1, 2, 3...Blast OFF

Growing Independence and Fluency

Ellen Battles


Rationale: To read fluently, a student must read quickly, smoothly, and expressively. Word Recognition must be automatic for students to comprehend what they read. If word recognition is automatic, reading becomes an enjoyable activity for a student. In order to become automatic in word recognition, students should read and re-read connected decodable texts. The more exposure a student has to a specific text, the more fluent they become. In this lesson, students will learn how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively in order to gain fluency.  Students will do this through repeated readings and one minute reads.



1. Sentence strip with "Next summer we will go to the beach." written on it.

2. Individual pieces of paper with the sentence, "My dog loves to go on walks in the park." and a corresponding picture on them.

3. Large picture of stars for each student (progress chart). There will be a trail of Velcro so the students can move their rocket to how many words per minute they read. The chart will also be labeled in increments of ten to a hundred.

4. Velcro to stick on the back of the rockets.

5. Rockets for each student (with Velcro on the back) to go on progress chart

6. One stopwatch for every two children

7. Multiple copies of In the Big Top and Bud the Sub(enough copies for  one book per two children). Both books will be marked with pencil after every five words sot that the children can count the words quickly.

8. Pencils for each child



1. Ask the students to look at the sentence strip. The teacher will read the sentence slowly and then quickly. "I am going to read a sentence twice and I want you to see if you notice anything that is different the second time I read it. Here we go. (read) N-e-xt  s-u-mm-er  w-e  w-i-ll  g-o  t-o  th-e b-ea-ch. Great job. Now listen again. (read) Next summer we will go to the beach. Raise your hand if you can tell me how the two sentences sounded different from each other. That's right. The first time I read it very slowly and it was not very interesting or fun was it. The second time I read it faster and it sounded much better. The way I read the sentence the second time is the way fluent readers read. It is very important for readers to read quickly and smoothly. When we read quickly and smoothly, two things happen: our reading sounds exciting and we can understand what we can read better. Also, our reading becomes more fun and interesting.

2. Place the students into groups of two. The groups will be homogeneous so that they can share a graph and be able to use the same group. Pass out paper with "My dog loves to go on walks in the park". Now I am going to put you into groups of two. Each group is going to get a sentence to read. I want each person to read the sentence out loud to their partner. Remember to pay attention to the way it sounds the first time that each of you reads it. After you have read it out loud, I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself five times. Reading the sentence over and over will help it make more sense, sound better and you will be able to read it faster each time. Once you have read it to yourself five times, I want you to read the sentence to your partner again. (allow time for students to do activity) "Did you notice a difference from the first time that you read it out loud? What made it sound better? Which time did it sound better, first or second?

3. Pass out stopwatches, rockets, star progress chart and books to each group. Instruct students to conduct one-minute reads, record the number of words they read, and move their rockets according to the numbers on the progress chart. Each student will do four one-minute reads. "Okay boys and girls, now each group is going to practice using a real book. When one person is reading a book, the other person will time them using the stopwatch. The reader will be timed for one minute. If you are the reader, I want you to read as many words as you can during one minute. If you get to a word that you do not know try and use your cover up strategy to help you figure it out. (model how to use cover ups) If cover ups do not help, ask your partner to help you. I will walk around and help anyone who needs it. The reader will read for one minute four different times. After each one minute read, the reader will record the number of words they read on their log and move the rocket on their chart. There will be numbers along the side to help guide them. The goal is to move your rocket closer to the stars and finally reach the stars. Then you will switch and the other person will get a chance to read.


Assessment: When every group has finished, the students will turn in their completed progress chart. It needs to have the student's name and date on it somewhere. I will assess the student's by looking at their progress charts. The chart and log will show each student's beginning and ending point which will allow me to see the improvement.  

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

In the Big Top. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Educational Insights.

Cushman, S. (1990). Bud the Sub. Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, California: Educational Insights.

Davis, H. (2006). Get Ready to Race. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/davisgf.html

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