Reading Racecar

Leslie Chasteen

Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale:  After becoming familiar with letters and their sounds such as long and short vowels in words and the, students should begin to learn how to read more quickly and independently.  This lesson will assist students with becoming more fluent readers through one-minute reads. Students will also learn to better decode difficult words when reading.



Stop watch

Copies of Little Miss Spider (by David Kirk Scholastic Press, 1999)

Racecar shaped time sheet with name, date, and number of words read per minute three times.



 I.                   Introduce the lesson and explain what fluency is and how it is important when we read. Review what makes a good reader and explain that fluent readers read smoothly and quickly. Remember that when we decode a word we cover up part of it and sound out each part (either phonemes or syllables) of the word as  we uncover  each  part.

II.                Model how the lesson will work by setting a timer and reading some of a book and then writing down how many words are read. Read a few sentences from a book and ask students how your reading changed each time.  Did you  notice how the more that  read the  same sentences my reading became  smoother and a  slightly  faster.

III.             Tell the students that today we are going to read a book a few times and see how many words that we can read in one minute. Students will pair up. I will set the timer and one student will read while the other monitors as a “reading buddy.” When one minute is has passed, the reader will keep their finger where they stopped and count how many words were read and write how many. The students do not have to share with their partner how many words that they read (The teacher will monitor as the students read to assure that they are not skipping word and attempting to decode unfamiliar difficult words, and the teacher will monitor the students as they count the number of  words read). Students should be reminded that this is not a competition and it is not important who read more words.

    IV.             The assessment will be based on the time sheets and how many words the students read. It will be informal and based on progression.


Tippett, Dorsey. Growing Independence and Fluency: Race to the Finish Line!


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