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Lesson Plan

The Reading Performance: Understanding Fluency Through Oral Interpretation

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Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five to six 45-minute sessions (depending on the number of students giving oral performances)
Lesson Author

Laura Hofsess

Vernon, Connecticut


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This lesson examines how oral reading of poetry may be useful in supporting fluency for sixth- through eighth-grade students. Central to this lesson is the idea that students require practice and repetition to master decoding skills for fluency and comprehension in oral reading. After discussing with the teacher in very explicit terms what readers mean by "reading with expression," students work with partners in selecting a poem from the Internet for oral reading. Working together, students come to appreciate how authors craft their writing to be read and how readers bring meaning to a text, which enables them to read with expression. Once partners have agreed on how their poem should be read, they collaborate on a performance of the poem: an oral reading accompanied by a PowerPoint slide show. As an audience, students come to appreciate the art in interpreting a poem—how a careful reading of language and meaning is something beautiful in itself.

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Richards, M. (2000). Be a good detective: Solve the case of oral reading fluency. The Reading Teacher, 53, 534–539.

  • After reading rate and automatic word recognition, the third element of fluency on Zutell and Rasinski's Multidimensional Fluency Scale (1991) is prosody.

  • Prosody is the ability to read a text orally using appropriate pitch, stress, and juncture, and to project the natural intonation and phrasing of the spoken word upon the written text. Prosodic cues are the structure of the text and language, which help students identify the appropriate pitch, stress, and juncture to be assigned to a given text.

  • Methods for developing fluency include modeling, repeated reading, paired oral reading, the oral recitation lesson, and choral reading. The oral recitation lesson involves modeling, using a comprehension strategy, discussing the prosodic elements, and performing.

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