Go, Speed Racer!!
Growing Independence and Fluency
By: Brandi Gainor


Rationale:  Children learn sight words by decoding them.  However, as they begin to get older, decoding begins to get in the way of fluency because readers have to think about each word and its letters as they read.  As they begin to get more practice, fluency eventually leads the way and children in turn become successful readers.  Fluency is the ability to read words fast, automatically, and effortlessly.  Once children can read effortlessly and fluently, they can focus more on the meaning of the text.  This lesson will help children to increase their fluency by rereading texts and becoming more familiar with it.  Children will learn what it is and is not to be a fluent reader and they will have opportunities to practice reading fluently.  Students will practice in activities that will aide in strengthening their ability to read fluently.


1.    Introduce the lesson by saying that in order to become a successful reader, you must be able to read fluently.  Fluency is when you are able to read fast without stopping to sound out each word.  You recognize the words automatically and you read them with little or no effort.  Once you become fluent readers, the text will begin to make more sense because you do not have to try so hard to read each word.  One way that we can work on fluency is by reading a text more than once.  Each time you read the text, you get faster because you are becoming more familiar with the text.  Today we are gong to practice fluency by reading a text more than once and seeing how much we can improve.
2.    First, let us review the steps that we take if we are not able to read a word.  The first thing that you do is the cover-up method.  Remember when we went over this?  Let us use the word fish to practice.  Fist we would cover everything except for the vowel i.  The i makes the /i/ sound.  Next, we would uncover the f which makes the /f/ sound and say /fi/.  Now, what is it called when two letter make one sound?  Right a digraph.  So we would then uncover the sh that makes the /sh/ sound and put the word together to get fish.  Lastly, we would read the sentence with the word fish to see if it made sense.  Now that we have done our review, let’s move on.
3.    Demonstrate reading a sentence with fluency and without fluency.  I am going to write a sentence on the board and I am going to show you how to read it fluently and how to read it without fluency.  (Write on the board I had fun with my dog)  Teacher reads it I h-a-d f-u-n w-i-th my d-o-g.  Could anyone understand what I just read?  Not very well right?  Now I am going to read it again.  I had fun with my dog.  Now does it make sense?  It did because I did not have to spend so much time on each word.  This is what we are going to be working on today, reading so that the words begin to flow together.  
4.    Now, we are going to do some practice.  Pass out class set of Tiny Goes to the Library.  This book is called Tiny Goes to the Library and what I want you to do is to read through the book a few times on your own and then we are going to have a discussion about the book.  I will be walking around while you read so raise your hand if you need any help.
5.    When the students are finished, I will ask them questions to see if they comprehend what they read.  I will ask: What type of animal is tiny? What happens when Tiny arrives at the library?  What did Tiny do that was such a big help?
6.    I will then divide the students into partners.  I will explain how to fill out the fluency checklist for a partner.  The checklist includes (on the second and third time my partner:  remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, read slowly, stopped many times, and did not stop at all during reading).  The students will begin reading with their partners.  Each person will read through the story once.  On the second and third reading, their partner will check all that apply to the readings.  The partners will then switch tasks.
7.    For assessment, each student will come to my desk and read the book aloud.  They will bring with them their checklists.  I will do a one-minute reading with the student assessing his/her fluency.  I will have a progress chart for each student, and I will mark the progress from the one-minute reading.  Each time that a fluency test is done, the progress will be charted.  The charts will be posted in the classroom.

Bennett, Shelley.  Speed Read.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/bennettgf.html
Smith, Mavis.  Tiny Goes to the Library.  New York:  Scholastic. 2000

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