Getting Fancy with Fluency


A Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Katlin Higgins


Rationale: Fluency is an important part of being able to read effectively. Once students have gained an understanding of phonics and correspondences, fluency should be continuously practiced. Fluency helps students read automatically, accurately, and clearly. Fluency helps to maintain focus on the text being read. Repeated readings is a great way to build fluency and also comprehension. It is important to assess students' comprehension as they are reading. In this lesson, students will be able to listen to and time each other as they read. Students will make records of their reading rates.



Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Parks (copy for each student)

Fluency Charts



Large castle chart to track class progress (each student will have their own prince or princess to chart individual progress)

Have the sentence "The prince and princess dashed off on the white horse." written on the board or overhear.

Blue poster with the following sentence written on it: "I am always excited when

I get to experience a new school year."



1.Explain the purpose of the lesson to students.

Say: Today we are going to work on building fluency. Fluent readers read accurately, smoothly, and automatically. If you mess up on a word, that's ok! You just need to make sure to crosscheck and fix the mistake. Let's review how to crosscheck while reading. Look at the sentence on the board. I am going to show you how I would use crosschecking to read this sentence. The prince and princess /d/ /a/ /sh/ /ed/ off on the white horse. Oh! The prince and princess dashed off on the white horse. I am going to ask myself, "Does that sentence make sense?" It does make sense! They rode or dashed off on the horse.

2. Now model fluent reading for your students:

Say: "I am going to read the same sentence, the horse dashed down the trail, as a fluent reader and as a non-fluent reader. Listen carefully to each way that I read the sentence." First read the sentence as a non-fluent reader: 'The p-pr-prin-prince and pr-prin-prince-princess d-da-dash-dashed off on the w-whi-white h-hor-horse.' Could you easily understand what I was reading? Was it smooth and fast?" Wait for the students to disagree and answer with something like: "No, it was slow and broken apart." Say: "Well Now that I am more familiar with the words, I am going to read it again, but this time a lot faster. Now listen closely Read the sentence really:"' The prince and princess dashed off on the white horse.' Did this reading sound smooth and fast?" Wait for agree and respond with something like: "Yes, it was more fluent and but it was way to fast! Say: Okay now this time I'm going to be a smart star reader and read this same sentence at a good normal speed with expression! "The prince and princess dashed off on the white horse!" See how much better that was and how it captured your attention? This is how fluent readers read, with an even pace and with expression. Put up the blue poster with the sentence: The trail was filled with snares. Now I want you to read the sentence on the blue poster to practice your fluency. Get with a partner and take turns reading the sentence fluently." Give the students 5-7 minutes to practice their reading fluency.

3. Before splitting students up into pairs, give a book talk about the book that they will be reading.

Say: Today we will be reading Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. Raise your hand if you have ever been nervous about going to school. I know when I was in school I would always get nervous about the first day of school. Raise your hand if you have ever had to ride the school bus. What does the school bus smell like? Junie B. Jones was not excited about having to ride the smelly school bus. She thought it was stupid and smell. Let's read to find out more about Junie B. Jones's experience on the school bus, and if the school bus turned out to be as bad as she thought.


4. Put the students into their partner groups (IMPORTANT: make sure groups can work well together, preventing any behavior problems) and pass out the book, time sheets, and stopwatches.

Say: For this activity, each of you will have the job of being the reader and the listener. One of you will read while the other uses the stopwatch to accurately time how long it takes you to read the first chapter of the book. If it is your turn to be the listener, be sure to press the red button to start the timer as soon as your partner begins reading. Also, make sure to pay close attention to your partner as they read. As soon as they finish the first chapter, you press the button again to stop the counting and allow your partner to write down the number that's on the timer. That number tells us how long it took them to read the story. Now the second time they read Chapter 1, it will be a little different. You will start and stop the timer just like you did the first time, but this time you will fill out your partner check sheet after they finish. If they remember more words you put a check; if they read faster, you put a check. DO NOT put a check if you are unsure if they accomplished each task. Remember, this is just practice and we will get better and better the more we practice becoming successful readers! Make sure to repeat these steps after the third time your partner reads. After the third reading attempt, you and your partner will swap positions; the reader will become the listener and the listener will become the reader! The second reader will move on to chapter 2. The time will start when they begin chapter 2 and end when they are finished with chapter 2. You will reread Chapter 2 three separate times while the listener fills out the check sheet. Are there any questions? Be sure to keep up with the time for each time your partner reads so that you are able to compare the results to the first time your partner read the chapter.

5. Always be observing and noting progress while the students are reading to each other. Walk around the room with a notepad and make sure the students are on task and correctly completing the activity. Occasionally communicate with the groups about how they are doing and answer any questions they may have throughout the reading activity.

6. I recommend that before class to create and organize a fluency folder for each student where you can easily store time-sheets and record comments on their individual fluency progress. To assess the students reading fluency, have students turn in time sheets, making sure each has been completed correctly. Compare and make notes on each student's beginning time with their last time to see if they improved their speed. Next, I will perform one-minute reads with each child to check for fluency and accuracy. Giving them motivation/inspiration to improve their fluency by moving their racehorse closer to the finish line the more words they read per minute. Then, assess the words read per minute by using the following formula:

Words x 60


7. After each reading, the students will be asked to tell what happened in the chapter. They should retell the chapter in their own words. This will assess comprehension.






I noticed that my partner…..


After 2nd reading   After 3rd reading


Remembered more words    


Read faster     


Read Smoother  


Read with expression   



1st Time

2nd Time

3rd Time

Words Correct x 60




Time in seconds




Total Words Per Minute







Bruce Murray, Developing Reading Fluency

Michael Fields, "Can You be a Speedy Reader?"

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Parks

Fancy Fluent By Kate Patrick



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