Running the Race of Reading


Megan Kuenzli

Students must not only learn to read, but also learn to read with consistency, fluency, and expression.  This lesson will allow students to improve these qualities using three one-minute reads to monitor their progress. 


- Stopwatches (one for each pair of students)

- Class set of Fox on Stage

- Class set of One-Minute Read chart (see below)

- Class set of Fluency Rubric (see below)

- Class set of Cover-Up Crittters

- Poster with Rube took the tube from Stu.

- Poster with the word huge

- Progress Chart for each student (Runner trying to get to the finish line)

- Book Frog and Toad

- Pencils 


1. “Today we are going to talk about reading with fluency.  When you read fluently, the book is read smoothly and with expression.  By doing this, you can understand what you are reading better.  Just think of reading as running a race, the runner must run fast and steady to win the race.

2. “It is easier to read fluently when you have seen the words before.  Read this sentence to yourself.” [Show sentence poster] “If you have never seen the words before, you might read like this: Rrrruuubbbeee tttoookkk theee tttuuubbbe fffrrrooomm Ssstttuu.  The second time you might a little faster and smoother.  Read it again out loud with me.  Rrube ttook the tuuube from Sttu.  The third time you might read very smooth and a little faster.  Rube took the tube from Stu.”  Perfect!”

3. “If there is a word you don’t know, you can cover it up.” [Pass out cover up critters] “Let’s use this word.” [Show huge poster] “First, cover up everything but the vowels. (h, and g) We know that u_e = /U/, so the vowel says /U/.  Next, uncover the first part of the word and add it to the vowel: /hU/.  Finally, add the last letter: /hUg/…huge.”

4. [Pass out the books, stopwatches, one-minute read sheets, fluency rubrics, and divide the students into pairs]  “Now, with your partner, read the book Fox on Stage.  Fox’s grandmother fell on the ski slope. Fox wanted to cheer his grandma up. He made a video, to find out if grandma enjoyed it, we’ve got to read!  One partner will read it aloud while the other uses the stopwatch to time them to see how many words they read in one minute.  The partner will read it three times and then switch and the other will read it three times.  Make sure to record your answers on the sheet.  After you have both read, use the fluency rubric to see if your partner read faster, smoother, with more expression, or remembered more words when the read it the second and third time.” [Model how to do this] 

After the students finish, call each student up so they can read you a passage from Frog and Toad.  Use the progress chart to record how many words they read in one minute.  Also take a running record to record their miscues.  This will help to have a record of the students for parents and administration. 


Reading Genie Developing Reading Fluency


Marshall, James. Fox on Stage. Puffin Books. 1993


Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad are Friends. Harper Collins Publishers. 1979


Jernigan, Katelyn. Rocket Reading.       

One Minute Read Chart:

Name __________________________________

Date ___________________________________

1st Minute ______________________________

2nd Minute ______________________________

3rd Minute ______________________________

Fluency Chart:

I noticed that my partner...

After 2nd          After 3rd Reading

_______          _______    Remembered More Words

_______          _______    Read Faster

_______          _______    Read Smoother

_______          _______    Read with More Expression


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