Reading Race Cars

Growing Independence and Fluency


Temetka Smith



Rationale: Comprehension is very important to being a good reader. Beginner readers tend to spend quite a bit of time on decoding words and that breaks down comprehension. However, if fluency skills are taught it will help students with their comprehension skills. Fluency is reading smoothly, accurately, and automatically. Fluent readers use less time on decoding and more time on comprehension. 



·        Kitchen timer

·     Progress chart for each student: a race track on paper with numbers labeled on the side of the road and a car to move along the track

·        Sentence strips with sentences written on them. One sentence strips per group of 2 students. “I like to play with my pet dog and cat.”

·   Class set of the book Lee and the Team by Sheila Cushman, Educational Insights: Carson, California, 1990

·        Pencils

·        Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway



1.                 Introduce the lesson by explaining what fluency. Today we are going to practice reading quickly and smoothly. Reading smoothly and quickly is called fluency. When we read smoothly or fluently it sounds better and we understand what we are reading. It makes a story more fun and interesting to listen to. Read a sentence to the students and model a beginner reader first and then model a good reader. Listen to me as I read this sentence and tell me how it sounds. I l-l-o-v-e to pp-ll-ay ww-i-tth m-y dd-o-g. How did that sound? It did not sound good. Listen to me this time and see if I sound better. I love to pplay wwith my dog. How did I sound that time? I sound a little bit better. I’m going to read it one last time and I want you to listen. “I love to play with my dog.” Notice the more I read the sentence I got faster and it sounded better. Review covering up words by asking the students questions. What do we do when we come to a word that we can not read? We used cover ups. Very good! What do we do if we stumble over a word or make a mistake in reading? Let the students respond. We go back, cross check, and reread the sentence. Good Job!

2.                 Have each student to partner with another student. Give each group a sentence strip with a sentence on them. I want you to practice reading your sentence to your partner one time. I want you to listen to each other and notice how they read out loud to you. Children then will read their sentence to the other student. Now that you have read it out loud, I want you to practice it over and over to yourself. If you need help with a word ask your partner or raise your hand I will help you. After a couple of times of reading it to themselves, have them to read it out loud again. Now I want you to read the sentence again out loud to your partner. I want you to notice if they read faster and smoother than the first time. How did they sound? Smoother? Faster? Good Job! 

3.                 Model the progress chart to the students so that they will know how to use it when it is their turn to read. I’m going to read this book to you. While I am reading, I am going to time myself. When the timer rings then I will have to stop reading. Read Fidgety Fish or any book to class. Read slowly so that you will not finish before the timer rings. (RRIING) That was the timer, so I have to stop reading. Now I am going to count the number of words that I have read so far. I have read 75 words in one minute. So I take my chart and I put my car on number 75 because that is the number of words that I read. I want to be faster so I want to read more words than 75. So I am going to practice and read it again. Every time I read, I mark it with my car on the chart. I want my car to go further and further down the track.

4.                 Give books to each group. Now I want you to read to your partner. I am going to set the timer and you will read as much as you can. When the timer rings, then your partner will mark on your chart the number of words that you read. After you have had your turn then I will set the timer again and your partner gets a turn. After your turn, make sure you show me your car so that I will see how you are doing. When the students show their chart, make notes on a class chart to keep track of each student’s progress.  You want to try to get your car further and further down the track. If it goes backwards, don’t worry because it happens to everybody. We will keep practicing and you will get better and better each time! Good Job!

5.                 For assessment, I will walk around and listen to the students as they read and they will show their chart after each read and I would call each student up to my desk for one minute reads also to make sure the charts are accurate.




Eldredge, J.L. (2005). Teaching and Decoding: Why and How/2nd Ed. Ohio: Pearson Education, Inc. pg. 151-161.


Galloway, R. (2001). Fidgety Fish. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

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