Get Ready to Rumble with Reading!
Anne Kimbell Grant
Growing Independence and Fluency


Rationale: To read fluently, a student must read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  In addition, word recognition must be automatic and independent.  If word recognition is automatic, reading becomes an enjoyable experience 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: Marker board with sentence "We played basketball last Friday."  written on it, individual pieces of paper with sentence "I like to go shopping with my mother." written on each sheet, chart with a race track on it for each student (charts should go up to one-hundred words per minute), small cut-outs of cars for each student, Velcro to attach each race car, one stopwatch for every two children, 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), pencils

1. Direct the students to look at the marker board.  I want to start out by talking about how important it is for readers to read quickly and smoothly.  If we read quickly and smoothly, two things happen as we read: our reading sounds nice and we can understand what we read better.  Also, our reading becomes more fun and enjoyable!  Watch me.  I am going to show you how my reading becomes more and more fun as I read more fluently and smoothly.  I am going to read a sentence one time just like a beginning reader would, and then I am going to read it again like a really good reader would read it.  Listen to how different the two sentences sound.  "W-e pl-ay-e-d b-a-s-k-et-b-a-ll l-a-s-t-F-r-i-d-ay."  That didn't sound natural, did it?  That's because I wasn't reading quickly and smoothly.  Listen again.  "We played basketball last Friday."  The sentence sounded better that time, didn't it?  What did I do the second time that helped the sentence sound right and make more sense?  (Answer: I read more quickly and smoothly.)
2. Now I am going to pair you in groups of two.  Pair the students off homogenously so that they can share a graph and be able to use the same book.  I am going to give the members of each group a sentence to work with.  Pass out paper with "I like to go shopping with my mother."  I want each of you to read the sentence out loud to your partner.  Be sure to pay attention to the way it sounds the first time that each of you reads it.  After you have read it out loud, I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself five times.  Reading the sentence over and over will help it make more sense and sound better.  It will also help you read faster.  Then, read the sentence out loud to your partner again.  Do you notice a difference from the first time that you read it aloud?  What makes it sound better?  (Answer: It is quicker and smoother.)  Did it sound better when you read it the first time or the second time?  (Answer: The second time.)  Way to go!
3. Now we are going to do it with a real book.  I am going to give each group a book to read.  Pass out the stop watches and various books to each group.  While one member of the group reads the book, the other will be the timer.  The reader will be timed for one minute.  If you are the reader, I want you to read as many words as you can.  If you come to a word that you do not know, use the cover-up method to try to figure it out.  Just place a finger after each letter and sound out the word!  If that does not work, ask your partner for help.  I will walk around the room to help anyone who needs it.  Each group will do this several times so that the reader may become faster and faster with each reading!
4. Pass out the cardboard race tracks and cars. When the timer has timed for one minute, he or she will record the number of words that the reader has read and place the car at that specific number on the race track.  (Each reader will read the book four times.)  Then you will switch and the reader will become the timer.  He or she will do the same thing!  Before you start each new reading, draw a star with your pencil on your track on the number of words that you read so that we can see how much faster you are getting.  I bet that your car will get farther and farther up the track with each reading that you do!

Assessment: Once everyone has finished reading four times I will ask the students to be sure that their names, the date, and the title of the book they read are on their race track charts.  Then, the students will turn them in.  I will assess the children by looking at their progress charts.  The chart will show each student's beginning and ending point and will be turned in for me to evaluate.  I will let the children take the books home to show their families how well they read.  Also, the class will discuss the two books to make sure that each student comprehends the material.

Sources: (Whitney Adams- Speedy reader; Discoveries) (Jordan Orso- On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!; Discoveries)

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

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

Vaughan, Richard.  Charlie.  New Zealand, Scholastic, 1990. 24.



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