Reading Race Against Time
by Beverly Easterling
Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:    The purpose of this lesson is for students to increase the speed of their reading.  To keep from making mistakes, students read slow and monotonously.  When students learn to vary the rates of speed in which they read, then they will be able to comprehend the text more.  Repetitive reading can help students learn to read faster. This lesson will help evaluate and improve on this skill.

Materials:  The book:  "Olivia Lee" by Sara Appleby, King's Publishing Company (one for each child), stop-watches (1 per 2 children), large manual clock with a rabbit hole on each hour, small toy rabbits for each child, chart for teacher to record pervious times, and pencils.  Use the chart paper to map out WPM  (in sequences of 25).  This lesson will help students rate their reading speed and also helps them keep track of their improvement.

Procedures:  1.  Review the correspondence I=/i/ so that this will be familiar when reading the text.  This will be done by a simple worksheet activity for that letter.
2. Introduce the lesson by giving a book talk on "Olivia Lee".  "Have you ever wished that just for one day everything would go right and nothing would go wrong?  Well, this is an exciting book about a rabbit names Olivia Lee that has horrible days all the time.  She is clumsy and it seems that everything she does messes up.  To make matters worse, Olivia Lee is a slow bunny and the others are furiously fast.  Her brothers and sisters move with such speed that she decides to not run at all anymore.  She mopes around until one day when she decides that she is going to run in a race.  She goes to her rabbit hole and looks at the map for the race and decides that she is going to win!  Do you think that she will make it to the final rabbit hole first?  Do you think that if she does win she will then have a terrific day?  Lets read and find out!"
3. Read the first page of the book to the class very slow and in a boring tone.
4. Ask the students what I should do to make the story more exciting.  Make a list on the board of all their helpful hints.  Explain to them that when the book was introduced, it sounded exciting because of the way I said it, but when I read it aloud, it sounded boring.
5. Explain to the class that it can make the book hard to read if you read too slowly and without expression.  Reread the first page, this time at a faster pace and with a lot of expression.  Have the students discuss the differences.
6. Introduce the Reading Race Clock and give each student a toy rabbit.  On each hour of the big clock there will be a rabbit hole and those are goal points for the students to read.  In stead of using each hour as the set time, use the hour times as minutes.  Place the students in groups of twos and have them time their partner and count the number of words read in each minute.  Demonstrate this procedure for the class by having a student time one minute of your reading with expression and have your time recorded.
7. Let the students reread the book two or more times recording how many words per minute they read each time.
8. For assessment, compare the first and last reading times and chart any improvements.  If time permits, have them read normal sentences with a lot of speed and expression.

Reference:  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/ilum/buckgf.html  (Lauren Buck, Auburn University Student.)