Farm Race


Growing Independence and Fluency

Courtney Smith


Fluency is essential in reading. In order for a student to read fluently they must learn to read fast, smoothly, and with expression. Students must be able to decode words automatically. One way to practice this is through one-minute reads. As students read a text and reread it, they become more fluent while reading the text. They also learn that fluency is important because less time is focused on figuring out the words and more time is placed on comprehending and enjoying the reading. In this lesson, the students will complete both one-minute reads and rereads to help them with fluency.



1.  Poster with sentence "We went to the farm and saw many 

     animals." written on it.

2.  Individual pieces of paper with sentence "At the farm I saw a horse, a

     cow, and  two chickens." written on each sheet.

3.  Chart with a farm scene on it for each student (charts should go up to hundred words       

     per minute

4.  Small cut-outs of 4 different animals (pig, cow, duck, horse) labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4

     for each student

5.  Tape to attach each animal

6.  One stopwatch for every two children

7.  Multiple copies of Duck on a Bike by David Shannon (enough of each book for

     every two children) (all books should be marked with pencil after every ten words

     so that the children can count the words)

8.  Pencils


1. Direct students to look at the poster with the sentence “We went to the farm and saw      many animals.” Explain how important it is to read fluently. “When we read we should read quickly and with expression. The words should be read automatically so we do not have to take extra time to figure them out. I am going to read this sentence two times and I want you to tell me which time I am reading fluently.” Read the sentence once like this: “Wwee……to……and……”. Reread the sentence like this: “We went to the farm and saw many animals”. “Which time did I read fluently? “Right, the second time is when it sounded better.” I read more effortlessly, rapidly and read with expression. This is what I want you to practice doing today so we can all become fluent readers.”

2. The students will be paired in groups of two according to reading ability. “I am going to give each person a sheet with a sentence on it. I want you to read the sentence to your partner the first time, right when you get it. Then I want everyone to read the sentence to themselves four times. After you have done this the words should be easier to read and you should be able to read with more expression. You then need to reread the sentence to your partner while they listen to see if you are reading more fluently. I will be walking around to see how everyone is doing.” Pass out the sheets with the sentence: "At the farm I saw a horse, a cow, and two chickens." Students will take a few minutes to complete the rereads to their partners. When they are finished ask: “Was it easier to read the sentence through the first time or the last time?” (Students should answer: last time). “Did you find that your partner read faster and with more expression the first time or last time?” (Students showed answer: last time). Good job! 

3. “Now we are going to read a book.  I will give each group a book to read and a stopwatch.”  “The book is called Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. This is Duck and he lives on a farm with all the other farm animals. Duck gets a crazy idea to ride a bike one day and rides past all the other animals who think he is crazy. After awhile several children leave their bikes out at the farm while they go inside. What do you think the animals will do? Will they ride the bikes too? You’ll be reading Duck on a Bike to find out.” Pass out the stopwatches and books to each group.  “One of you will start reading the book while the other times and then we will switch after we have recorded the results. Every line indicates ten words read to make it easier to count. The first readers will read for one minute. Readers, read as many words as you can in that time. If you come to a word you don’t know, try using the cover-up method by uncovering each letter at a time and sounding out the word. You can also read the whole sentence and come back to the word if that helps.  I will walk around to see how everyone is doing and to assist anyone who is having trouble with a word. I want each reader to be timed 4 times so we can see how much faster you are getting.”

4. Pass out the farm pictures and paper animals. “The timer will time for one minute and record the number of words read and then place the farm animal labeled #1 at that number on the farm. Place a new animal (#2, #3, then #4) by the new number of words read each time so you can see how much faster you are reading! After four times, you will switch and the reader will become the timer and do the same thing. Hopefully each time you will become faster and get the animals closer to the barn.”


After everyone has finished reading four times, the students will put their names on their farm sheets and turn them in along with their recorded times for each reading. I will assess the children by looking at their progress on the farm charts.  The chart will show each student's beginning and ending point and will be turned in for me to evaluate.


Reference: (Emily Irvin- Readign Race to     

the Farm)

Shannon, David. Duck on a Bike. Blue Sky Press, c. 2002. 20.

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