Crazy Racers!

By: Amy Homan

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale:  Students must grow to be fluent readres, which means they read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  One way to become a fluent reader is to read and reread text.  After fluency grows students will begin to enjoy reading.  In this lesson, students will read text a few times in order to gain fluency.

-Stopwatch for each group of students
-Race car reading chart for each student
 -A race track with a race car that goes around the track (velcro).  Each time the student reads, calculate the number of words read correctly in one minute.  Then move the car around the track to the number of words read correctly.
-Chalk and chalkboard
-Book:  What Will the Seal Eat?  (Educational Insights book)
-Pencil and paper


1. Explain to students how important it is for readers to be fluent and give examples of a fluent and nonfluent reader. "Today we are going to practice reading passages quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  When we read fluently our reading sounds good and reading becomes much more fun!  Now, I'm going to read the first sentence out of our book to you like a beginning read would. The s-s-se-sea-seal ne-need-needs t-t-to ea-eat.  That really did not sound smooth, did it?  Now, I'm going to try and say it smoothly.  The seal needs to eat. Okay, that sounds much better.  How did I make the sentence sound better?"  (The kids should read it quickly and smoothly.

2.  I will do a book talk: "The seal is very hungry and has a hard time picking out what to eat.  He doesn't really like human food.  What will he eat?  Okay, you have to read the book to find out."

3. Pair students up.  "Read the second sentence out of our book to your partner. Then each of you read the sentence 5 times to yourself.  By reading it over and over you will be able to understand it better and read it quickly and smoothly.  Now, read the sentence to each other out loud again.  Notice how each other reads the sentence." (Read sentence out loud to students.)

4. Give stopwatches to each pair of students. Tell them they are going to read the books to one another.  "One person is to read the book while the other times for one minute.  Then cout the numer of words read in one munite.  Write down the number of words to keep track. The student then should move their race car around the track to the number of words in the book. Keep reading same passage and book 3 times.  Practice makes perfect."  There are 92 words in the book.  Before turning the students loose to do the activity, model timing and reading for one minute.   

5. "Now that everyone has gotten all the way around the race track its time to write your name on the paper where you wrote down the number of words per minute."

6. Assessment: Have students turn in paper with number of words read correctly in one minute.  There should be a steady increase in the number of words.


Cushman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona.  What Will the Seal Eat?  Phonics Readers.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Williams, Andrea.  Start Your Engines!

Overstreet, Jill.  Racy Readers.

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