Carmen Thrower
Growing Independence
 

Reading Speedway

Rationale:  The goal of this lesson is for the students to learn how to read faster.  As students master decoding skills, they need to turn their attention to mastering the ability to read fluently while not forgetting comprehension.  Fluent readers read faster, smother, and more expressively.  By reading and rereading the text, students can learn to read faster.  This lesson will help to assess and improve this skill.

Materials:  two copies of several decodable books (The books should be on students independent reading level.  Have the students read a page of the book and hold up one finger for every word they do not know.  If they have more than two fingers up at the end of the page, they should find another book.), stopwatches (1 per 2 children), large poster with racetrack with Velcro on divisions, a paper racecar with Velcro for each child, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, paper, pencils

Procedure:
1. Has anyone ever gone to a racetrack or seen one on TV?  (Listen to responses.)  Do the cars on the racetrack go slow or fast?  (Listen to responses.)  Today we are going to practice reading fast like racecars.
2. Why would we want to read fast?  I will give you an example.  Read first page of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" every slow.  Now what could I do to improve my reading?  (Make a list of the students' suggestions.)  One way the class said was to read faster and that is what we are going to work on today.  The way we are going to do that is by reading the same book over and over.  I know that sounds boring but the more familiar you are with the words of the book, the faster you will be able to read them.  While we are speed-readers today, we need to make sure that we do not forget about comprehension.  Even though we are reading fast, we want to make sure we understand the book.
3. I want everyone to split up in pairs.  (Pass out stopwatches to each group and the books.)  Now I want one person to read for one minute.  His/Her partner is going to time them with their stopwatch and tell the person when to stop.  Then the two people will go back and count how many words they read in that minute.  Next I want you to record your answer on a sheet of paper.  The groups are going to continue taking turns reading until I say time is up.  Does anyone have any questions?  (Answer any questions the students may have.)  On your mark, get set, go.  (Give the students enough time to read and reread the text.  Walk around the class and monitor the students.)
4. Introduce the Reading Speedway and pass out the cars to the students.  Tell them to put their car on the highest number of words they got in a minute today.  Explain how everyday we are going to work on reading faster.  Everyday you will have a chance to move your racecar up if your number of words increases.
5. Allow the students time on their own to reread the book.
6. For assessment, take up the sheets of paper where the students recorded the number of words they could read.  Compare the first and last readings.  Also walk around to the students and ask them questions about their book to make sure they are still using their comprehension skills.

References:
"Reading Racetrack" By:  Lauren Buck
The Reading Genie ­ www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/buckgf.html

Carle, Eric.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Philomel Books:  1969.

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For further information, send e-mail to throwcr@auburn.edu.