Growing Independence and Fluency

Reading Up to Speed


Growing Independency and Fluency Design

By: Ashton Barnes




In order for students to really enjoy reading and to better understand what they are reading, they must be able to read fluently. To be able to read fluently, they must be able to blend and decode. Repeated readings are reliable tools to teach students reading fluency.



  • White board to display practice words for blending

  • Stop watches for each pair

  • A sheet with the picture of a bird’s nest in a tree and a bird trying to fly to the nest. Have time indications on the side of the tree for the students to place the bird after they get finishes reading.

  • An Egg in a Nest by Angela Weeks



  1. Explain to the students that we are going to talk about a very important part of becoming a smooth and fast reader. It is called decoding and blending. Explain to the students that in order to rad fast and smoothly, they need to learn how to decode and blend letters, so that when they come to words they do not know, they will be able to decode and blend in order to figure out the word they’re trying to read.

  2. Review with the students what decoding is. Explain that you decode a word you do not recognize. In order to decode, you need to break the word into its individual sounds. Remind them that when you are decoding, you need to start with the vowel. Then, move back to the first letter and blend the two sounds together. For example, the word fun. I would start with the vowel u=/u/. Then, I would look at /f/, being the first sound, and /u/ being the second sound, and blend the two sounds together. Then, I would add on the last sound, being /n/ and say f-u-n. Tell the class it’s their turn to decode some made up words: stip, lat, het, dit.

  3. Tell the students that when we were putting all the sounds together in the word “fun”, we were blending. Say the word f-u-n to the class. Ask them if it was hard for them to understand what you said. Then say the word fun. Ask if that was easier to understand. Explain that when you are reading, it makes it easier to understand what you are reading and it makes reading more enjoyable when you read smoothly.

  4. Tell the students its time to practice reading fluency. Have the students work in pairs and give each pair a copy of An Egg in a Nest by Angela Weeks, a stop watch, and two pictures of a bird nest in a tree and a bird that can fly towards the nest. Tell the students that you want them to take turns reading aloud to their partner. On the second read, move the bird to the time it took for the reader to finish reading. Remind them to use their decoding skills and blend when needed.

  5. After reading An Egg in a Nest, ask the students to answer 3 comprehension questions to make sure they were using their crosschecking skills and are able to understand the story.


Comprehension Questions:

1. How many eggs were laid?

2. What kind of bird laid the eggs?

3. Where was the nest?



Have the students read a page of the book to you while you time them on how fast they are reading. Note miscues and if they are using decoding and blending skills while reading words they may not know. Record the first and second times it of each pair. 



The Fast and the Fluent. Catherine Moore.

An Egg in a Nest. Angela Weeks.

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