Go Speed Reader, Go!

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Courtney Dobbel


Rationale: To read fluently, a student must read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  In addition, word recognition must be automatic.  If word recognition is automatic, reading becomes an enjoyable activity for a student.  For students to gain automatic word recognition, the reading and re-reading of connected, decodable text is needed.  The more a student comes in to contact with a specific text, the more fluent he or she becomes.  In this lesson, students will learn how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively in order to gain fluency.  Students will gain fluency through repeated readings and one-minute reads.

Materials: Multiple copies of In the Big Top (Educational Insights) and of Charlie by Richard Vaughan (enough of each book for every two children) (both books should be marked with pencil after every ten words so that the children can count the words), stop watches (enough for every two children), charts with a race car driving up the race track towards the number of minutes the child or children read the story (some of the charts should go up to 75 and some up to 100, the numbers will be in the intervals of 5), tape (to hang up the race track), Velcro (attached to the race track charts at different intervals and to the race cars), personal grids for each student, and pencils.

1.) I will introduce the lesson by briefly explaining the importance of reading with speed and fluency:  Today I am going to read to you like a beginner reader and I want you to tell me what I’m doing wrong. I will read the first few sentences of In the Big Top modeling a beginning reader. I will ask the students why my reading sounded like it did. Then I will reread the sentence like a skillful reader using fluency and expression. I will then ask the students what I changed to make my reading better. Then I will tell them that to read like a skillful reader it is important to practice reading many times. Rereading is important in becoming fluent readers. Now we are going to try practicing reading more fluently with expression.
2.)  Pair the students off homogenously so that they can share a book and race car track.
)  I will show the students the racecar and racetrack recorder game but not pass them out yet.  Today we are going to pretend we are race car drivers and we are going to race around the track. Each of you will be given a car and a track. Each partner will read while the other uses the stopwatch and records how much was read on the track chart.  The partner who is the driver first will have the stopwatch and press start when the reading begins. (show the students the stopwatch and press "start" on it for them to see).  When the stopwatch beeps the minute is up and the driver will then count the number of words read. Each book has been marked after ten words, so the driver will count the marks by ten, each mark will be ten words. Then after the last mark count the words until stopped as one word. After the driver counts the words he/she will fill in the first blank of the reader’s chart with number read, (hold up a personal chart for the students to see and point to the box they should write the number in). Next you will place the car on the track at the number of words read. The marks on the race track are counted out by five. For example, if the reader reads 67 words, the driver will put the car between the 65 mark and the 70 mark, (show students on a racetrack). This is a lot to remember so I will show you first.  (Choose a volunteer and show the students how the 1-minute read works with In the Big Top making sure to fill in the personal chart and putting the racecar on the track) Does everyone understand? I will be walking around if anyone needs help, just raise your hand and I will help you. Everyone needs to read the book four times and the partner will mark on the chart how far was read! Everyone will be a reader and a recorder.
4.)  Pass out appropriate books to each pair along with two personal reading charts and a racetrack chart with a racecar that is appropriate to the pair's reading level.
5.) The students will read their book four times while their partner graphs their progress on the racetrack chart.  I will walk around and help students who are having trouble and encourage students as they chart their progress.
6.)  Once everyone has finished reading four times I will ask the students to be sure their names, the date, and the title of the book they read are on their personal charts and then ask them to turn them in to me.
I will evaluate each child's reading speed from the beginning of the fluency lesson to the end, to see speed improvement.


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

www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/discov/adamsgf.html (Whitney Adams-Speed Reader).

 Vaughan, Richard.  CharlieNew Zealand, Scholastic, 1990. 24.

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