On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

Rationale: When children are learning to read, their main focus is on decoding. As they master decoding skills they need to turn their attention to mastering the ability to read fluently and not forget comprehension. Children learn to read fluency by reading and re-reading books. Being able to read with speed and accuracy gives children the confidence to complete the master harder books. This is also good for children in the social aspect. In this lesson we will get a lot of practice by reading and re-reading multiple books and seeing how quickly we can do it. We will not leave out comprehension. We will discuss the story after reading.

Materials: paper and pencil, stopwatch, multiple copies of a "Ed and Fred Flea" from B.B. Comer Memorial Public Library in Sylacauga.

1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that we have been working on decoding skills so far and now that we are getting better at it we are going to work on something a little different.  We are going to learn to read fluently.  This means that we are going to read books faster and we are going to do it without picking our sentences apart.  We are going to read smoothly while learning what the book is all about.  Before we begin practicing this, letís review what we do if we donít know a word.  If you donít know how to say a word remember to cover up the first part of the word and see if you can get the middle part.  Then try the beginning part and add both parts together.

2. Now we are going to begin working on how fast we can get this done, and still get it correct. This is going to be so much fun!  Who likes to race?  Thatís what we are going to do today. We are going to read the same book over and over many times. This is the way that we can increase speed.  Go over the book and do a book talk.  ďThis book is about two fleas the are best friends.  Letís read this book to find out what these two get into.Ē  This way the students will be really excited to see what the story is about.  You can also pick out some words that the students may have trouble with and model them to the students.

3. I am going to read the book first, and I want you to read it to me. (This way they will be less nervous if they see the teacher does it first) I am going to let the student of the week hold the stopwatch for me.  I am going to read silently for one minute and see how many pages I get read. Let me know when the minute is up.  Tell the students how many pages you got through and challenge them to read more than you do.

4. Hand out the pencils and paper and the multiple copies of the books on the kidsí independent level.  Explain to the kids that now they are going to read silently while you time them for one minute.  Then theyíll try the same story for three minutes.  You will record how many pages you read for each time interval.  Who ever reads the most pages gets to be my student of the week next time.

5. Now do not begin reading until I say go.  Then when I say stop I want everyone to stop reading and all eyes should look up at me.  First, we will read for one minute. On your mark, get set, GO.  Watch as they read to make sure they are actually reading.  Stop, all eyes on me. Now write down 1 minute on your paper and how many pages you read.  Model this on the board.  Now we will read for another minute.  Repeat the same procedure and then twice more for three minutes each.

6. After you finish, get the studentsí results so you can see who won and you can also save these for later for a math lesson on averaging or differences between one minute and three minutes readings.

7. (For those that did not get to read the end of the book allow a few minutes for them to do so. This way they will not be missing out on the comprehension of the story.) For assessment pass out more paper and get the children to write down the main characters in the book.  They will also need to write down what the story was about.  This is a good way to check their comprehension level.  Then have a class discussion about the story.

Reference: http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie

Ginger Howell
Growing Independence and Fluency

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