Let's Learn to Read Faster!
Laura Lansdon
Growing Independency and Fluency

Rationale:  As beginning readers, children spend most of their time and effort on decoding words.  Their reading is usually slow and labored.  This affects their comprehension of the material they are reading.  In order for children to be able to better comprehend what they are reading, they must become more fluent.  This lesson works on increasing the speed of children's reading to that they can increase their fluency.

Materials: several decodable books from the Phonics Readers series (or other decodable book series), stopwatches for every two children in the class, Reading Log Sheet
Ex. Let's Read Fast!
      Name: _____________
      Book: ______________
      First reading:_______ wpm
      Second reading: ______wpm
      Third reading: ______wpm

Procedure:
1. Teacher will begin the lesson by telling students that they are going to learn to read faster.  Explain that this will help them better understand what they are reading.  Also tell them that reading faster helps make the story more interesting.  Using any book teacher will read a few pages in a very slow, choppy manner and then in a faster, more fluent and expressive manner.  Ask children, "Which way would you rather listen to a story being read?"  Be sure to tell them that everyone does not read fast easily--it takes practice.

2.  Review cross-checking procedures with students.  Write this sentence on the board: John has a red jacket. Then read the sentence this way: John has a rud jacket.  Ask students, "Does that sentence make sense the way I read it?" When students say no, give them some examples of ways to figure out what the word should be.  Examples could include looking at the picture for clues, decoding the word, and looking at the sentence before and after it to see if there are clues about what word it should be.  Explain to students that it does not help to read faster if they are not reading accurately.

3.  After practice in cross-checking procedures, the teacher should pull out the decodable books for students. Give book talks for some of the books to get students more interested. Tell students that they are going to pair up and practice reading the fast way to each other.  Model reading the slow, choppy way and fast, fluent way one more time for students using one of the decodable books.

4. Put students into pairs and pass out books, Reading Log Sheet, and stopwatches.  Say to students, "You are going to practice reading to each other.  Each of you will read the book once through for practice.  Be sure to use your cross-checking procedures and help each other with words you donât know.  Then you are going to read the book again to each other and you're going to time each other to see how many words you read per minute.  I'll show you how to do that."  Ask a student to get a stopwatch and time you for one minute while you read one of the decodable books.  At the end of a minute, show students that they will count up the words they read.  Tell them that they goal of this lesson is to reach 85 words per minute.

5. Allow students time to read to each other.  Walk around the room and monitor their reading during this time to be sure everyone understands what they are doing.  Give them enough time to be sure everyone has read the book at least twice and has recorded their times.  Next tell students to look at their worksheets and see how their times improved with each new reading.  Let them have a short discussion time with their partners to see what improved as they began reading faster.

6.  For assessment, have students bring their books to you and record their timed readings.  For students who are struggling to meet the goal of 85 words per minute, allow them to practice reading the book to you one more time before you record their time.

References: http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/fluency.html
                    http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/burnsgf.html

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Questions? Email me: lansdle@auburn.edu