Becoming a Reading Racer

Growing Independence and Fluency

Ellie Buzbee


We want all students to read fluently. Fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately and automatically. The formula for fluency is reading and rereading decodable words in connected text. Fluent readers take less time to decode words, and more time comprehending the text.  The four indicators of fluency are speed, expression, silent readings, and voluntary reading. This lesson we are going to focus on speed. To become fluent students must be able to read fast. In this lesson students will become quicker readers by repeated readings, timed readings, and one minute reads.


Timer for each pair of students

Decodable Book for each pair of students: "The Car Trip"

Book for teacher to read: "The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog" by Ana Martin Larranaga

Poster with race track and finish line on it: on each part of the track there will be numbers representing the amount of words read in a minute. Each student will get a race car cut out and velcro it to the track.

Partner check sheet for each student: you check off if you noticed your partner remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with expression.

Word per minute sheet for every student (1st, 2nd, 3rd)



1. "Today we are going to learn how to be fluent readers! To be a fluent reader we have to read fast and with emotion. We are going to practice reading fast today by reading books over and over again. Remember if you have trouble with a word use your "critter" (a cover up tool). If we are fluent we will be able to enjoy the books we read, instead of working really hard to read them."

2. "I am going to read you a book, 'Big Wide-Mouthed Frog.' I am going to read the first page once and I want you to listen to how I sound. O-n-c-e t-h-e-r-e w-a-s a b-i-g w-i-d-e m-o-u-t-h-e-d f-r-o-g. How did that sound? It was pretty slow. I also had to sound out the words. Well now I am going to show you how a fluent reader would read this page: Once there was a big wide-mouthed frog with the biggest, widest mouth you ever did see! Did that sound better or worse? Better right! I read smoothly and at a quicker pace."

3. Now students will do repeated readings of a decodable book with a partner. "I am going to assign you a partner. I will give you a book that you will take turns reading. While one partner is reading I want the other partner to listen if your partner is being fluent or not. You will take your partner checklist and check off how they did the second and third time they read.  The first time you read the book it may not be fluent, but that is ok because I will give you time to read the book 3 times and hopefully by the 3rd time you will be a fluent reader! The book I am giving you and your partner is 'The Car Trip.' Have any of you ever been on a road trip? I used to go on road trips with my mom and dad all the time. Well Roy is going on a long car trip with his dad. They are traveling all the way across the United States when suddenly they get a flat tire! Do you think they will finish their trip? You and your partner will have to read to find out."

4. One minute reading: "Alright everyone, great job! Sense you all have been practicing so well I am going to give you and your partner a timer to share. While One partner reads (from the same book you were practicing) the other partner will time 1 minute. Once the minute is up tell your partner to stop. Then have them count how many words they read in a minute. You record the number of words you read of the sheet of paper I am passing out. Once you have read 3 times you switch with your partner. Once both of you have finished count your highest score and write in on your race car then take your race car and put on the race track next to its' number. We are going to try to get all the way to the finish line. Ready, Set, Read!"


I will be able to assess all the students from the one minute reads. They will turn in their words per minute sheets. Their car will have their name on it so I can see how many words they have read in a minute. I will also be able to walk around the room while my students are doing the repeated readings.


Livingston, Charlotte. "Lightning McQueen Makes it to the Finish Line"

Larranaga, Ana Martin. "The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog."Scholastic Inc. 1999.

Sims, Matt. "The Car Trip."High Noon Books: 2001.

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