Growing Independence and Fluency


Racing Readers!

Emily Jackson

Rationale: Students must become fluent readers in order to read faster, smoother, and with more expression. This lesson helps students learn to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively through teacher modeling and guided repeated readings. By gaining these tasks, students will be fluent readers. Fluency refers to a student’s ability to read words accurately and automatically.


·         Multiple copies of  “How Much is That Guinea Pig in the Window?” by Joanne Rocklin

·         Progress chart for each child. This will be a racetrack with a racecar that goes around the track.  There will be numbers around the track to indicate how many words each student reads. The students will stop their car on the number that represents how many words they read.  This will be represented by words X 60/seconds.

·         Cover-up critter

·         Stopwatch


1. Explain to students that you are going to work on becoming fluent readers. “Today we are going to learn how to be fluent readers. This means we will be able to read quickly and smoothly. To do this, we will need to decode and blend words. This will allow us to read and understand words that we have never read. We will practice reading over and over until we become fluent readers.”

2. “How do we decode?” Write the word dance on the board. “When we decode a word we always start with the vowel sound, then go back to the first letter and work through the word one sound at a time. For example, if I read the word dance I would start with looking at the vowel a = /a/, then go back to the /d/ sound.  /d/ /a//n/ /c/e.” Now, have the students practice decoding other words such as bat, sip, Sam. “Now, lets try a sentence.” Have students read the sentence: My dog is big. The teacher will then read the sentence along with the class Mmyyyyyy doooogggg isssss biiiiggggggg.

3. When we sound out the letters of a word together like s – a – d, it is called blending.  Have the children tell you which way to say ‘sad’ is easier to understand: s–a – d, or sad.  They should say the first, more flowing way.  It is more fun and easier to read if we could read smooth and not choppy.  This means we would read more fluently. So now, let’s practice together, the first two times we will read the sentences on the board to ourselves, covering up or cross-checking if you need to. The third time read your sentence out loud. Now, I will walk around and monitor to make sure you are doing this correctly with your partners.

Assessment: “Now we need to practice reading fluently and using our decoding skills.” The students will get into pairs. Each partner group will have a copy of “How Much is That Guinea Pig in the Window?” a racetrack progress report, and a stopwatch. Have the students read each take a turn reading the book to their partner. Then have them repeat the activity. On the second read, the partner who is not reading will use the stopwatch to time the student who is reading. The students will read one on one with me and I will test their knowledge on their readings. I will use the formula words X 60/seconds.


Catherine Moore:  The Fast and The Fluent.

Jordan McWilliamsyou’re your mark, get set, read:

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