Growing Fluency and

Independence Design

Lesson design project for the reading stage of growing independence and fluency (GF): ideas for teaching students to read with automatic word recognition, which allows faster, smoother, more expressive, and silent reading, and which encourages voluntary, avid reading.

Baking Up Fluency









Growing Independence and Fluency

By Kelly Kerr

Rationale:  Fluent readers are able to read quickly, smoothly, and with expression. Fluency is an important skill for students to obtain because children can begin focusing on the meaning of the text rather than focusing on decoding each individual word.  In order for students to become fluent readers, they must read and re-read decodable books. This will help them practice decoding at a quick speed. This lesson calls for students to practice reading decodable books multiple times in order for the students to be able to read the books quickly and smoothly.  Students will read the books independently and then read to a peer.



1) Sentence strip with sentence: The cat catches the mouse

2) Class copies of Mouse Makes Some Cookies by Bruce Larkin for each student

3) Stop watch for every peer group of students

4) Cover up Critter

4) Pencils for each group to record reading times

5) Speed reading record sheet for each student

Name: ________Date: ____

1st minute: ______

2nd minute: ______

3rd minute: ______


6) Speed reading chart (bottom of the page)



1. Say:  Today, we are going to be practicing how to read smooth and fast at same time because we all want to become great readers!  Being able to read books quickly and smoothly is called fluency.  It is important to be fluent readers so that we can focus on understanding what we are reading rather than how to decode the words! 


2.  Say:  Now, I am going to show you how to read a sentence fluently.  Put the sentence strip on the board with cat catches the mouse, on it.  Say:  Listen to me as I say the sentence a loud and listen to how the sounds blend together so smoothly.  Thhheeee ccccccaaaaaattttttt ccccccccaaaatttttcccchhhheeeesss tttthhheeee mmmmmooooouuuuussssseeeeeee.  When I read the sentence like that, it is hard to understand because I am not reading it fluently or quickly. I will then re-read the sentence faster than the time before.  Finally, I will blend the words together and read the words smoothly and fluently.  Say:  This is how we read fluently.  Do you see why it is important for us to read this way?  When we read like this, it is much easier to understand the text.  We are improving our reading by re-reading multiple times to make our reading more fluent.


3. Say: Now it is your turn to practice reading fluently!  I will give everyone a book to practice reading quickly and smoothly to on your own.  Read the story multiple so that you will improve your fluency.  Remember to use your cover up critter if needed! The book I am going to pass out is Mouse Makes Cookies.  In the story, Mouse decides to bake some cookies. He makes six cookies. A raccoon eats one of the cookies. Next a snake eats one of the cookies. Lets read to find out if the entire batch of cookies Mouse made gets ate! Remember to put the words together smoothly in the sentences as you reread the book!


4. Say: Once you have practiced reading your book, I will pair you with a friend to read together.  You are each going to read the book to your partner 3 times.  With the stopwatch, you are going to time your partner for one minute while listening to them read.  At the end of that one-minute, put a mark so that you will remember where they were at one minute so that you can go back and count the words. The readers should finish reading. I will give you a check lists that has a space to write how many words they are reading the first, second and third time.  After one partner has read 3 times, you will then switch and do the same thing! Remember to be quite and respectful while your partner is reading!


5.During the peer fluency assessment, I will monitor the students working and try to ensure that all students are following directions and assessing each other correctly.


6.After the students have finished reading to one another, I will call them up to my desk individually and explain to them how many words they read per minute.  I will then have a chart with a line of cookies.  There will be increments of 10 starting with the first cookie at 0 going up to the last cookie at 80.  I will put the mouse on the corresponding number of words they read per minute.  I will encourage the student to keep practicing by moving their mouse up each time they increase their words read per minute.


Assessment:  I will assess their speed-reading by keeping their times documented and watching their improvement on the charts. I will also have each student read the book for me as I take notes on miscues and fluency. When the student has finished reading I will ask questions to check for comprehension.


How many cookies did Mouse make? Six

Did Mouse get to eat a cookie? Yes

Name two of the animals that ate a cookie? Raccoon, Mouse, Snake, Turtle, Bunny, or Bear are all correct answers.


Reference: Mouse Makes Cookies by Bruce Larkin.



Cover up Critter-



I can read fast, smooth, and expressively! By Joy Gettys