Speed Up!

By: Amanda Palmer


Rationale:  Being able to read fast is one of the most important ways to become a fluent reader. Repeated readings to help improve a student’s reading speed. A student will enjoy reading more when he or she becomes a fluent reader.



~Class set of decodable books, In the Big Top

~stop watch for every group

~Individual progress charts depicting a car speedometer with moving gauge needle.  The

speedometer will go up to 100 words per minute.  As the reading speed progresses the

needle on the speedometer will move up.

 ~One minute read charts for each child (Speed Record Sheet)

~Fluency rubric for each child


~Sentence strips for each group. (Kim had some fish for a snack.)

~Large teacher sentence strip.  (Jane and I will grill the fish.)


Speed Record Sheet

Name:________________           Date:__________


     1st time:______


    2nd time:______


    3rd time:______


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name:____________         Evaluator:____________         Date:___________


I noticed that my partner… (color in the circle)


After 2nd                         After 3rd


O                                    O                          Remembered more words


O                                    O                          Read faster


O                                    O                          Read smoother


O                                    O                          Read with expression




1. Today we are going to talk about how to become a fluent reader. To become a fluent reader, you must read smoother and faster. 

2. Listen to this sentence that I have on my sentence strip.  I am going to read it the way someone who is not a fluent reader would read it. “K-k-k-i-i-m-m h-h-ha-a-a-d-d a f-f-fi-i-i-sh-sh-sh f-f-o-o-or a s-s-s-n-n-a-a-ck-ck”.  That does not sound very good, does it? Now I am going to read it the way a fluent reader would read it. “Kim had a fish for a snack.” Can you tell the difference between the two?  ”The fluent reader has read the sentence already and can read it faster and smoother.”

3.  I would like for everyone to get into groups of two.  I am going to give each group their own sentence strip.  First, I want you to read it to your partner, and pay special attention to how it sounds.  Then, I want you to read it to yourself three times.  Then I want you to read it to your partner again.  Can’t you tell how much more fluent you are the second time you read to your partner?


4. Now I am going to pass out the book, In the Big Top, a stopwatch, a speed record sheet, and a chart to mark your speed.  I want one partner to set the stopwatch for one minute (model this for them), and I would like the other partner to read as much of In the Big Top as they can in one minute.  After you are through reading, count how many words you read in one minute and write the number down on your speed record sheet by the item that says first time and move the needle on your speed chart to the correct words per minute.  Now, the partner that read the first time gets to use the stopwatch while the other partner reads.

5.  After the first reading of the text is complete, pass put the fluency literacy rubric. Explain to the children that they fill in each circle after their partner reads the second and third time if their partner improved in that area.  After they are finished, each group needs to discuss the book to prepare for a class discussion.

6.  Assessment:  Take up the fluency literacy rubrics and the speed record sheets. Use these to compare how the students’ fluency progressed during the activity. The class will have a discussion of In the Big Top to assess comprehension of the book.



In the Big Top.  Educational Insights. 1990

Tucker, Hannah. Ready, Set, Go! http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/innov/tuckergf.html

Steiner, Leah.   Ready, Set, Read!!!  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/begin/steinergf.html