1, 2, 3 . . . Go Speed Reader!


Growing Independence and Fluency Design

Bailey Taylor


Rationale:  Students must become fluent readers to learn how to read quickly, effortlessly, and with expression.  Fluent reading is a student’s ability to read words correctly and automatically.  Word recognition must also be automatic in order for students to comprehend text and become fluent readers.  Reading and re-reading decodable text helps students achieve automatic word recognition.  This lesson gives instructions on how to help students learn and develop how to read quickly, automatically and with expression by listening to oral reading and rereading passages.  Students will practice in strengthening their ability to read fluently.


Materials: A stopwatch for each pair of students; a copy of The Doorbell Rang for each student; fluency chart for each student (the chart will have on one side of the paper a column going up to the top where a big red and white striped hat that the cat wears, along the columns will be numbers counting up representing words per minute, and at the bottom of the chart will be "the cat" from the story); red, blue, and yellow crayons for each pair of students; white board; dry erase markers



1.     Start the lesson by explaining that in order to become a successful reader, you have to be able to read fluently.  Say, "Fluent reading is when you are able to read so fast that you do not have to stop to sound out each word.  It is when you recognize words automatically without even trying."  When students become fluent, they begin to enjoy reading because it makes sense to them and they can actually comprehend what they are reading.  "One way for us to improve our fluency is by reading a text more than once, called rereading.  Each time you reread a certain text, you read it faster each time because you start to become more and more familiar with that text.  We are all going to practice this strategy and see how much we can improve our reading fluency."

2.   Write a sentence on the board about a dog.  "I have a small cute dog that is very fluffy and has a short tail."  Next, review and explain the steps in decoding.  Say, "What do I do if I do not know a word?  Right, I will start by using the cover-up method.  Let’s try it together with the word dog.  Notice the word dog in the sentence on the board."  Using the white board, write the steps down on the board showing an example, "First we would find the vowel in the word, which is the letter o, and cover everything else.  The letter o makes the /o/ sound.  Then we would uncover the beginning of the word, d, which makes the /d/ sound.  So we blend those two sounds which creates /do/.  Then we uncover the rest of the word, which is the letter g making the /g/ sound.  Blend all the sounds together to read the word dog.  Now let’s read the sentence on the board and see if the word dog makes sense and if our method of using cover-ups worked.  The word dog does make sense in this sentence!"

3.   Write the sentence "I had fun at the zoo."  "Next I am going to read this sentence on the board to you.  The first time I read it, I will read it without fluency, and then I will reread the sentence fluently."  Demonstrate by reading the sentence slowly and disconnected, "I h-a-d f-u-n a-t th-e z-oo."  "Did you notice how I got stuck on some words and had to think of each sound the letters make?  Were you able to understand me easily?  It is hard to understand and comprehend what someone is reading if they are not fluent.  This happens a lot when we begin to learn to read.  The more we read the same words, the better we become at recognizing them automatically.  Now I am going to read it this time without getting stuck on any words."  Read the sentence quickly and with fluency, "I had fun at the zoo."  Which time sounded better?  Which reading was faster and more fluent?  Correct, the second one.  The second time you could also understand the sentence better because I did not have to pause and focus on figuring out what the words say.  I could also understand the second time better because I could focus on the meaning of the words, rather than the pronunciation.  Reading fluently is what we are practicing today."

4.   Partner students into partners.  Hand out a copy of The Doorbell Rang to every student.  This is a story about a mom who makes cookies for her children.  Each time the doorbell rings, more and more people come and want cookies.  Will they have enough cookies for everyone?  We will have to read and see!  "Each time you read a passage, you become more familiar with it and can read it better.  I am going to read the first few pages three times to demonstrate how fluency improves with repeated readings."  The first time you read the passage, read it slowly and make it difficult for students to understand.  The second time, read it better, and on the third time read it fluently and with expression.  "Could you see the difference each time I read the text?  Each time I read, I read better and better and it become quicker and easier to understand.  Now I want you and your partner to read the whole story together.  Partner 1 will read one page, and then Partner 2 will read the next page.  Continue to take turns while reading the entire book."

5.   "Now that you have read the book all the way through again.  Take turns reading the book like last time."  The teacher should walk around and observe the students while they are reading and take notes.  If some students are done reading before you observe them, pick out a passage and ask them each to reread that part in the story to you.

6.   Pass out a stopwatch to each pair of students, a chart with the numbers to each student, and a red, blue, and yellow crayon to each pair of students.  "We are going to play a game that I bet none of you have ever played before, so make sure you each listen closely.  One person at a time in each pair will read for one minute.  The other partner will be timing the person using a stopwatch.  When the timer goes off, the read will stop reading immediately.  Then the partner with the stopwatch will count the number of words the reader read in the one minute.  Graph that number on the reader’s chart.  So look at the numbers and color with the crayons up to that line.  This will keep up with the number of words you read each time.  Then you will switch and the other partner will read while the other times one minute."  The teacher should demonstrate in front of the class how to graph the one-minute reads using the chart given.  "You will each read 3 times, and graph the numbers on the chart.  Whenever the number goes up, just add on to the chart.  The first time each of you read, track it with the red crayon, the second read should be marked using the blue crayon, and the third read should be marked with the yellow crayon.  If any of you get done early, I want you to continue reading the story for more practice."

7.   For assessment, the teacher will collect all of the graph sheets and calculate each of the student’s words they read per minute.  The teacher will make a chart for each student with the information collected so that they can continue to improve on their fluency.  The teacher will have each student come up individually and ask questions about the book to see if they actually understood and comprehended the text they read while trying to improve their reading fluency.



Falls, Jennifer.  "Go, Go Speed Reader!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/fallsgf.html


Hutchins, Pat.  "The Doorbell Rang."  Mulberry Books: 1986.


Cleveland, Kari.  "Ready . . . Set . . . Read!" http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/passages/clevelandgf.html


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