Read with Speed!

Allison Cox

In order for a child to read fluently he or she should be able to read faster and smoother than when they first started to read.  When a child is able to decode words automatically and effortlessly reading becomes a much more enjoyable experience for them.  The way to accomplish this is for the child to read and reread decodable words in a connected text.  The more children work with a particular piece of text, the more fluent the text becomes to them.  This lesson will help children learn how to read faster and more smoothly.


Board with the sentence “Today the kids in my class run and swing on the playground.”

Strips of paper with the sentence “The baseball game was fun to watch this weekend.” (enough for everyone in the class).

A cardboard cut out of a mountain and a cut out of a hiker

A stopwatch for every two students

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


  1. Today we will begin by discussing how important it is to be able to read smoothly and quickly. This makes reading more fun, and it also helps us to gather the whole meaning of the story or text that we are reading. I am going to read this sentence through one time, pretending like I am a beginning reader. I want you to notice how it is hard to listen to when I read it this way. “To-day-the k-id-s i-n my c-l-a-ss r-un a-n-d sw-i-ng on th-e pl-a-y-gr-ou-n-d.” That sounds awfully slow, doesn’t it? Now listen again and notice how I read it differently. “Today the kids in my class run and swing on the playground.” What do you notice that is different?
  2. Now I am going to let you work with a partner. I am going to give each pair a strip of paper with a sentence on it (The baseball game was fun to watch this weekend.). Read the sentence out loud to each other. Then read the sentence silently to yourself five times. Then once you have read it to yourself five times, you can read it to your partner again. Notice how your reading improved the second time you read it aloud. What was different? Great Work!
  3. Now we are going to try working with a real book. I am going to give each pair a copy of the book that we are reading (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day). Then while one of you reads, the other is going to take this stopwatch and time you for one minute. You will read as many words as you can in that one minute. If you come to a word that you don’t know you can either use the cover up method that we have practiced or read the rest of the sentence to help you figure out the word. We are going to take turns and see how many words each of you get in the first minute. Then we will do it again to see if you get any more words the second time through.
  4. After one minute you will count how many words you have read and then move your hiker up the mountain to the number that you have reached. Mark your progress with a marker, so that you can see how your hiker climbs higher each time you read.

Assessment:  I will assess the students by looking at their progress chart.  They will mark on the track where they began and where they ended and turn it in for me to evaluate.


Viorst, Judith.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Alladin Book, 1987.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd. Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. pp. 122-145.


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