Stage of Growing Independence/Fluency
Angela Atkins

How Fast Can You Go?

Rationale:  The primary goal of reading instruction is for students to comprehend the text and read words rapidly and automatically.  In order for a student to do this he or she must first learn to decode words.  The purpose of this lesson is to teach students to read faster and more fluently by providing practice with pseudo words, reading, and re-reading books.  Students can better comprehend what they are reading if they do not read with a slow monotonous pace.  Fluent readers learn to read smoothly, with expression, and fast.

Tape players for each group, one tape for each book title that the students are allowed to pick from, different books for each group to choose from (have extra sets of books incase a group finishes early),  make sure the books that the students choose from have copies for everyone in their group, paper, pencil, chalk board, chalk.

1. Introduce the fluency lesson by explaining what it means to be a fluent reader and the steps they will take while working with their groups this week to help students to become more fluent readers.  "The word fluency means that you have the ability to read words fast and automatically."  "It is a good idea to go back and re-read what you have read until it sounds like "real" talk between you and another person."  "Cross checking is a tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read and to read more successfully."  "Can someone tell me what cross checking is?"  "Yes!"  "It means that you go back and re-read a sentence if it doesn’t make sense.
2. Now the teacher should explain that each student is to read as fast as they can without skipping any words or reading them incorrectly, and as accurately and fast as possible."  "Here is an example of a choppy reading that needs some practice."  "The c-a-a-t c-a-a-t-ch-ch-es the m-o-o-u-s-s-e." (Write this on the board).  Now I will re-read the sentence faster and more fluently.  "The cat catches the mouse.  This is what you will be working towards today.  "We want to try and read as many words as we can accurately, fast, and fluently."  This will help you enjoy what you are reading more because you will better be able to understand it.  Now split up into your groups and practice reading a sentence choppy first and then fluently.
3. Have students get into their groups and practice reading the sentence that you did both ways.

4. After students are in their groups and each person in the group has got a chance to practice reading choppy and fluently then allow each group to decide on a book and a tape together.  Each person in the group should get a copy of the book and share a tape.  If there is disagreement between members in the group remind them that this is a group effort and we are helping each other learn.  Also tell them that if their group finishes they can select another book.  Each group should listen to a recording of the selected reading and follow along in their books.
5. Next, have students practice reading for speed.  Give each group a stop watch and make sure they have something to write on to record how many words they read in a certain amount of time.  (Have listed on the board the different levels of achieved reading by how many words a minute they can read).  Example: 60 words a minute= super, 70 words a minute= excellent, etc.  Tell each group that they should time each other and should start out by reading one page at a time for timing purposes.  Let students take on different roles as they are reading or timing.  Make sure one at least one student is recording how many errors are made when a student reads, one student is using the stop watch to time the 1-minute read, and one person is counting the number of words they can read in a minute.
6. Depending on the students reading level you might want to challenge all groups or certain groups to practice reading more than one page.  If you see that a group is successfully completing the 1-minute read or 1-page read this is the time that you challenge them to reading 2 pages, then 3 pages, etc.
7. After all students have got a chance to practice and challenge themselves have each group discuss with each other what their book was about to make sure that they are comprehending what they read.  Let the groups know that they will be discussing with the class some of the interesting things they found in their book.  Hopefully this will have the students more prepared and interested in what they are reading.
8. Ask each group questions like, did you like the book?  What did you learn?  Did you learn anything new from this book?  (Make sure that all students infer with the class at least one answer to the questions above to make sure they are comprehending what they learn and not simply relying on their peers.)  Each student should at least have their own opinion on did they like the book and did you learn anything new from this book?

Resources: "Hitting a Homerun with Reading Speed"  Auburn University
 Adams, M.  (1990).  Beginning to Read:  Thinking and Learning about Print.  Illinois:  Center for the Study of Reading.  88-94.  Speedy Gonzalez!  Fluent Readers, Lauren Lewis.

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