Ready, Set, Read!



Growing Independence and Literacy Lesson Design


Elizabeth Moats



            This lesson is designed to help the students learn to read faster through repeated readings of decodable text.  With practice, students will decrease the amount of frustration when they read by reading texts repeatedly.  If students are able to read faster, they will be able to spend less time on decoding and more time on trying to comprehend what they are reading.  As students learn to read more words automatically, they will begin to read more fluently.

            (Objective): The students will work on reading faster through repeated readings of decodable text.  The students will practice reading a story that they will be using during a reader’s theater activity.  The students will be timed to see how many words per minute they can read.



- Timer

- Edwards, M.  Chicken Man.  (1991).  Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, New York. (Enough copies for each student)

- Cowen-Fletcher, J.  It Takes a Village. (1994).  Scholastic, New York. 

- Reader’s Theater scripts for each part in Chicken Man.  The text will be written as a  script.  This is done by typing out the dialogue of each character next to that character’s name. 
For example:  CHICKEN MAN:  How are my chickens today? (Enough copies for each student)

- Pencil and paper for each student



1.  Begin the lesson by discussing the importance of being able to read text faster.  Let the students know that the faster they can read a text, the more they will understand what they are reading.  The faster they can read, the more time they have to spend on comprehension rather than decoding.  "Today we are going to read a story many times.  I will use a timer to see how many words you can read in one minute.  This is very important, because the faster we can read, the easier a story will be for us to understand.  You will need to practice reading the story so that you can read your part well during reader’s theater". 


2.  "Remember when we talked about crosschecking in order to figure out what a word was?  Well, we can use crosschecking to help us when we are trying to read faster.  If you just can’t seem to get a word, go ahead and finish the sentence.  After you finish the sentence, look back and see if the rest of the sentence might have given you some clues to tell you what the word is.  Let me show you how to do it.  I am going to read a sentence and use crosschecking when I come to a difficult word.  ‘The boy /r//i//d//s/…his bike to school.  Oh!  The boy rides his bike to school.’  I saw the word bike and it helped me see that rides would go in the sentence, not /rids/".


3.  "We are working on reading faster today, so when you read through the story each time, I want you to really focus on moving quickly through each sentence.  When you come to words that you do not know, don’t forget to use cover-ups and/or crosschecking to figure out the words.  The next time you read the story, you will be able to work on the hard words again".


4.  "I am going to read a sentence a few times, showing you how to read faster every time.  'I will /m//e//t/ ….no…../m//i//t/…you /outsid/…outside.'  I had trouble with some words, but maybe this time I will get faster.  I will look at the word outside to help me figure out some of the other words I had trouble with.  'I will meet you outside'.  See, I read the sentence faster that time, because I figured out the harder words the first time I read it.  The more times I read the story, the faster I will be able to read it".


5.  "I want everyone to read the first page of Chicken Man three times.  See if you can get faster each time you read.  Remember to use crosschecking or cover-ups with hard to read words".  (Give students five minutes to read through the first page three times).


6.   "First I want everyone to open up to the first page of Chicken Man.  When I start the timer, I want you to start reading silently to yourselves.  Try to read fast, and when I say stop, you will need to write down the word and page number you stopped on.  (Time students reading for one minute)  Now, I want everyone to read through the story one time.  When you are done, I want you to try to read it again, but faster this time.  Then, read the story a third time.  After you have read the story the third time, I want you to go back to the first page, and I will time you again for one minute.  See if you get further this time".  (Time students for one minute)


7.  "Now you are going to do reader's theater using Chicken Man.  Everyone will get a chance to read a character's part.  You will be given a script, and you should practice reading it like we just did, so that you will be able to read your part when it is time".  (Give students ten minutes to practice their parts, then have students participate in reader's theater.)


8.  Assess students by asking them to come to you one at a time.  Do timed one minute reads using It Takes a Village.  Have students read for one minute three times.  Take the middle score to see how many words they can read per minute.




Murray, B. A. The Reading Genie: Developing Reading Fluency.    <>

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