I started the lesson by explaining to students that we were going to learn how to read “like we talk.” I read two pages from the book I am reading to them during our read-aloud time. I closed the book and asked students to describe my reading. They said I sounded smooth, I read like the character, and it was like I was just talking. I told them good readers read like we talk and it is called fluency.
I displayed a numbered reading passage on the document camera. The numbers help students keep track of the number of words they have read. The goal is to increase the number of words read within one minute through repeated readings. The passage has a space at the top for students to write a prediction before reading. Making predictions is a pre-reading strategy that gets the reader’s mind ready to think about what they are going to read. We have practiced this strategy before. It also has questions at the end to check comprehension.
I modeled for students how they were to practice fluency and comprehension. First, I read the title and pointed to the illustration. I used this information to write a prediction on the lines. Then, I turned my one-minute sand timer over and began reading. I stopped after one minute and marked where I left off with a bracket. I counted the number of words read correctly and graphed my score. I read the story two more times and graphed my score each time. I discussed with students how my score had improved with each reading. Last, I modeled answering the questions at the end of the passage. I stressed that reading as fast as you can is not the main goal. It is equally important to comprehend what has been read.
I guided students through the steps above using a different leveled passage that all students were able to read independently. I made sure they knew how to use the sand timer, mark where they had stopped, count the number of words, and graph them. I had them read and graph the passage twice more. They were so excited to see their score increase each time! I gave them time to answer the comprehension questions and we checked the answers together.
Each student was given a set of passages at his or her level. I had assessed students beforehand, so I knew where to place them. I grouped students, who were on the same level, and modeled fluency by reading their passage aloud as they also read aloud with me. This gave them the opportunity to hear proper pronunciation, appropriate rhythm, pacing, and intonation. They answered the comprehension questions independently.
I looked at students' graphs to check their progress during the repeated readings. Each student showed an increase in the number of words with each successive read. Next steps would be to set a goal for each student based on his or her reading level.