On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!

Growing Independence and Fluency
Jordan Orso

Rationale:   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.

 Materials:  Marker board with the sentence "The school bell rang and we all packed our bags to go home."  written on it, individual pieces of paper with the sentence (My dad and I went to the park to play a game of baseball) written on it, a piece of cardboard with a track drawn on it for each student, a small cutout of a runner, one stopwatch for every two children, several different books of different reading levels (i.e Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst), pencils.


1. Let's begin by talking about how important it is for readers to read both quickly and smoothly.  Not only does it sound better when we read this way, but it also helps us to make more sense of what we are reading.  This means that the stories are more interesting and fun to read.  Let me show you.  I am going to read a sentence one time through just like a beginning reader would and then I am going to read it again like a really good reader would read it.  Listen closely to the difference.  "Th-e s-ch-oo-l b-e-ll r-a-n-g a-n-d w-e a-ll p-a-ck-ed ou-r b-a-g-s t-o g-o h-o-me.".  That didn't sound quite right did it?  Now let me read it again.  Notice my speed this time. "The school bell ran and we all packed our bags to go home."  That sounds much better doesn't it.  What are some things that I did differently in the second sentence than in the first sentence?
2. Now I want you to get into groups of two.  I am going to give you each a sentence to work with (My dad and I went to the park to play a game of baseball).   I want you to read the sentence through for the first time out loud to each other.  Listen to the way that it sounds the first time that you read it. Then I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself at least five times through.   Reading the sentence repeatedly will help you with your speed.  Then I want you to read the sentence again out loud to your partner.  Notice how different it sounds this time.  What makes it sound better?  Did it sound better when you read it fast or slow?  Great job!!!
3. Now let's try this with a real book!  I am going to give each group a book to read.  While one of you reads the book the other one is going to be the timer.  You will be timed for one minute.  Read as many words as you can.  If you come to a word that you donât know, use the cover up method to try to figure it out.  If you still canât figure it out look at the rest of the sentence.  If that doesn't work, ask your partner for help.  I will also be walking around to help you.  We are going to do this several times so that you can become a faster and faster reader!
4. After one minute is up you will count how many words you read and place your runner on that number on the track.  Then you will switch and your partner will do the same thing.  Before you start all over, make a star with your pencil on your track on the first number of words that you read so that we can see how much faster you are getting.  I bet after a couple of times reading the book, your runner will get farther and farther on the track.  Let's see· On your mark get set 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.

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

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/illum/shirleygf.html (Illuminations; The Reading Race by Brandi Shirley)

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/stewartgf.html (Openings; Ready, Set ,Read by Christi Stewart)

http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/openings/onealgf.html (Openings; Practicing Smarter Not Harder is Best by: Leslie S. O'Neal)

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

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