the words and get interested in what's going on in a story.

 2) Model fluent and nonfluent reading

Say: I am going to let you listen to me read a short passage two times. When I'm done, I'll take a vote on which time I sounded better. (1) The dinosaur had to be very c-a-r-efu-l, care-f-u-l, careful not to /k-nok/ over, Hmm knock over? (Knock makes more sense than k-nok.  I am having trouble with some of these new words so I have to finish the sentences to see if I can figure them out.) /h-ow-sEs/ houses or stores with his long tail. (2) Let me try this passage again. The dinosaur had to be very careful not to knock over houses or stores with his long tail.(Ask for a show of hands) Who liked listening to my first reading? How about the second? Why did the second time sound better to you? That's right, I didn't have to stop to figure out any of the words.

3) Review a strategy

Say: Did you notice that I used a strategy of crosschecking when I couldn't get a word? What I did was finish the sentence to see if I could figure out the pronunciation of some tough new words that had silent letters, like the k in knock or the word houses.  At first I pronounced them but they didn't sound like real words I've heard of. Then when I finished the sentence, I could tell what the words were, like knock instead of k-nock.

4) Practice together

Say: Let's try reading the next line on the page together as a class. I see one tough new word in the next sentence. (choral read: )"Some people were waiting for a bus." I heard some of you having trouble with waiting, but you used the rest of the sentence to figure it out.

5) Motivate to read

Say: Before we get any further, let me tell you about Danny and the dinosaur. Danny is riding on dinosaur's back and they are walking all over town. They go watch a baseball game, go swimming, and they even go to the zoo. Danny wants to go find his friends so they can play with them. I wonder what his friends will think when they see dinosaur?

6) Explain the new procedure for paired practice

While explaining, write directions as steps on the board for students to refer to.

Say: Here's what you are going to do next.

1. Pair up with your reading buddy. One of you will come and get two Partner Reading Progress checklist and two reader response forms. Then, I want you to each count the number of words in the chapter and put it at the top of the checklist form.

2. Take 3 turns reading the chapter to each other. While one reads, the other will use the stopwatch to time your partner's readings.

3. Make tally marks for every time your buddy misses a word.

4. Now, subtract the number of tally marks from the number of words in the chapter. Then fill out your checklist.

5. Next, answer the two questions on the progress form about which turn was the smoothest and which had the fewest errors.

6. When you are done timing each other, you can discuss the answers to the reader response questions.

7. Then each of you will write your answers on a separate sheet of paper back at your desks.

8. When you turn in your papers and checklists, I will give you a graph and three stars. I will figure out your three rates and after putting your name at the top your stars will go in the time spaces to show your reading rates.   


Grades are computed using point system as follows:



Hoff, Syd. (1986). Danny and the dinosaur. New York: Harper Collins.

Photo image from:

Lesson Design Resources:

Murray, Gerri. Reading is a breeze.

Back to Rendezvous Index