Learning to Read With Superman Speed

by Renee McInnish

Rationale: Students need to be able to read fluently and proficiently in order to be able to read the amount of material that is given to them in a given amount of time.  If  a student is a slow reader, chances are they are going to have a difficult time being able to keep up with their other classmates.  In addition, there is a good chance that the student will be embarrassed to read in front of others.  A child needs practice in reading in order to become a more proficient reader.

Materials: Class set of Lester, Julius.  (1999). John Henry. (Picture Puffins). , graph for students to track their rate of reading, class set of bookmarks, class set of pencils, and writing paper for all of the students.

1. Today we are going to work on your reading fluency.  Before we do that, I want to review what you need to do if you come to a word that you do not know.  Pass out bookmarks to the students.  I want you to use your bookmarks to cover up words that you do not know, exposing one letter at a time, sounding out each letter as you read it.    Model for students.  For example, we will sound out the word I have written on the overhead.  Notice how I already have the word covered with my bookmark.  I will expose one letter at a time.  The first letter is d = /d/.  The second letter is e =/E/.  We will blend the two together.  We now have de = /dE/.  Continue modeling for the students how to sound out the word determination.

2. Class, as I told you, today we are going to learn how to increase the speed we read.  We are going to do this by reading  the same book several times.

Book talk:   I am going to read you a story about a boy that busted through the roof of his porch on the first day that he was born.  He was so big and powerful on his second day that he was able to build his parents all kinds of great things. Has anyone known a baby that strong before?  What do you think he did next?  Today we are going to read this book four times hoping to improve the amount of pages and our comprehension of those pages each time.

3. Class, I want you to watch the clock and time me reading silently for one minute.
During this time I will read as many words as I can.  When my time is up, please tell me to stop.  I will then count the number of pages that I was able to read during my given time.  Allow students to time you while reading.  Wow!  I was able to read two pages during the minute.  Demonstrate how to graph the number of pages read during the given time.  Now, I want you to do the same thing, except that you will have five minutes to read your books silently.

4. Pass out graphs to students and teach them how to label them and use them.
Class I’m going to pass out graphs to each of you.  This graphs are where you are going to keep up with your success in your reading.  First I need to you label the left side of the graph.  Deomonstrate on the board for the students how to number the left side of the graph.  On the left side of the graph starting with the first line I want you to label the line with a two.  Then I want you to skip a line and number the next line as four.  Keeping numbering in twos skipping every other line.  This side will be where we keep up with the number of pages that you read.  The bottom numbers will be the amount of times you read the book.  Although the graph provides you with enough room to track the book twenty times, we are only going to read the book four times today.  I’m going to give you five minutes each time you read.  When I say time is up, I want you to graph how many pages you read corresponding with what trial you are on.

3.  Pass out the books to the students.
Now I’m going to pass your books out to you.  I don’t want you to open the book or  start until I tell you to begin.  When I tell you to start, I want you to start reading your book.  At the end of five minutes I will tell you to stop.  At that time I want you to stop and close your book and put it down on your desk.

4.  Start timing the students and tell them when to begin.
    Time them for five minutes.
     O.k. Time is up.  Please close your books.

5. Have students graph the amount of pages that they were able to read.
Now I want you to take your graph and put a dot by the number of pages you read on line one because this is your first trial.
Demonstrate this on the board for the students because this will be confusing to them if they have never used a graph.  This will also be a great math lesson for the students teaching them how to use a graph.

6. To make sure that the students are comprehending what they have read and not just
     flipping pages, have them write down everything that they remembered after each
    trial.  Hopefully they will remember more and more each time as well as get further in
    their reading during each trial.
    Now class I want you to use your writing paper and write down everything that you
    remember about the story.

7. Repeat these steps three more times.  After students have finished their forth trial show them how to connect their dots so they can get a true graph.  Hopefully all of their graphs are going up hill.  Show them how their graph should look if they were improving each time.  Go around the room and look at the students graphs so you can see how they are doing.  You may want to take the graphs up and put in their files for a record that you can refer back to.  Through out the year you may want to do this activity again.  You can use the same graph paper for up to twenty trials.  Also, take up their writings so you can compare them later as well.

Class I now want you to draw a line from dot to dot.  If you improved your reading speed your line should be going up hill.  I’m going to come around the room now and look at your graphs and then I will take them up.  We will work on these graphs through out the year.  Don’t feel bad if your graph didn’t go up hill this time. This was our first time doing the activity and I’m sure you will do better the next time.  I also want you to have your writings ready for me to take up with your name and date on them.  Reassure the students so they want feel so odd. When you go around the room praise your students’ accomplishments.  For some reason if their graphs do not go up hill, praise them for their writings ­ their comprehension of the text.  Hopefully, this lesson will help the child feel better about themself not worse.

Crowley, Sharon J. & Merritt, King. (2000). Remediating Reading Difficulties (Boston: McGraw Hill) 3, p. 98.

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