Running for Reading


Growing Independence and Fluency

Allison McDonald


Rationale:  Children are able to read fluently once they can learn to decode words effortlessly and automatically.  When children read fluently, they can enjoy reading more.  Helping children learn to read fluently involves practice reading and rereading text to increase the child’s time.  This lesson will aim at children doing one-minute readings with a partner, and this will help increase their reading fluency.





1.  “Today we are going to practice reading very fluently, you know when you read fast!  The reason we need to practice reading fast is because it will make us better readers, and it will help us understand the story better.” Have sentence written on the board:  On our way to the park Suzy stopped to smell the flowers, and read the sentence very slow like a beginning reader would.  “Now I want you to look at the board at our sentence, I am going to read it to you.  O-n ou-r w-ay t-o th-e p- (I can’t remember that sound, I think I will use my bookmark to cover it up) p-a-r-k park Suzy st-o-pp-ed t-o sm-ell the f-low-ers.  Did anybody hear anything wrong with that sentence?  Yes, it was too slow and you could not really understand what I said because I read it so slow.  Now listen to me this time while I read it.  On our way to the park Suzy stopped to smell the flowers!  Did that sound better?  Why? Yes because I read it faster and with expression, and everyone was able to understand the story.  Good job!”


2.  Give every student their own Running for Reading chart and the running shoes.  I would like you all to look at your charts; this is going to help you measure your reading progress.  The numbers on the side of the chart represent how many pages and the shoes are to mark the number of pages you read in one minute.  You are going to get with your partners and time each other for one minute, then you will record how many pages they read for that one minute on your chart.  They will use the running shoes to mark it for that one time, and then they will color in like a graph, so their progress will be marked on the chart.


3.  Okay is everyone ready and do you have your book, stopwatch, running shoes, and chart.  Now remember to mark the progress with your shoes, and then once you and your partner have both read for one minute, color in a bar for the number you have read (show and example on the board, read four pages draw a line to four and color in like a graph).  Then read again, each partner for a minute, and then color your graph in.  Does everyone know how to do this?  Any questions?  I want you all to do at least 5 one minute reads at least, and do more if we have time.


4.  Allow the class to do the one minute reads, walk around and note the progress, and help if the children need it.



Collect the children’s charts and note their progress with the one minute reads to see how many pages each child read in one minute.




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


Asbury, Sarah,  “Let’s Leap into Great Reading.”

Click here to return to Explorations.