How Fast Does Your Boat Go?

Growing in Independence and Fluency
Sarah Lynn Cowart


Rationale:   Fluent readers read faster, smoother, and more expressively.  By reading and rereading, the students can learn to read faster. We will focus on the pace of the reader. This lesson will help to assess and improve this skill.

Bud the Sub (one for each student)
Stopwatches (1 per 2 children)
Large poster colored to represent the ocean
small paper boats with Velcro for each child
chart (for teacher use) to record their previous times

1. Review the correspondence u = /u/ so that this will be familiar when reading the text.  “Remember kids when we talked about our friend u. What sound does he make? That’s right /u/. Today we are going to speed up our reading.”
2. Introduce the lesson by giving a book talk on Bud the Sub.  “Bud is a Sub and has a friend named Gus that drives Bud around in the ocean. Gus is driving Bud in the ocean and all of the sudden they see a tug boat. Oh NO! Bud is on the way to hitting the tug. What is going to happen? Let’s read to find out if Bud will miss the tug. Will everyone be okay?”
3. “I am going to read for you part of Bud the Sub. I want you to listen to how I am reading.” Read the first page of the book to the student very slow and boring.  “Can you pay attention when I read books like this? No? “

4. Ask the students what you can do to improve your reading. “What can I do to improve my reading?” Make a list of all of their suggestions.  Explain to them that the way you talked about the book made it sound like a wonderful book, but the way you were reading it made it seem very boring.  “This book sounded like a great book when I first told you about it. When I started reading it sounded really boring because I wasn’t reading with fluency or expression.”
5. Explain to the students that it is hard to understand a book if you it too slowly and without expression.  Reread the first page, this time at a faster pace and with expression.  Get students to point out the differences.  “I am going to read the book a different way now. Listen and when I get finished I want you to tell me the differences from how I read it the first time.”
6. Introduce the Ocean Poster and pass out boats to the students.  “I have posters for all of you. We will be able to chart the number of words that we read by using this poster. Each of you will be paired up with a partner. When you get into pairs each of you will read while the other counts the number of words you can read in a minute. When you finish reading you partner will be able to move the boat up the ocean toward the shore. After each reading you should see how well you are doing and how many words you are reading per minute. I know you guys will be doing a great job.” Put the children into pairs and instruct them to time each other and count the number of words they read in one minute.
7. “You will each get a chance to read the book a second time to see how well you progressed.”  Allow students to reread the book two more times recording how many words per minute they read each time.
8. For assessment, compare the first to last reading and document any improvement.

Eldredge, J. Lloyd, (2005).  Teaching Decoding: Why and How. Prentice Hall Inc. p.160
 Lauren Buck. Reading Racetrack:

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