Rocket Reading

By Christine MacPherson                


Rational: Once children have learned letter recognition and decoding skills, they can really begin to focus on becoming faster, more fluent readers. Fluent readers are able to comprehend the text they are reading very well, and comprehension is the ultimate goal in reading! Fluent readers recognize words automatically, read smoothly and quickly, and read with expression. This lesson will improve readers‚ fluency through repeated readings, one-minute read, and timed readings.





1.   Begin the lesson by congratulating the children on their current decoding skills. Review how decoding unfamiliar words works. Write the word „flashš on the chalkboard. "To decode this word, we would start off with a=/a/. We would then add the first letter f=/f/ and l=/l/. Blending these sounds together says /fla/. Add sh=/sh/ to the end and we have fla-sh or flash." Explain to children how decoding unfamiliar words is important and then explain how eventually they will want to recognize most words really fast without having to decode them.


2.   Demonstrate how repeated reading can lead to fluency. Write the sentence "Bob will shear the sheep today" on the chalkboard. Read the sentence to the class by decoding the first time. Read the sentence a little more smoothly the second time. Read the sentence very smoothly the third and final time.

First time: Bobe- Bob w-will ea shea shear the ee shee sheep to today.

Second time: Bob will sheep shear the shee sheep today.

Third time: Bob will shear the sheep today.


3.     "See how much better my reading got as I repeated the sentence? Now we are going to practice repeated readings with a partner." Split the children into pairs and hand each pair a stopwatch, time chart, and a copy of Polly's Shop. Hold up a copy of the book and give a brief book talk. „Polly has a shop. This is Polly and this is her shop. Polly‚s shop is all mixed up. Nothing is where it is supposed to be. Look at how confused the customers are. What is going to happen to Polly and her shop? Will anyone want to shop there? We will have to read Polly‚s Shop to find out.š Tell the children to read the book three times and to take turns reading with their partner after each turn. Tell the children to time their partner when they are not reading and to record the time on the time chart. Explain how to use the stopwatch.


4.   Tell the children to come up and get a paper rocket when they are finished repeated readings. Ask each child to bring up his or her time sheet and rocket up to your desk. This will be done one at a time for one-minute reads. Children that are not participating in one-minute reads will be decorating their rockets. Each child will come up and read Polly's Shop for one minute while you record their progress on a teacher‚s chart sheet. „Can I see your time sheet? Wow you really improved your reading today. Look at the difference between how long it took you to read the book the first time and how long it took you to read it the last time. Good job. Now go put your rocket on the launch pad so it can begin its mission to the moon of fluent reading!š


5. Assessment of the children‚s fluency will come from the one-minute reads. Children should have practiced a lot during the three readings of Polly‚s Shop, and the one-minute reads should accurately evaluate the child‚s fluency progress for the lesson. The assessment should involve checking to see how far the children get in the book, how smoothly they read the book, and how automatic they are while reading the book.



 Daniel, Collier. Vroom, Vroom, Vroom! Off we Go! Reading Genie Website 2007.


Grout, B. Polly‚s Shop. Modern Curriculum Press, 1996.





Chart Examples

                     Repeated Reader Progress Chart

Name:________________    Date:__________

1st time:____

2nd time:____

3rd time:____


          One-Minute Read Chart

Name: ________________         Date: ________________ 


                       Assessment                                                            Comments

How far did student get in book?

How smooth was the child‚s reading?

How automatic was child‚s reading?


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