Off to the Races
By: Katie Griggs
Rationale: To read fluently, a student must read quickly, smoothly, and expressively. In addition, word recognition must be automatic for students to comprehend what they read. If word recognition is automatic, reading becomes an enjoyable activity for a student. For students to gain automatic word recognition, the reading and re-reading of connected, decodable text is needed. The more a student comes in to contact with a specific text, the more fluent he or she becomes. In this lesson, students will learn how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively in order to gain fluency. Students will gain fluency through repeated readings and one-minute reads.
Materials: Marker board with sentence "We loaded on to the bus after school." written on it, individual pieces of paper with the sentence "My friends and I played baseball on Sunday afternoon." and a corresponding picture on them, chart with a race track on it for each student (charts should go up to one-hundred words per minute), small cut-outs of cars for each student, Velcro to attach each race car, one stopwatch for every two children, multiple copies of In The Big Top and Charlie (enough of each book for every two children) (both books should be marked with pencil after every ten words so that the children can count the words), pencils
Procedure: 1.Direct the students to look at the marker board. Read the sentence slowly and then quickly, pointing out the difference in reading. "It is very important for readers to read quickly and smoothly. If we read quickly and smoothly, two things happen as we read: our reading sounds nice and we can understand what we read better. Also, our reading becomes more fun and enjoyable! Watch me. I am going to show you how my reading becomes more and more fun as I read more fluently and smoothly. I am going to read a sentence one time just like a beginning reader would, and then I am going to read it again like a really good reader would read it. Listen to how different the two sentences sound. W-e loa-d-e-d o-n th-e b-u-s a-f-t-e-r s-ch-oo-l. That didn't sound natural, did it? That's because I wasn't reading quickly and smoothly. Listen again. We loaded on to the bus after school. The sentence sounded better that time, didn't it? What did I do the second time that helped the sentence sound right and make more sense?" (Answer: I read more quickly and smoothly.)
2.Pair the students into groups of two. Be sure to pair them off homogenously so that they can share a graph and be able to use the same book. Pass out paper with "My friends and I played baseball on Sunday afternoon." "Now I am going to pair you into groups of two. I am going to give the members of each group a sentence to work with. I want each of you to read the sentence out loud to your partner. Be sure to pay attention to the way it sounds the first time that each of you reads it. After you have read it out loud, I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself five times. Reading the sentence over and over will help it make more sense and sound better. It will also help you read faster. Then, read the sentence out loud to your partner again." (Allow them to complete the activity.) "Do you notice a difference from the first time that you read it aloud? What makes it sound better? (Answer: It is quicker and smoother.) Did it sound better when you read it the first time or the second time? (Answer: The second time.) Way to go!"
3.Pass out the stop watches, cardboard race tracks, cars, and various books. Instruct the students to conduct one minute reads, record the number of words they read, and move their cars accordingly. Each student will do four one minute reads. "Now we are going to practice reading with a real book. I am going to give each group a book to read. While one member of the group reads the book, the other will be the timer. The reader will be timed for one minute. If you are the reader, I want you to read as many words as you can. If you come to a word that you do not know, use the cover-up method to try to figure it out. If that does not work, ask your partner for help. I will walk around the room to help anyone who needs it. The reader will read for one minute four times. After each one minute read, the reader will record the number of words that they read and move their car to that number on the race track. Then they will draw a star above their car. The stars will allow you to tell how much faster you read each time. I bet that your car will get farther and farther up the track with each reading that you do! Then you will switch so that the timer gets a chance to race to read!"
Assessment: Once everyone has finished reading four times I will ask the students to be sure that their names, the date, and the title of the book they read are on their race track charts. Then, the students will turn them in. I will assess the children by looking at their progress charts. The chart will show each student's beginning and ending point and will be turned in for me to evaluate. I will let the children take the books home to show their families how well they read. Also, the class could discuss the two books to make sure that each student comprehends the material.
Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holisitc Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. pp. 122-145
In The Big Top. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Educational Insights.
Vaughan, Richard. Charlie. New Zealand, Scholastic, 1990. 24.
Williams, Andrea. Start Your Engines! http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/connect/williamsgf.html
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